Add a little outdoor adventure to your cultural getaway in the Murrells Inlet and bike or hike the Waccamaw Neck Bikeway, a popular multi-purpose path paralleling U.S. 17 from Murrells Inlet to Huntington Beach State Park.
Although the 12 miles of flat, paved trails built to date are not contiguous, you can ride Share the Road routes between the completed sections of path, allowing you to pedal or walk all the way from Murrells Inlet to Pawleys Island.
"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 two-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. The next section to be completed will link Pawleys Island to Litchfield Beach.
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 $5 for adults, $3 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.