Pawleys Island Voted Best Beach in South Carolina by USA Today

Pawleys Island Voted Best Beach in South Carolina by USA Today

It's no longer a well-kept secret—Pawleys Island is officially the best beach in South Carolina! This charming locale, known as the oldest seaside resort in America, has bested 16 other contenders in USA Today/10 Best’s competition to name the “Best Beach in South Carolina.” The contest also aimed to find the best beaches in North Carolina, Florida, Texas, California, New Jersey, and Michigan.

Pawleys Island’s victory isn’t the only cause for celebration in Georgetown County. Alongside Pawleys, two other Hammock Coast beaches made it to the top 5: Litchfield Beach at No. 4 and Huntington Beach State Park at No. 5.

The voting for the best beach in South Carolina ran from April 22 through May 20, with results announced on May 29. “I couldn’t be more thrilled with this news,” said Mark A. Stevens, director of tourism development for the Georgetown County Chamber of Commerce. “Pawleys Island topping the list is made even sweeter with Litchfield Beach and Huntington Beach State Park also finishing in the Top 5.”

Beth Stedman, president and CEO of the Georgetown Chamber, highlighted the significance of this accolade. “We all value the beauty of our area, where history and nature go hand in hand,” she said. “Tourism is incredibly important to Georgetown County. The state estimates an annual impact of over $300 million from tourism here. Being recognized by yet another national publication speaks volumes for our efforts to promote sustainable, family-friendly, nature-centric tourism.”

Throughout the contest, Pawleys Island remained a favorite, rarely dropping from the top position. Mayor Brian Henry expressed his delight, saying, “The beaches on Pawleys Island have been welcoming families for many generations. It is pristine, uncrowded, and a throwback to an earlier time. There’s nothing finer than a day spent on our beach!”

USA Today/10 Best Readers’ Choice awards offer the public a chance to set trends in various tourism categories. Past nominations have included Huntington Beach State Park and Brookgreen Gardens, with Murrells Inlet placing sixth in the “Top 10 Best Small Towns in the South” contest earlier this year. Georgetown has also received recognition, topping the list for Best Coastal Small Town in 2018 and placing high in subsequent years.

“It’s really special that we have two top winners here on the Hammock Coast—Georgetown and now Pawleys Island,” Stedman said.

Alongside the Hammock Coast beaches, North Myrtle Beach secured the No. 2 spot, and Hunting Island State Park in Beaufort County came in at No. 3. The 17 South Carolina beaches in the competition were chosen by a panel of judges, including travel writers and USA Today editors.

Pawleys Island has been a vacation haven since the 1700s, originally attracting families escaping the inland plantations' heat and mosquitoes. Today, it draws visitors worldwide for its laid-back beach vibes. In recent years, it has received accolades from Garden & Gun Magazine and Condé Nast Traveler. Similarly, Litchfield Beach and Huntington Beach State Park continue to attract visitors with their pristine shores and natural beauty. TripAdvisor and Southern Living have both recognized these beaches as some of the best in America.

The Hammock Coast’s continued recognition as a top beach destination reaffirms its status as a beloved, must-visit locale for both residents and tourists.

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