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In Pictures: A harborside stroll in Georgetown, South Carolina
By Tom Adkinson
April 21, 2023

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GEORGETOWN, S.C. – Georgetown is a quiet stop off of U.S. 17 just about halfway between Myrtle Beach and Charleston and an excellent spot for a stroll beside a historic harbor, a museum visit and a seafood entrée for lunch or dinner. “Quaint” is a common descriptor. It is relaxing and of a manageable scale. Georgetown was founded in 1729 at the confluence of five rivers and is the third oldest city in the state (behind Charleston and Beaufort). Of more than 250 historic homes in the downtown area, 60 are on the National Register of Historic Places.

A mystery of history

georgetown harborside boardwalk
This entrance sign to the harborside boardwalk says Georgetown was founded in 1734, but Discover Georgetown’s website cites 1729 and the same website has a piece of art that says 1732. Image by Tom Adkinson

Along the boardwalk

georgetown waterside view
Cruisers, fishing boats and other vessels fill the waterside view along the boardwalk in Georgetown. Shops and restaurants are on the other side. Image by Tom Adkinson

Learning Georgetown’s maritime story

south carolina maritime museum
The South Carolina Maritime Museum opened in 2006. It began with two professionally built ship models and quickly added to its collection, which now occupies two floors of a historic waterfront building. Image by Tom Adkinson

A ship of escape

planter ship model
The museum’s model of a ship called the Planter tells a powerful story of freedom. Robert Smalls, born into slavery in 1839, was a skilled harbor pilot in Charleston early in the Civil War. Smalls and seven other enslaved crewmen and their families surreptitiously sailed the Planter out of Charleston Harbor and delivered to the U.S. Navy. Image by Tom Adkinson

A well-traveled lighthouse lens

native americans holy ground
One of the maritime museum’s treasures is this French-made 5th order Fresnel lighthouse lens. It topped the Georgetown lighthouse from 1867-1999. The Coast Guard then moved it to a facility in Miami, but the maritime museum arranged for its return to Georgetown in 2014. Image by Tom Adkinson

Up the river without a paddle

ancient georgetown cypress canoe
Not every vessel in Georgetown is pretty and an obvious subject for watercolorists. Take this cypress canoe of undetermined age recovered from the bank of the Waccamaw River. The maritime museum says it likely was used in South Carolina rice fields before the Civil War. Image by Tom Adkinson

Trip-planning resources: and

(Travel writer Tom Adkinson’s book, 100 Things To Do in Nashville Before You Die, is available on

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