A Day at the Beach – North Pawleys Island
North Pawleys Island is a South Carolina gem south of the Myrtle Beach area. It exists in stark contrast to the hustle and bustle of Myrtle Beach proper with its tourist attractions and colorful, flashy rides. I usually access the 640 acres of Pawleys Island by the North Causeway bridge that takes you into a tranquil area of beach homes (population around 138) and beautiful trees. It is one of my husband’s favorite places to fish for flounder and red drum (on the jetties) and one of my favorite beaches on which to relax.
My husband, seven-year-old daughter, and I packed up a fishing cart, fishing poles, a cooler for fish, live bait, and other miscellaneous fishing gear, as well as beach chairs, a beach umbrella, beach blanket, a cooler full of food, sand toys, sunscreen, and boogie boards in preparation for a day at the beach on North Pawleys Island. Finding a place to park (parking is free) can be a challenge as there are only a few beach accesses since the Island is primarily used by the inhabitants – or renters – of the beach homes. Trucks and boat trailers take up most of the street parking because of the boat ramp on the North side of Pawleys Island. Luckily we found a parking spot and walked one of the beach accesses to claim our section of beach for the day (South Pawleys Island has a sand parking lot area but it is our second choice because it always has more people and seems to be windier on that side of the island).
We found the perfect spot: close enough to the jetties to fish but also close enough to the open ocean for my daughter to play in the water. It was low tide so the water had formed a pool next to the jetties, about thigh-high on my daughter and no waves – perfect conditions to put a parent’s mind at ease when their child is exploring the open water of the ocean. My husband set up his fishing station with his own umbrella and I set up chairs and a beach umbrella farther up the sand. With the tide going out, sand bars surround the island which beach goers can walk out on and explore – you might even be able to walk to another island if you feel brave enough.You have to really watch the tides in this area so you can make your way back though. Boaters unfamiliar with the area will try to zip past the island to the mainland, getting stuck on sand bars. We witnessed one boat “captain” beach his boat on a sand bar, jump out, and slowly push and tug his boat to the deeper channel that exists in the middle of Midway Inlet.
Generally wherever you go on North Pawleys Island, you will find a shallow ocean floor, which doesn’t make it ideal for boogie boarding unless the tide is coming in. When the tide goes out, you will find pools of water form with tiny fish swimming in them and shell pieces galore. My husband even found a shark’s tooth without even looking for it! The wind tends to pick up around 3pm in the Pawleys Island area, which makes it a great place to kitesurf or sail a catamaran – both of which we saw that day! There are no lifeguards but if you are looking for a day on the beach away from the crowds, you will find peace on North Pawleys Island.
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