A barrier island with nearly 4 miles of beach, Pawleys Island boasts sand, sea, and windswept grass. Because the bulk of the island is only one house wide, you can have beach access on one side of your rental and boat access on the other. With a hopping downtown, historic buildings, and eateries, this island offers you all the elements of a fun, relaxing getaway. Choose between one of these top Pawleys Island vacation rental locations when finding a place to stay.

1. Myrtle Beach South, Pawleys Island

people enjoying their canoe

Myrtle Beach South is located at the northernmost end of the Pawleys Island. Most of the rentals are two abreast, which means you get water access from either side. Boat across Pawleys Island Creek to the mainland for some grub at Habaneros Mexican Cantina or Pastaria 811 Italian Restaurant, or do some shopping at Hammock Shops Village.

2. Pawleys Island Historic District

houses on the island
Source: Flickr / Forsaken Fotos

Find a vacation rental at Pawleys Island Historic District, just south of Myrtle Beach South, and find a place beside some of the town’s oldest buildings, which date back to Civil War days. View the R.F.W. Allston House, which was once owned by the governor of the same name and was built in 1846, or tour the 1838-era All Saints Academy Summer House. Both 2nd Street and 3rd Street offer public beach access and boat ramps, so if you don’t have a rental on the water, you can still enjoy it.

3. Pawleys Island Pier Village

beach view
Source: Flickr / Linda Ferguson

Stay at Pawleys Pier Village, and spend time lounging or fishing off the pier or explore the beaches. If you’re lucky, you’ll spot some of the rare sea turtles that nest in the sand. It’s a straight shot from the village to the mainland via the county road bridge, making it easy to spend an afternoon exploring Ocean Highway. Indulge in some comfort food at Getting Carried Away Southern Takeout or Gio Italian Kitchen. Follow the road a little further inland and you have your choice of half a dozen golf courses for a relaxing game.

4. Myrtle Avenue, Pawleys Island

lake view
Source: Flickr / Palmetto Cheese

Get a rental where Myrtle Avenue and County Road S-22-266 for both quick access inland and luxurious beach. Tie your boat up at your personal dock, and spend the bulk of your time fishing, swimming, and kayaking along the waters. If you do get a yearning for some company, head across the bridge to the mainland where you can indulge in some fine Italian pastries at Landolfi’s or stock up on supplies at one of the handy grocery stores.

5. Otis Beach, Pawleys Island

waves approaching the shore
Source: Flickr / Zebralongwing

The rentals on Otis Beach are a bit more spread apart than at other locations, giving you the peace, quiet, and privacy necessary for reconnecting with your family. Beach access on the east of the island and creek access to the West offers all sorts of boating opportunities. For instance, you can grab your kayaks and explore the winding ribbons and bends in the creek while keeping your eyes out for native wildlife. On the other hand, you can lounge on the beach or build sand castles with the little ones.

6. Pritchard Street, Pawleys Island

wooden path to the beach
Source: Flickr / Jimmy_Joe

Pritchard Street and the surrounding avenues create a homey, small town community. Public beach access and piers give you a place to mingle with the locals while taking in the sun. However, plenty of rentals offer private piers, places to shake off civilization and reconnect with nature. Watch the sun set on your own dock or take to fishing in the early hours of the morning when the world is still.

7. Springs Avenue, Pawleys Island

waterway
Source: Flickr / Anthony

Spring Avenue also offers homes with both creeks- and ocean-front access so that you don’t have to choose between beach lounging and boating. Speaking of boating, kayak across the creek and up the stream to the pond, a gem hidden amid wetlands and trees, a sort of coastal paradise. Head to the south end of the island, walk through sand dunes and keep an eye out for sea turtle nests.

8. Pawleys Plantation

bottom of the pier
Source: Flickr / valanzola.t

If gold is your thing, then stay at Pawleys Plantation, a community located at Pawleys Plantation Golf and Country Club. Walk out your back door to the greens, or make your way to Founders Golf Club for a change of pace. If you want to explore nature, go to Waccamaw River and rent a boat, or head over to the Samworth Wildlife Management Area for some hiking.

9. Pawleys Island Creek

seaside inn
Source: Flickr / Palmetto Cheese

Many of the vacation rentals at Pawleys Island Creek, just across from Pawleys Island, boast water access. A number of eateries from Chive Blossom Cafe to Rustic Table lie within driving distance. Give the kids a little education and take them to the Island Art Gallery, or, take a day trip to the Waccamaw Wildlife Refuge.

10. Litchfield by the Sea

colorful umbrella
Source: Flickr / Donald West

On the adjoining island lies Litchfield by the Sea, a few minutes from Pawleys Island and, more important, a few minutes from Huntington Beach State Park. Here you can hike, swim, and explore to your heart’s content. You can spend the day sunning on the beach at Huntington or go inland to Brookgreen Gardens for canoeing down Waccamaw River. Take a day trip up to Myrtle Beach, where you can spend time at the Family Kingdom Amusement Park or Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Odditorium.