How did Pawleys Island get its name?

Good question. Turns out the first European settler to develop plantations in the area was a guy named Percival Pawley, receiving federal land grants way back in the year 1711, and the town ended up with the last name of his sons George, Anthony, and Percival Jr.

Is Pawleys Island actually an island?

Yes, the town itself is a thin strip of land wedged in between the Atlantic Ocean and the winding creeks that run through the marshes. Now, there are unincorporated parts of the community that are not on the actual island, but that’s all semantics.    

What’s with the “Arrogantly Shabby” motto?

The phrase originated in reference to the many Cypress-sided cottages on the island that were less than pristine in appearance. Some might say it’s also an accurate representation of the lifestyle that residents and visitors enjoy.  

Are there any piers in Pawleys Island?

Yes, the Pawleys Pier is located near the Pawleys Pier Village at 320 Myrtle Avenue on the island. However, access to the pier is limited to residents and visitors staying in the Pawleys Pier Village condo complex.        

Is it true that George Washington visited?

Yep, definitely. Two years after he was elected he came down to visit with some wealthy landowners, which is something that politicians are known for doing.  

What schools do area children attend?

There are no schools on the island itself, but the area is served by Georgetown County Schools, which includes Waccamaw Elementary (PK– 3), Waccamaw Intermediate (4 – 6), Waccamaw Middle (7 – 8 )and Waccamaw High School. Private school options include Lowcountry Preparatory School (PK – 12), Pawleys Island Christian Academy (PK – 12), and Pawleys Island Montessori Day School (PK – 6).  

Is Pawleys Island really haunted with ghosts?

Well, there’s some truth to that, depending on who you ask.

First, there’s Alice Flagg. She was said to have been in love and engaged to a man that her uncle, Dr. Flagg, didn’t approve of, so much so that he demanded she return the engagement ring. She agreed, but secretly wore it on a necklace that she hid beneath her dress. Dr. Flagg then sent Alice to boarding school in Charleston to find a suitor of a higher social standing, and while she was down there she caught malaria. Dr. Flagg rushed down and brought her back home, but her condition proved fatal. During her dying hours, she often clutched at her chest, feeling for the ring. Alice is buried at All Saints Cemetery, and legend has it that her ghost can still be seen wandering the graveyard at night.

The other local ghost story is about a guy they call The Gray Man, who is known for appearing randomly on the beach or in the dunes in the days before a bad hurricane, supposedly to warn residents of the coming storm. Those who have seen him are usually spooked out to the point that they flee the island unharmed, while the town and the remaining population get ravaged by high winds and rain.      


Does Pawleys Island offer public beach access?

Sure. Beach access and parking are available at First Street, Second Street, Third Street, Shell Road, Hazard Street, and Pritchard Street. Other parking is available in the Georgetown County Lot at the south end of Springs Avenue, and adjacent to the boat landings at Pritchard Street, Shell Road, and Third Street.  

How many people live on Pawleys Island?

The 2010 census found that the population was 103, but that number is deceptive. There are thousands of people living in the area, but the census only counted full-time residents within the town’s one square-mile of incorporated land.

Where do I find out more information about the Grand Strand area?

Of course, offers plenty of great information about Pawleys and surrounding south end communities like Murrells Inlet, Gaarden City and Litchfield Beach. If you’d like to find more information about the entire Grand Strand — which stretches from the N.C. State line near Little River all the way south to Georgetown, S.C. — you can check out sites like and