Pawleys Island Area

Pawleys Island, South Carolina, located 70 miles north of Charleston and 25 miles south of Myrtle Beach, is known as one of the oldest summer resorts on the East Coast.

The families of rice planters who owned plantations on the nearby rivers first settled Pawleys Island in the early 1700's. The planters knew that it was unhealthy for their families to remain on the rivers during the summer and that the seashore was much healthier. Even though they didn't know about malaria in the 1700's, they knew enough to get away! They moved their families, horses, cows, bedding, provisions and furniture to Pawleys in May of each year, where they remained until the first frost in November!

From this leisurely existence has developed the charm of Pawleys that still remains. Also still remaining are 12 residences in the historic district, which date from the late 1700's to the mid 1800's. Pawleys continues to be known for its shoeless, carefree, laid-back life style, which includes crabbing in the adjacent creeks, fishing, the stories of ghosts, the rope hammocks and the unspoiled, unsophisticated, casual, delightful stretch of wide beach and sand dunes.

"Arrogantly Shabby"

       The town was incorporated in September of 1985.  The Island is about 4 1/2 miles long.

Sea Turtles:  Pawleys Island beaches serve as a nesting habitat for Loggerhead Sea Turtles, South Carolina's official state reptile.  They are a threatened species and are protected by state and federal laws.  Report nesting turtles to South Carolina United Turtle Enthusiasts (SCUTE) 237-9821.   Please turn off beachfront outside lights after 10:00.  This deters the female from laying eggs.  If you observe a female turtle on the beach, remain still.  Movement will cause her to return to the water withouot nesting.  Do not use flashlights, flash photography or other lighting while observing the nesting turtle.

Speed limit:  The 25 mph. speed limit is strictly enforced.

Parking:  All vehicles must be parked with all tires off the pavement.  Parking fines are $50.00.

Beach access:  Use only the public access walks to the beach.  Do not walk under other homes.  Walking or playing on the dunes destroy the dune structure and carries a fine of up to $200.00.  Our dunes are all that are between us and the Atlantic Storms!

Walking/jogging on the roads:  Our roads can get crowded.  Please walk or jog facing the traffic. If on wheels, ride with the traffic.  Please don't walk, bike or run abreast as this impedes vehicles (which have the right of way).

Motorized cars:  These are not allowed on the beaches, dunes or marsh land areas, except in emergencies.

Golf carts: Are not allowed on the Island.

You can contact the Town Hall directly at: (843)237-1698.  Their mailing address is: P.O. Box 1818, Pawleys Island, SC  29585.  Their e-mail address is:

 Fires on the beach:  These are allowed with a fire permit from the Town Hall.  You can contact them at 237-1698.

Littering:  No littering on the roads or beaches. There are trash recepticles placed near the public access and bridges.  Help us keep Pawleys beautiful!

Fireworks:  All fireworks are prohibited, fines up to $500.00 will be charged and/or imprisoned up to 30 days.  Our houses are very close together and we don't want any homes, dunes or marsh grasses burned.

Leash law:  Please clean up after your pet at all times.  The leash law is in effect and is enforced.  May-October:  Pets must be kept on a leash between 8 am. and 8 p.m.  October-May:  Pets should be under voice control.

Boaters and watercraft:  This includes jet skies.  All boats must observe safety and wake rules in the creek and ocean.  State law requires idle speed within 50 feet of any dock, anchored boat or person in the water and within 100 yards of the beach.

Fishing:  Surf fishing does not require a license, please be respectful of people in the surf.  If fishing from a boat, you must purchase a recreational fisheries stamp.  Details may be obtained at the P.I. Supplies Hardware Store.  Resident annual: $10.00  Non-Resident: $1.00 (14 days).

Solicitation:  No solicitation is permitted on the Island.

Sleeping on the beach:  This is not permitted from 9:00 p.m. until sunrise.

Historic Homes

The following homes are listed as historic and are primarily situated in the middle part of the island, which is the highest point on the Island.

Joseph Blythe Allston House (Pawley House):  (441 Myrtle Ave.) This house stands on the land owned by R.F.W. Allston, governor of South Carolina: 1856-1858.  His nephew, Joseph Blyth Allston, obtained the land in 1866 and it is thought he then moved this circa 1800 house onto his property.  After Hurricane Hugo struck South Carolina in 1989, the house was extensively altered and placed on a higher foundation.  Mortise-and-tenon joints with pegs can still be seen under the house.


R.F.W. Allston House:  (458 Myrtle Ave.) This summer residence was owned by Robert F.W. Allston (1801-1864) when the state of South Carolina granted the marsh behind it to him in 1846.  Allston was a large property and slave owner, a successful rice planter, and served as governor of South Carolina from 1856-1858.  The house remained in the family until 1901.  After Hurricane Hugo struck South Carolina in 1989, the house was placed on higher wooden posts.


P.C.J. Weston House/Pelican Inn:   (506 Myrtle Ave.) Plowden Weston, Lt. Governor of South Carolina from 1862-1864, obtained land here in 1844 and by 1858 had built this beach residence.  The Weston family sold the property to William St. Julien Mazyck in 1864, who sold the house to Atlantic Coast Lumber Company in 1901.  The company permitted its employes to vacation here.  After an ownership change some years later, the house was named The Pelican Inn.


All Saints Summer Parsonage/The Rectory:   (510 Myrtle Ave.) This house, built by 1848, served as the summer parsonage for All Saints Episcopal Church for many years.  Evening summer services were held here by the congregation, which included a number of rice plantation owners who spent summers at Pawleys Island.  The parsonage/rectory was sold by the congregation in 1960 to its present owner.


All Saints Academy Summer House:  (566 Myrtle Ave.) This house was built between 1838 and 1848 by All Saints Academy for the summer residence of its headmaster.  Robert F.W. Allston, Governor of South Carolina from 1856-1858, actively participated in leadership of the academy.  After some years, the academy's dwelling passed to private, individual ownership.  It was extensively damaged by Hurricane Hugo in 1989 but has been meticulously restored.


Nesbit/Norburn House:   (560 Myrtle Ave.) By 1842, this house was here on Pawleys Island and was owned by Robert Nesbit (1799-1848).  A native of Scotland and a rice planter in this area, Nesbit also owned nearby "Caledonia" plantation.  The house on Pawleys remained in the Nesbit family until after the death of Ralph Nesbit in 1938.  It was then sold to Dr. Charles Norburn of Asheville, NC.


LaBruce/Lemon House:  (546 Myrtle Ave.) This house was built on 10 acres of beach land by the laBruce family who were successful rice planters in this area of All Saints Parish.  According to local tradition, two small dwellings on the property were slave cabins.  The residence was purchased by Calhoun Lemon of Barnwell, SC in 1952 and still remains in this family. Additions have been made to the house through the years. 


Ward House/Liberty Lodge:  (520 Myrtle Ave.) This house, one of the oldest on Pawleys, was reputedly moved here after 1858.  It stands on land once owned by area rice planter Joshua J. Ward (1800-1853), who was Lt. Governor of South Carolina in 1850-1852.  The house has hand hewn sills and joists and mortise-and-tenon joints.  It remained in the Ward family until 1912, when it sold to Cornelia C. Ehrich, who named it Liberty Lodge. Ownership is still in this family.


Allston's Bank (South Causeway):  In 1846 Governor Robert F.W. Allston constructed the south causeway.  It was known at the time as Allston's Bank.  In 1901, the Allston Family sold their 20 acre tract on Pawleys Island and the causeway to the Atlantic Coast Lumber Company for $5,000.  It is the oldest causeway in continuous use in South Carolina.

Pawleys Island, South Carolina Age and Sex of Residents

Total population: 132
Population (year 2000): 138. Estimated population in July 2006: 142 (+2.9% change)

Males: 60 (43.5%)
Females: 78 (56.5%)

Houses: 546 (85 occupied: 61 owner occupied, 24 renter occupied)

% of renters here: 28%
State: 28%

Pawleys Island had a population of 138 with 521 housing units; a land area land area of 0.7 sq. miles; a water area of 0.29 sq. miles; and a population density of 196.88 people per sq. mile for Census 2000




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