Beach Week: Shells & Sunsets, North End of Pawleys

North End, Pawleys Island, SC

For whatever we lose (like a you or a me),

it’s always our self we find in the sea.

e.e.cummings

The North End of Pawleys Island, SC might be known as the wild child of this “blessed isle.” After all, the North End, with its wider, white sand beach, seems to stretch endlessly without boundaries, expanding even further into the sea at low tide.

Unlike the houses at the South End that now look out over a newly renourished beach, houses at the North End are set back from the ocean — and always have been. But they still access the beach. Long wooden walkways provide the connection as they stretch endlessly (it seems) toward the horizon.

Wooden walkways, houses at North End, Pawleys Island SC

In the early morning hours, people on the North End walk the beach, surf, or set up fishing poles in the hope that there will be fish a-jumpin’ between the North End of Pawleys and the southern tip of Litchfield that you can see in the distance.

Fishing at North End, Pawleys Island SC
Standing on the North End, this fisherman can look across the waters at the south end of Litchfield Beach.

At sundown, people gather on the soft white sand (remember, this end of Pawleys hasn’t been renourished yet) to play, talk with family and friends, or walk out onto sandbars at low tide.

Low tide, North End, Pawleys Island SC

If shelling is your game, then you must go north at Pawleys. And most people do. Shells are almost non-existent on the South End, but plentiful on the North.

Shells on North End, Pawleys Island, SC
Shells and other treasures: North End, Pawleys Island

Those in the know are searching for mostly one thing: the Pawleys Island shell, Imperial Venus Clam.

Searching for shells, North End, Pawleys Island SC
Shell seekers, North End of Pawleys at low tide.

Recently, the South End has been renourished, which explains why shell seekers have had a hard time finding any PI shells there. According to John Henry Longmire who makes silver castings of Pawleys Island shells for his shop Longmire Jewelers, “You can’t find ’em much any more on the South End. The new sand has covered them all up!” Thus the migration to the North for those who are intent on finding these gems of the sea.

Imperial Venus Clam, the Pawleys Island shell
It’s said that you’ll receive a blessing if you find a Pawleys shell. And that’s why PI is known as the “blessed isle.”

My limited shell seeking experience this year, even on the North End, netted me no PI shells — but perhaps these treasured little shells could be tied up in debris washed ashore by Hurricane Isaias. The hurricane did indeed leave its mark on the North End: debris washed up on the beach, and huge chunks of sand broke off the dunes, destroying several of the wooden walkways.

Debris washed ashore by Hurricane Isaias, Pawleys Island
The aftermath of Hurricane Isaias at the North End

To us, the best time to visit the North End is sundown, simply because you get a better view of the golden hour there. Drive north to the end of Pawleys, park at Shell Road access, and meander the sand pathway to the beach. It’s a long, uneven route, but the panoramic view of sand, ocean, and big sky when you get there will be reward enough.

Shell Road access, North End Pawleys Island SC
This picture was taken with my back to the ocean, facing the houses on either side of Shell Road access.

And, if you want a really good shot (which I never seem to be able to manage), set your camera so that even when you shoot into the sun, you’re able to capture the beauty of the North End bathed in the last light of day. Then, with your back to the ocean, say good night to the Blessed Isle.

Sunset on North End, Pawleys Island SC
With your back to the ocean, you can capture sundown on the North End of Pawleys, a great place for making memories!

Celebrate the sea,

Rusha & Bert

Please check out our other posts on Pawleys Island:

Lens-Artists Challenge #109: Under the Sun

Beach Week: Renourishing the South End of Pawleys

9 thoughts on “Beach Week: Shells & Sunsets, North End of Pawleys

    1. Oh, the Places We See

      Thanks so much! It was our pleasure to visit Pawleys and share this lovely spot with readers. Today, our next door neighbor said to Bert, “Oh, you’re back from the beach.” And Bert replied, “Yes, regretfully!” We just didn’t want to leave!! Thanks for commenting!

  1. Pit

    Unfortunately, there’s too much of the virus around t the coast here. We had planned to spend a week [for our anniversary] in our favourite place at the Texas Gulf Coast, Port Aransas, but there the beach is still closed to vehicles, and we can’t carry all our stuff [chairs, canopy etc.] there. So that plan is on the back burner for now.

  2. kzmcb

    Oh I am with you heart and soul. Currently we’re heading to the coast and my heart is ahead of me, urging me on. Beautiful post, as always.

    1. Oh, the Places We See

      Thank you so much. It was a beautiful two weeks at Pawleys, so I had to share some of that beauty with my readers. Thanks for being one of them! And have fun at the coast — it restores my soul!

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