Skip navigation

Pawleys Island: A beautiful place for outdoor exercise

Each January, when making resolutions, one of the main goals people set for themselves is to exercise more so they can lose weight, improve their physical health, and boost their mental well-being.

Well, for outdoor enthusiasts, Pawleys Island may be the perfect location to walk, jog, or bicycle. This three-mile-long barrier island offers a beautiful, scenic backdrop for any form of outdoor exercise.

Of course, people who exercise regularly on Pawleys Island know that physical activity outside in the fresh air and natural light is invigorating, while offering a variety of scenery, social interaction, and increased motivation to get out there regularly.

Zach and April McKinney say they enjoy exercising outside, especially in a beautiful place like Pawleys Island. (Photo by Clayton Stairs/Georgetown County Chamber of Commerce)

Zach and April McKinney, who live just off the South Causeway, were recently walking on the island, enjoying some quality time together on a pleasant December day.

“We love coming out here to take in all of this beauty and some good, deep breaths of fresh air,” April said. “And the view changes from season to season.”

The natural beauty and environment were main reasons the couple moved to Pawleys about a year ago from Franklin, Tennessee. Because Zach and April have busy schedules, working for themselves in real estate and raising children, they both needed a flexible way to exercise – and walking around Pawleys was the perfect fit.

“We come from a beautiful place, and we moved to another beautiful place,” April said. “We love it here.”

Zach said it’s difficult finding time to get to the gym, so outdoor exercise is ideal for them. But, he said, they don’t always exercise together. Many times, April will walk or jog in the morning while he prefers going later in the day.

“I started walking in the afternoons and making calls if I need to, while on my walk,” he said. “If nobody wants to talk, I just listen to music or a podcast.”

A new resident of the Pawleys Island area, Tim Cerullo walks to the north end of the island each day. (Photo by Clayton Stairs/Georgetown County Chamber of Commerce)

Tim Cerullo said he has been walking about four miles daily since he moved to Pawleys Island in March from Sanibel Island, Florida. He usually goes from his house on the Pawleys mainland, across the North Causeway to the north end of the island, and back.

“It is relaxing, and it just sets the day right when I get a walk in,” he said. “It is good for the mind and good for the body.”

Retired, Tim said he enjoys exercising outside, especially near the beach.

“Inside on a treadmill doesn’t work for me,” he said. “I like listening to the birds and seeing the beauty of nature. Then I stop by the beach and give my ode to the ocean every morning, so it is nice.”

Toni Ricker, Dawn Ruff, and Barbara Cobb, who are neighbors living on the north end of Pawleys Island, were recently walking with Ricker’s dog, Violet, on the island. When they walk together, they said they like to go from the north end to the south end along the beach and then back on the road.

Ricker said they sometimes walk all their dogs together so the pups can enjoy barking at the many birds they see, as well as getting to know other dogs they meet. She said another reason they like to walk on the island is the comradery with other people.

“It feels neighborly when you see people that maybe you haven’t seen for a while and catch up,” she said. “You feel more a part of the community.”

From left, Dawn Ruff, Barbara Cobb, and Toni Ricker, who all live on Pawleys Island, take a break from walking with Ricker’s dog, Violet. (Photo by Clayton Stairs/Georgetown County Chamber of Commerce)

Ruff said there is just something about exercising outside on Pawleys Island.

“It is healing to be outside, and it clears your mind,” Dawn Ruff said. “It is a different day if I’m able to take a long walk on the island.”

By Clayton Stairs / tourism manager for the Georgetown County Chamber of Commerce