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Serene ambiance: Pawleys Island named one of top romantic small towns in America

Couples who have visited Pawleys Island over the years often attest to the romantic atmosphere as they stroll down the beach hand in hand, enveloped in the serene ambiance and beautiful scenery.

This couple enjoys some together time lounging on the Pawleys Island beach. (Photo by Chris Rogers/Georgetown County Chamber of Commerce)

Recently, New York Travel Guides, an online publication, named Pawleys Island as one of 140 “Most Romantic Small Towns in America,” and it made the top 40, too!

Pawleys Island Mayor Brian Henry and his wife, Sassy, who both own the Seaview Inn on the island and Get Carried Away Southern Market and Takeout on the Pawleys Island mainland say the island certainly deserves to be on this list.

“There are no distractions on Pawleys, and there are lots of simple things to love and cherish,” Brian Henry said. “Whether it’s time on the beach strolling, lounging with very few other people around, or enjoying a quiet sunset from a creek dock overlooking the marsh, it’s very romantic.” 

Sassy Henry agreed, saying that Pawleys Island is “magical and unspoiled.”

“The love story of Pawleys is passed from generation to generation, and you can’t beat a sunrise, sunset or walk on the beach with your loved one,” she said. “Pawleys is so peaceful that couples can truly connect with each other, uninterrupted and undisturbed. The world is your oyster!” 

Brian and Sassy Henry of Pawleys Island love strolling on the beach. (Photo by Christy Lynch Photography)

To determine the 140 most romantic small towns in America, a team of travel experts at New York Travel Guides compared 600 popular American small towns across four categories: (1) romantic places to stay, (2) romantic activities, (3) historic architecture and scenery, and (4) cozy coffee shops and restaurants. These categories were then assigned a weight based on their importance.

“For each of the 600 small towns in the USA that we analyzed, we gathered data for all categories,” stated Alex Parker, the author of the article. “For each category, a standardized score was calculated, with a higher score representing a better outcome for romance, which was then used to calculate the overall weighted score for each small town to rank the 600 small towns in our sample and determine the 140 most romantic small towns in America.”

In the article, Parker wrote, “During the fall and winter months, it’s wonderful to immerse yourself in a romantic setting. America has a lot of small towns that are perfect for a romantic getaway.”

Parker’s team ranked Pawleys Island as No. 36, based on the data collected.

“Pawleys Island is a beautiful small town in Georgetown County, South Carolina,” Parker wrote. “With its incredible restaurants, wonderful golf courses, and romantic places to stay, including places with ocean views, Pawleys Island is a perfect destination for a romantic getaway.”

Sharing a moment relaxing on a Pawleys Island rope hammock is a good way to pass time. (Photo by Chris Rogers/Georgetown County Chamber of Commerce)

Other romantic places in the Southeastern U.S. which made the top 50 on this list included St. Augustine, Florida (No. 3), Hilton Head, South Carolina (No. 12), Palm Beach, Florida (No. 14), Helen, Georgia (No. 40), Beaufort, South Carolina (No. 47), and Blowing Rock, North Carolina (No. 48).

New York Travel Guides is a digital publication writing about a large variety of topics including great things to do, cultural attractions, and food. In addition, the digital publication is also focused on conducting high-quality research to find insights that relate to travel in the United States and travel in general.

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