Home to the late Mickey Spillane (not to mention Lowcountry charm) and the backdrop for my book Fall in Eden/Autumn in Murrells Inlet, Murrells Inlet sits in unassuming bliss at the southern tip of Myrtle Beach's famous Grand Strand. This was our fourth visit to this overlooked city, and as in times past, we fell in love with this unique place just a little bit more.
Visitors to Murrells Inlet will notice a bevy of restaurants along Business Highway 17, and it would seem that, and a view to the inlet that provides the city with its name, is all there is to see. But hidden behind tall palm fronds and that ubiquitous Lowcountry moss are stately homes that help provide the area with a decidedly coastal flavor. Don't let that fool you--like Pawley's Island, Murrells Inlet is unpretentious and laid back. Consequently, homes for the rest of us do exist, though one wouldn't know it at first glance. The city extends west to the Horry County line, though where Murrells Inlet begins and ends, no one seems to know. I prefer it that way; it seems to add to the city's mystique.
If you find yourself in this area, you'll want to stop at one of the restaurants for a Po Boy, oysters, or a variety of other available seafood (this is after all, the Seafood Capital of South Carolina.) Hidden behind the restaurants is a scenic Marshwalk that overlooks the marshy inlet where Air Corp jump planes once flew--and sometimes crashed--and where pirates reportedly once sailed. At night, colored lights and fiery torches from the restaurants illuminate the wide walkway, and one can stroll along listening to music provided for outdoor diners as lights from Garden Point Beach shine across the dark water.
Murrells Inlet is located off Highway 17, south of Myrtle Beach, and just north of Litchfield. In addition to dining, outdoor water activities such as fishing, boat tours, and dolphin cruises are available. Note: many restaurants are closed for lunch during the winter hours, but most are open for dinner. For more information, go to http://www.murrellsinletsc.com/
If you would like to learn more about Murrells Inlet, I recommend the book Heaven is a Beautiful Place by Murrells Inlet resident, Genevieve Peterkin. She captures the flavor and history of the area with humor and love.
Just thinking about it makes me long to return.