Birding and Environmental Resources for the Waccamaw Region
Francis Beidler Forest / Four Holes Swamp
State Parks and Preserves
- Huntington Beach State Park located off of US Hwy 17 south of Murrells Inlet.
One of the top birding spots in the eastern United States. Because of the diversity of habitats offered, HBSP was recently voted as the first 5 out of ten "Favorite Birding Sites" by the WAS!
- Myrtle Beach State Park located off of US Hwy 17 north of Surfside Beach. There is a fishing pier, nice beach, and a wooded nature trail.
- Lewis Ocean Bay Heritage Preserve. Drive north on Hwy 90 about 6.8 miles and turn right onto International Road.
This 9,343 acre property contains a group of 20 undisturbed Carolina bays and includes habitats for the Black bear, the endangered Red-cockaded Woodpecker, the threatened Venus' flytrap, a rare Savannah milkweed and a Pond pine pocosin plant community.
- Santee Coastal and Washo Reserves
The Santee Coastal Reserve (SCR) Wildlife Management Area is owned and managed by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources. The Area was donated to the Department by the Santee Coastal Club through the Nature Conservancy. Consisting of 24,000 acres, the tract is characterized as a waterfowl management area, but it also provides management capabilities for a wide variety of game, nongame and fishery resources such as hiking, biking and canoeing. The Santee Coastal Reserve is open for limited public use year round except for the first full week in October, the first two full weeks in November, the first full week in December and Wednesdays and Saturdays between January 21 and March 1. The dikes around the waterfowl impoundments and the canoe trail are closed, except by prior arrangement, during the period of November 1 through January 31. Due to water level manipulations, the canoe trail may not always be accessible due to low water levels. No canoes will be furnished. Observation blinds for waterfowl are available by prior arrangement. Hours of visitation are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. The upland nature trail is not available during open periods stated above. The hiking/biking trail is also open during open periods, however, it will be closed between the dates of November 1 through January 31.
The "heart" of the SCR is the Washo Reserve featuring a Swamp boardwalk. The Washo Reserve area of the Santee Coastal Reserve is owned by The Nature Conservancy and is managed by SCDNR under lease. Public visitation to the Washo and the marshland nature trail will be allowed from February 1 through October 31. Hours of visitation are 8 am to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 1:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m. on Sunday. During the period February 1 through August 31, public visitation and access will be restricted to the use of the boardwalk and nature trails du e to the high concentration of breeding and nesting birds. Special visitations during the breeding and nesting seasons may be arranged by prior contact.
Call (843) 546-8665 for up to date details on closings and access.
- Busbee Lake. Located off Hwy 501 near Conway. Nice walking/biking trail around the trail. Eagles have nested here every year. Marsh birds are easy to fine.
- Cape Romain NWR & Bull Island. Travel north on Hwy 17 from Mt. Pleasant. Turn right on Seewee Road and follow signs to Garris Landing. Access to the refuge is by boat only, but a passenger ferry operated by Coastal Expeditions runs to Bull Island several times per week.
- Waccamaw National Wildlife Refuge. One of our favorite places! The visitor center is located off of Hwy 701 near Plantersville. It is a first class visitor center with a great walk through showing the refuge environment, ecology, wildlife, etc.