South of Myrtle Beach are the natural Lowcountry delights of Georgetown County, part of the Grand Strand, which provides a number of possibilities for groups among its laid back year-round outdoor attractions.
Dubbed the “Hammock Coast” by the county, it has such communities as the quaint Murrells Inlet, known for its half-mile-long boardwalk called Marsh Walk (843.357.2007; www.murrellsinletmarshwalk.com), and its seafood restaurants, boating, fishing excursions and watersports. It is just 13 miles south of downtown Myrtle Beach.
The area’s several resorts include the Litchfield Beach & Golf Resort, with three championship courses and 10,000 square feet of meeting space.
The county town is the historic seaport city of Georgetown, 35 miles from downtown Myrtle Beach. The state’s third-oldest city, Georgetown boasts oak-lined avenues, riverfront shopping and dining, a scenic harborwalk, antebellum mansions and river and ocean cruises.
Led by Cap’n Rod Singleton, Lowcountry Plantation Tours (843.477.0287; www.lowcountrytours.com) offers various tours by 56-foot pontoon boat from Georgetown’s Front Street.
Built in 1740, Hopsewee Plantation (843.546.7891; www.hopsewee.com) is 12 miles from Georgetown. A rice plantation on the North Santee River, it was the home of Thomas Lynch Jr, signer of the Declaration of Independence. Facilities for rent include a banquet room seating up to 64, a cottage living room for up to 40, and the grounds for larger groups.
Brookgreen Gardens (843.235.6000; www.brookgreen.org), covering 9,000 acres in Murrells Inlet, features the Huntington Sculpture Garden, the Lowcountry History and Wildlife Preserve, the Center for American Sculpture and the Lowcountry Zoo. The 35-acre Huntington Sculpture Garden has a collection of more than 1,400 works. Facility rental spaces include gardens hosting up to 600, a cottage, a welcome center, an auditorium and a restaurant.
Located in Murrells Inlet, Huntington Beach State Park (843.237.4440; www.huntingtonbeachsc.org) has an education center, boardwalks, nature trails, a 26-mile bike trail, three miles of beach, a lagoon, a maritime forest and salt marshes. Wildlife includes alligators and more than 300 recorded species of birds. It is also home to the Atalaya Castle, built in 1931 and the former home of sculptor Anna Hyatt Huntington, whose works are displayed at Brookgreen Gardens.
Hobcaw Barony (843.546.4623; www.hobcawbarony.org) is a 17,500-acre wildlife refuge at the southern end of the Grand Strand. Composed at one time of 14 former rice plantations, it has a variety of tours and programs and includes a historic village, the 1930 mansion of Wall Street financier Bernard Baruch, who bought the property in 1905, and the 10,000-square-foot Discovery Center, which has history and ecology exhibits.