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Road Trips from Pawleys Island: Cruisin’ to Calabash

By Marissa Polascak • May 20, 2016

Spending your entire vacation in Pawleys Island is completely fine, but with all of the awesome places surrounding the area, sometimes it’s nice to take a day and explore other places nearby.

Calabash, North Carolina, is situated about 50 miles away from Pawleys Island, just across the North Carolina/South Carolina border. Calabash is a quaint fishing town that offers beautiful scenery and tasty seafood. This coastal community proudly calls itself the “Seafood Capital of the World,” and is also known for its Calabash-style seafood.  In addition, Calabash is home to several shops where you can find a variety of different gifts and goods.

There are two different ways to get to Calabash from Pawleys Island. The first way is to travel via SC-31 N and US-17 N, which will get you to Calabash in about 1 hour and 11 minutes with traffic. The second way is to travel via SC-90 E and US-17 N, which will take approximately 1 hour and 27 minutes with traffic.

Calabash is situated between North Myrtle Beach, SC and Wilmington, NC, so there are plenty of things to see on the way there, as well as while you’re visiting the area.

On the Way to Calabash

Brookgreen Gardens

Just a few miles north of Pawleys Island is a popular attraction called Brookgreen Gardens. Brookgreen Gardens is a natural attraction that combines the beauty of Lowcountry nature and sculptures to create an unforgettable atmosphere. Guests here will also enjoy the Lowcountry Zoo, changing exhibits, eateries, and a gift shop.

Huntington Beach State Park

The Huntington Beach State Park is located across the street from Brookgreen Gardens, and it is a must-see place while you’re heading north of Pawleys Island. This state park is a great place to see the natural Lowcountry setting, as well as go to the beach, have a picnic, go for a hike, or see the famous Atalaya Castle.

Broadway at the Beach

Broadway at the Beach is an outdoor entertainment center that you will pass on the way to Calabash. Broadway at the Beach is one of the top attractions in the Myrtle Beach area, and it is home to several specialty shops, restaurants, and other attractions.

Barefoot Landing

Further up towards North Myrtle Beach, you have the option of turning off of your route to Calabash to visit Barefoot Landing. Barefoot Landing is an outdoor entertainment center like Broadway at the Beach, however, it has a more “beachy” feel to it. Here you can walk among the boardwalks and peruse through stores, grab a bite to eat, and more.

North Myrtle Beach

Of course, you will drive through North Myrtle Beach on your way to Calabash, and there are tons of great things to see in town. Stop by Main Street and visit shops and some of the best restaurants and bars in North Myrtle Beach. On Main Street you will also see where thousands of Carolina Shaggers come to dance each year! From restaurants, arcades, bars, clubs, beaches, hotels, and more, North Myrtle Beach presents visitors with tons of things to see!

In Calabash

Golf Courses

Are you a golfer? Calabash and areas surrounding are known for having great golf courses. Take a road trip from Pawleys Island to Calabash to check out some of the fantastic courses here. Some of the golf courses you will see in Calabash are: Carolina Shores Golf & Country Club, The Pearl Golf Course, Thistle Golf Club, Oyster Bay Golf Links, and more nearby. Families can also enjoy playing a round or two at Tropical Adventure Mini Golf.

Gift Shops

Calabash and nearby places like Ocean Isle Beach boast several shops that may interest you while you’re in town. One of the biggest shops there is Callahan’s of Calabash. Callahan’s has been open for almost 40 years and is home to a large variety of gifts, apparel, décor, holiday decorations, and more. Other notable shops include OIB Surf & Java, Pea Landing Mercantile, Callahan’s Fudge Co., Victoria’s Ragpatch, and many more.


Of course, when you’re in Calabash, you have to have some Calabash-style seafood! Don’t worry; there are tons of other restaurants for those who don’t want seafood, too. Here is a list of 10 great restaurants in the Calabash area that are worth checking out: Waterfront Seafood Shack, The Boundary House Restaurant, Calabash Creamery, Bagel Dock Café, Calabash Deli Bakery & Gourmet Shop, Seafood Hut, Ella’s Restaurant, Grapevine Restaurant & Lounge, Tony’s Pizza, Calabash Garden Tea Room, and tons of other great places to eat!


Want to catch your own seafood while in Calabash? Book a charter with the Calabash Fishing Fleet and enjoy a day of fishing. Calabash Fishing Fleet offers offshore, nearshore, and Gulf Stream charters. In addition, they offer scenic cruises, dolphin tours, and more, for those who may not want to go fishing.

Museum of Coastal Carolina

The Museum of Coastal Carolina is located in Ocean Isle Beach, which is right around the corner from Calabash. This museum is home to exhibits that educate visitors about the history and nature of the area. This is a great place for all ages, and is a fun place to kids to learn and see new things.

Ingram Planetarium

Located just a few miles from Calabash in Sunset Beach, Ingram Planetarium is an educational and entertaining attraction that boasts an 85-seat SciDome Sky Theater. Here, guests can learn all about space and astronomy during a laser show, as well as within interactive exhibits.

Ocean Isle Beach Ghost Walks

Want to do something unique on your trip to Calabash? Ocean Isle Beach Ghost Walk offers ghost tours that will tell you chilling tales about the ghost lore and history of the area. These tours are family friendly.