The families of rice planters who owned plantations on the nearby rivers first settled Pawleys Island in the early 1700s. The planters knew that it was unhealthy for their families to remain on the rivers during the summer and that the seashore was much healthier. Even though they didn’t know about malaria in the 1700s, they knew enough to get away! They moved their families, horses, cows, bedding, provisions and furniture to Pawleys in May of each year, where they remained until the first frost in November!
From this leisurely existence has developed the charm of Pawleys that still remains. Also still remaining are 12 residences in the historic district, which date from the late 1700s to the mid 1800s. Pawleys continues to be known for its shoeless, carefree, laid-back life style, which includes crabbing in the adjacent creeks, fishing, the stories of ghosts, the rope hammocks and the unspoiled, unsophisticated, casual, delightful stretch of wide beach and sand dunes.