Only ten miles from the frenzied amusement park buzz of Myrtle Beach, Murrells Inlet offers an entirely different type of beach vacation. This enchanting place is a small, quiet fishing village known for its great seafood restaurants and named after a pirate who hid in the tidal marshes of the area. A peninsula with incredible beauty of the seascape and inlet jetties that stretches from Murrells Inlet all the way to Georgetown, called Waccamaw Neck, holds these tidal marshes that provided refuge to the town’s namesake pirate centuries ago. Another, more famous pirate named Blackbeard, whose real name was Edward Teach, also visited Murrells Inlet and made his mark.
The island called Drunken Jack Island, which lies just off the coast of Murrells Inlet is famous because Blackbeard supposedly accidentally left one of his sailors on this island in the 1600s. Two years later Blackbeard returned and found just the guy’s bones and numerous casks of rum…empty of course. The town has seen not only pirates seeking refuge, but also Confederate blockade runners, bootleggers, and Federal gunboats.
This still is a fishing village of sorts, with seafood caught every day right off the coast of Murrells Inlet, and sold to local seafood restaurants for some of the best and freshest fish you’ll ever have the pleasure to eat…not to mention oysters, crab, and shrimp. In fact, Murrells Inlet is called The Seafood Capital of South Carolina. If there are crowds in Murrells Inlet, it’s tourists from nearby Myrtle Beach who’ve discovered the seafood in Murrells Inlet. But don’t worry: they will all go back to Myrtle Beach after lunch or dinner, and you can have this peaceful village to yourself again if you’re staying here.
There is a marina on Highway 17, which constitutes what passes for the commercial strip of Murrells Inlet, and it is delightfully non-commercial, delightfully laid-back. You can charter a boat and go fishing from here, and it’s one of the best places on the Grand Strand to do this.
One of the largest charter fleets in the area, Captain Dicks offers so many different themed charters you will almost certainly have to come back a few times to feel that you’ve really explored fishing in Myrtle Beach. Here’s a sampling of what Captain Dick has to offer.
Captain Dick’s has just about everything you might want in a quaint South Carolina fishing village – boat trips, fishing charters, deep-sea fishing charters, pontoon rentals, kayaking, sightseeing cruises, and educational Saltwater Marsh Explorer Adventure led by a marine biologist, and last but not least, Gator Tours! The cost of fishing trips includes tackle, bait, license, and rod and reel, basically everything you’ll need for a day or half-day of fishing. Everything that is except sunscreen and lunch. The deep-sea charters out of Captain Dicks go as far as sixty miles offshore, and the All Day Gulf Stream trip lasts 11 hours and costs under $100. There is a half-day charter called the Sea Bass Fishing Adventure, very reasonably priced.
Fishing is good for much of the year, from early spring until Christmastime, because of the proximity of the Gulf Stream. Captain Dick’s also hosts the monthly (except winter time) Overnight Gulf Stream fishing expedition for die-hard fishing fans. It’s 21 hours of fishing (well, maybe some resting time for the weak). Captain Dick’s sightseeing cruise ambles up the coast to Myrtle Beach and offers its passengers views of the beach, culminating in a sunset at sea experience that makes the perfect end to a perfect day.
Captain Dick’s is located in the Murrells Inlet Marina, which is on Highway 17 in Murrells Inlet.
Besides the peaceful village setting and the fishing and boating trips, one thing you will want to see in Murrells Inlet is Brookgreen Gardens. This is a park-like no other, with hundreds of sculptures and tons of wildlife set on the grounds of an antebellum rice plantation. Between the plantation’s beauty, the surreal sculptures, and the sounds of the wildlife, it truly is a magical place to visit.
Captain Dick’s @ Crazy Sister Marina, 4123 US-17 BUS, Murrells Inlet, SC 29576, Phone: (843) 651-3676
History of Murrells Inlet, SC
Murrells Inlet, SC has a rich history that includes Native American Tribes, Spanish Explorers, English Colonies, and even Pirates.
In the 1700 and 1800s, the area was mostly large tracts of land that were divided into rice plantations.
At that time in history, South Carolina rice planters were some of the wealthiest people in the southeast.
In the 1800s Pirates sailed into Murrells Inlet and hide in the Inlets creeks waiting to plunder ship bound for England.
In 1863 the Civil War came to Murrells Inlet’s shores. The union warship attacked the Confederacy’s blockade runners that would use the inlet to transport cotton to England in exchange for war materials and food.
After the civil war, several hurricanes hit the coast of South Carolina and the Rice Plantations could not recover. By the early 1900s, the last remaining rice plantations were gone.
Not long after Murrells Inlet become popular for commercial fishermen.
But during the Great Depression, Archer Milton Huntington from New York spent millions of dollars to develop a 9,000-acre homestead and Gardens. He then built his dream of a Spanish Castle which he called Atalaya. Atalaya was built with 22 fireplaces and 36 rooms and still stands today.
His wife Anna Hyatt Huntington displayed her sculptures in their outdoor garden. This was a private estate of Mr. Huntington until his death in 1955.
Today Atalaya is part of Huntington Beach State Park and their garden is Brookgreen Gardens. It also displays 68 of Mrs. Huntington’s sculptures including the Fighting Stallions at the Entrance.
Today Murrells Inlet, SC is known for the Marsh Walk and has often been called the “Seafood Capital” because of all of the seafood restaurants in the area.