Add a little outdoor adventure to your Hammock Coast vacation and bike or hike the Waccamaw Neck Bikeway, a popular multi-purpose path now extending from Pawleys Island to Murrells Inlet.
With the addition of a dedicated route through the North Litchfield community, you can now ride 16 safe, continuous miles, all of it on a paved pathway, eleiminating what previously was a Share the Road portion of the trail.
Much of the trail runs through the woods parallel to Hwy 17, with a section traversing Litchfield Beach and Golf Resort, offering scenic golf course views.
"The most beautiful stretch is the part across Huntington Beach State Park," said Linda Ketron, chair of the Bike the Neck committee, the grassroots volunteer group behind the effort to build the bikeway. "You're riding through a maritime forest of pines and oaks and pristine wetlands."
Those looking for a shorter ride can loop back around the three-mile section along the western border of the park for a total of six miles. If you've never been to the park, it's worth paying the modest entrance fee to check out the 2-mile Sandpiper Pond Trail to the beach or walk on some of the boardwalks extending into the salt marsh and freshwater lagoon. More than 300 species of birds have been recorded in the 2,500-acre park.
Eventually, the Waccamaw Neck Bikeway will stretch 27 miles from the Horry/Georgetown county line in Murrells Inlet to the bridge connecting Georgetown to Waccamaw Neck.
If you're going to ride the bikeway, take care when parking and off-loading bicycles. The best public parking areas include:
Morse Park Landing in Murrells Inlet
Huntington Beach State Park (admission fee to the park is $8 for adults, $4 for children ages 6 to 15)
The north parking lot at the Litchfield Beach & Golf Resort.
The Piggly Wiggly and Bi-Lo grocery stores in the Litchfield community
The Food Lion at the South Causeway.
The Waccamaw Neck Bikeway is part of the East Coast Greenway, a 3,000-mile trail system being developed along the eastern seaboard from Maine to Florida.