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Pawleys Island Offers a Treasure Trove of Shopping Options



Pawleys Island is a unique community on the Grand Strand and one of the best places for shopping if you prefer small mom-and-pop shops to the mega-malls of Myrtle Beach. Forget the national chains and name brands; Pawleys Islands dishes out gifts that may be hard to find anywhere else. For generations, the Pawleys Island retail industry was based on the hammocks shops that sold the small town's chief export, and some of those same places are still open today, like the Hammock Shops Village and Pawleys Island Hammock Shops. But, with the explosion of tourism in the area and the "arrogantly shabby" tastes of those who call Pawleys Island either home or their vacation home, stores have opened to meet that need. Art galleries and boutiques line Ocean Highway, the main thoroughfare through Pawleys Island, and the shops that call this sleepy town home, such as The Beach House, Surf the Earth and Litchfield Books, fill the needs of the community and those who borrow it for one week in the summer. Find items specific to the island to take back to your home and be a hit with friends by bringing home creative gifts instead of the cheap beach trinkets sold at many souvenir shops in Myrtle Beach.


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Primarily Pine
Photo courtesy of Primarily Pine


The abundance of pine trees in the South Carolina Lowcountry has created a unique market for pine home furnishings, and Primarily Pine has one of the finest collections in the Carolinas. Featuring a wide range of quality, cottage-style furniture and the latest in home decor trends, Primarily Pine has a huge warehouse and showroom for visitors to browse. This outlet also offers a variety of custom rocking chairs, porch swings and patio furniture, as well as home, office and farmhouse decor pieces. Lots of other wood groups are represented, including oak, hickory, cedar and more, but this place is prime time for pine.

Recommended for Best of Pawleys Island because: Primarily Pine has the most impressive collection of cottage furniture on the Grand Strand.

Terry's expert tip: Second-home buyers often decorate their Pawleys Island dream home exclusively from Primarily Pine.

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Affordables Apparel
Photo courtesy of Affordables Apparel


Southern ladies are known for their sense of style, and the "arrogantly shabby" attitude of Pawleys Island fits right in with Affordables. Offering comfortable but trendy clothing for active women of the Lowcountry, this Charleston-based regional chain features quality clothing at surprisingly low prices. Affordables has everything from casual wear for a day at the beach to semi-formal wear for a romantic night out to dinner. Shoes are a staple at Affordables, selling everything from flip-flops to high heels. And you can find all your accessories, including purses and jewelry at this Hammock Village Shops outlet, without digging too deep in your wallet.

Recommended for Best of Pawleys Island because: Ladies can find everything they need at a fair price at Affordables.

Terry's expert tip: Affordables hosts wine tastings and tea parties on special shopping nights.

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The Beach House
Photo courtesy of Pawleys Island Hammocks Shops Village


The Beach House may be the most aptly named store in Hammocks Shop Village, offering precisely what the title says - items for the beach house and those who want to decorate their inland home like it was located on the coast. This shop sells everything related to the Pawleys Island lifestyle, from the handmade wicker and sweetgrass baskets similar to those sold street side to the native seashells found along the oceanfront. The Beach House also carries a creative collection of beach-related artwork and antiques, and it's a great place to grab a gift for loved ones back home.

Recommended for Best of Pawleys Island because: The Beach House features upscale home furnishings that work for inland homes too.

Terry's expert tip: You can make a full day of shopping at the surrounding 20-plus stores of the Hammocks Shops Village.

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Carolina Gourmet at Pawleys
Photo courtesy of Carolina Gourmet at Pawleys


Take home a taste of Pawleys Island at the Carolina Gourmet, one of the more than 20 shops locates at the Hammocks Shops Village. This combination gourmey grocery shop and culinary gift store features a wide range of cookbooks, kitchen gadgets, cookware and accessories. Discover a new dish during your trip to the Lowcountry? Take home the instructions and ingredients to make it for the folks back home, like stone-ground grits, red rice and the popular, locally made Palmetto Cheese. Unique blends of spices and herbs are available to help an average cook make a meal like a Pawleys Island master.

Recommended for Best of Pawleys Island because: Carolina Gourmet is the best place to find all the ingredients to your Pawleys Island feast.

Terry's expert tip: Carolina Gourmet also sells rare regional candies and products you won't find back home.

Read more about Carolina Gourmet at Pawleys →


Litchfield Books
Photo courtesy of Litchfield Books


In an age when the local, neighborhood book store is a thing of the past, the past is still alive and well in Pawleys Island. After recently relocating from Litchfield Beach to Pawleys Island near the Fresh Market, Litchfield Books remains the lone local bookseller on the South Strand. Offering a wide range of fiction and non-fiction, children's books and more, this family owned and operated outfit maintains the charm of a small-town book store in an era dominated by the big distributors. Litchfield Books also offers a nice selection of greeting cards, calendars, games, puzzles, magazines and newspapers from other cities.

Recommended for Best of Pawleys Island because: No vacation is complete without a good book, and Litchefield Books is the place to find it.

Terry's expert tip: Litchfield Books features regular weekly book signings, lectures and other events.

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The Audobon Society and Gallery
Photo courtesy of National Audobon Society


Experience the true spirit of the environmental and conservation organization in one of the most unique shops on the Grand Strand. The Audobon Society, which works worldwide to protect rare species of birds and their habitats, delivers its message in retail form at this combination outdoors center/art gallery. Displaying artworks of renowned nature artists and apparel that shows your support for the cause, The Audobon Shop sells bird houses and feeders, books, calendars, field guides and equipment for bird watchers and natural photography enthusiasts, and provides a kids' room where children can learn about this magnificiant creatures while the grown-ups shop.

Recommended for Best of Pawleys Island because: For all the duck hunting stores and outlets, it's refreshing to visit The Audobon Shop and see its commitment to the cause.

Terry's expert tip: Whether you are into birds or not, you owe it to yourself to browse The Audobon Shop's art gallery.

Read more about The Audobon Society and Gallery →


Surf the Earth
Photo courtesy of Surf the Earth


You don't have to be a surfer dude or dudette to shop at Surf the Earth. In fact, the locally owned surf shop caters to those who are thinking about getting on the board for the first time. The helpful and knowledgeable staff can help you pick out the right board for you, or even rent you a surfboard to try out before you buy. Free surf lessons are offered during weekdays at Pawleys Island Beach and various surf camps are held to help beginners. Of course, Surf the Earth is also equipped to outfit the most experienced surfers, too.

Recommended for Best of Pawleys Island because: There are many chain surf shops on the Grand Strand, but Surf the Earth is the choice among locals.

Terry's expert tip: Surf the Earth also offers kayak tours to Huntington Beach State Park and Hobcaw Barony.

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Gullah Ooman
Photo courtesy of Gullah Ooman


The South Carolina Lowcountry and its barrier islands are home to a historic but little known language and lifestyle called "Gullah." Derived from African slaves who worked the rice and indigo plantations as early as the 1600s, the Gullah culture is now endangered by development of these coastal lands and the movement of descendants to the mainstream. But the Gullah way of life is preserved and honored at this shop that is much a museum as it is a store. Featuring family quilts that were sewn by generations before and hand-woven sweetgrass baskets that the Gullah people have turned into an art form, the Gullah Ooman is a great place to learn about this unique heritage and take a piece of it home with you.

Recommended for Best of Pawleys Island because: Gullah Ooman is an interesting and educational place to visit even if you don't spend a penny.

Terry's expert tip: Gullah Ooman holds cultural celebrations and events such as story-tellings on special occasions.

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Pawleys Island Mercantile
Photo courtesy of Pawleys Island Mercantile


Remember the old country store, where you could find anything and everything plus a little more. Well, that's Pawleys Island Mercantile in a nut shell, although most of the products have a South Carolina Lowcountry theme. This general store-style shop features lots of souvenirs from Pawleys Island and South Carolina, including the familiar palmetto tree and crescent moon that serves as the state flag. Pawleys Island Mercantile also offers a large supply of toys, jewelry, T-shirts and flip-flops for your beachwear needs for the week. Not into shopping? Grab a cold drinks and a snack and head to the gazebo area to spend the day in the shade with others in your party shop till they drop.

Recommended for Best of Pawleys Island because: If you can't find it anywhere else, odds are you'll unearth it at Pawleys Island Mercantile.

Terry's expert tip: Pawleys Island Mercantile also is home to the Candy Cottage, providing the perfect excuse to stumble into some sweets.

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The Original Hammock Shop
Photo courtesy of The Original Hammock Shop


See the original hammock maker in Pawleys Island that made the town famous for the ultimate outdoor furniture. According to The Original Hammock Shop, the first hammock was woven by a riverboat captain in the late 1800s, and the same design is used today. Hand-woven and held to the strict standards set by the company back in 1938, Pawleys Island hammocks are a mark of quality craftsmanship. Visitors will find quality hammocks in all-cotton rope or Duracord, plus hammock accessories. Best of all, guests can take the display models for a test ride beneath the shady live oaks outside the shop.

Recommended for Best of Pawleys Island because: Pawleys Island has many hammocks shops but this one was the first and still the best.

Terry's expert tip: During the summer months, shoppers can watch weavers build the cozy creations out front.

Read more about The Original Hammock Shop →


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Meet Terry Massey

It's no surprise that journalist Terry Massey is credited with creating the word 'stay-cation.'  He considers the past 18 years in Myrtle Beach a vacation.

He and his wife Stephanie were...  More About Terry

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