South Carolina is bordered on its east side by the Atlantic Ocean, and because it’s a coastal state, it’s also home to 11 lighthouses. These lighthouses stand tall in several cities along South Carolina’s coast, including Myrtle Beach.
From your hotel in Myrtle Beach, you can visit one of South Carolina’s active lighthouses in North Myrtle Beach. You could also take a day road trip and visit a few more lighthouses residing just south of Myrtle Beach.
You’ll find the Governor’s Lighthouse in Little River (North Myrtle Beach), and while it’s a smaller tower, you can’t miss it with its black and white striped design. It was built in 1985 and built to honor all of the past and present governors of South Carolina. The observation tower provides spectacular views of the coastline — the best views in Myrtle Beach. The lighthouse is open daily, and it’s free admission.
The Georgetown Lighthouse is also referred to as the North Island Light, gaining this name because it stands on the North Island at the mouth of Winyah Bay. It’s the oldest active lighthouse in all of South Carolina, dating back to the early 1800s. The Georgetown Lighthouse has been unmanned since 1968 but still remains a working navigational guide since the U.S. Coast Guard took over its operations that year. Although public tours inside the lighthouse aren’t available, you can take boat tours to see and take pictures of the lighthouse. Rover Tours takes you on a shelling and lighthouse cruise onboard its Carolina Rover, and Cap’n Rod’s Lowcountry Plantation Tours offers a Lighthouse Shell Island Tour. Both are a great way to see and learn more about the lighthouse’s history.
Cape Romain Lighthouses
The two Cape Romain lighthouses are very historic even though both inactive today. They rest side by side of each other about six miles offshore from McClellanville. The first was constructed in 1827, but this 65-foot tower didn’t have a strong enough light to alert oncoming ships and boats of the nearby sandbar. So 30 years later, a second tower, standing at 150 feet, was built next to the old one. Both Cape Romain lighthouses are inactive and aren’t open to regularly be toured, but the Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge provides public tours of each four times a year where you can view the lighthouses and learn the history behind each one. The Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge also gives visitors the chance to get up close and personal with the region’s wildlife, like the little guy pictured below!
The appropriately named Charleston Lighthouse resides a couple of hours south of Myrtle Beach in Charleston, South Carolina. Not to be confused when a local calls it something different, this one is also called the Sullivan Island Lighthouse since it stands on Sullivan’s Island. Its purpose is to guide boats and cruise ships safely into the mouth of the Charleston Harbor. Constructed back in the 1960s, this lighthouse has a different design than most. It’s a three-sided building, which is supposed to help make the tower more wind resistant. Although active, the Charleston Lighthouse isn’t open to the public, but you can see it from the road if you’re visiting the Fort Sumter National Monument or from the water on a boat tour. A boat tour with Charleston Harbor Tours is a fun way to see and hear about some of the city’s major sights and attractions, and Sandlapper Water Tours is the ideal tour for history buffs since local historians narrate its tours.
Myrtle Beach is beautiful coastal city to visit, but your trip to this South Carolina gem won’t be complete unless you take the time to see and learn about its rich history through some of its lighthouse tours.