Great birding SITES IN HORRY COUNTY
MYRTLE BEACH STATE PARK
Myrtle Beach State Park has a fishing pier, some beach, dune scrub, and oak-pine forest. While you can see a few common seabirds along the beach or from the fishing pier, the real attraction of this park is its woods. The forest here is an island of wilderness in a great sea of beach-side development. It is one of the better spots along the South Carolina coast for finding passerine migrants, especially during the fall migration.
The park is open daily 6am-10pm, March-Nov.; and 6am-8pm, Dec.-Feb.
Campers arriving after hours should contact the park office for the gate combination. Please call 843-238-5325 or email the park. OFFICE hours M-Fr 8am-5pm; Sat-Sun 11 am-5pm
ADMISSION $8 adults; $5/SC seniors (age 65 & older);
$4/ child age 6-15; Free for children 5 and younger.
Additional charges apply for pier fishing, overnight camping and certain park programs. Please visit the corresponding pages on this website for specifics.
WACCAMAW NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE, COX FERRY LAKE RECREATION AREA
The Cox Ferry Lake Recreation Area is a 325-acre property located in Conway, South Carolina It offers the public three miles of interpretive nature trails, a mountain biking trail, boardwalk, kiosks and a weather shelter with picnic tables. There are two access points with parking.
Take Hwy 544 to W. Cox Ferry Rd. Parking area is approximately 2.5 miles on left. Look for yellow gate and Refuge sign.
Cox Ferry Recreational parking area via Google Maps
Jackson Bluff Parking Area
Take Hwy 544 to Jackson Bluff Rd. Stay straight when road turns to the left. Parking area is about 200 yards on left hand side.
Jackson Bluff parking area via Google Maps
Sunrise to sunset
LEWIS OCEAN BAY
Recognized by the National Audubon Society as an Important Bird Area, this 10,427-acre preserve, managed by SCDNR, provides habitat for a large number of plant and animal species. The preserve has the highest number of black bears anywhere in the state.
The refuge is also home to Bald Eagles and Red-Cockaded Woodpeckers, both federally threatened species, as well as species of songbirds such a Bachman's Sparrow and Brown-headed Nuthatches. Plant life features insectivorous Venus flytraps, pitcher-plants, native orchids, azaleas and other wildflowers that bloom in profusion in season.
Lewis Ocean Bay Heritage Preserve can be reached from SC Highway 90, which runs from US Highway 501 to SC Highway 9. To get to the preserve from Conway use Business US 501 north and turn left on SC Highway 90, go approximately 6 miles north on SC Highway 90, turn right on International Drive, directly across from Wild Horse Subdivision, travel 1.5 miles down International Road, take a left at the first fork on Kingston Road. The preserve lies on both sides of the road.
The preserve is open to the public from one hour before sunrise to one hour after sunset. Hunting is allowed with the proper permit and licensing. Please visit www.dnr.sc.gov for directions and additional information.
Great birding sites IN GEORGETOWN COUNTY AND SOUTH
HUNTINGTON BEACH STATE PARK
Huntington Beach State Park is considered by many to be the best birding spot in South Carolina -- anytime of year. Although both Fall and Spring migratory seasons are superb, wintertime can yield some of the best sightings of all. View and print our detailed birding checklist of over 300 species that have been seen within park boundaries.
Huntington Beach State Park is located on US Hwy 17, just south of Murrells Inlet, halfway between Georgetown and Myrtle Beach, almost directly across the road from the entrance to Brookgreen Gardens
The park is open 6 a.m. - 6 p.m., daily (extended to 10 p.m. during Daylight Saving Time). Admission fees apply with discounts for Seniors, Youths and Park Passport holders.
The Hobcaw Barony Discovery Center is a museum operated as a partnership between the Belle W. Baruch Foundation that owns Hobcaw Barony and the North Inlet Winyah Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve. The goal of the Discovery Center is to provide information pertaining to the history, ecology and research of the property for visitors. Tours and programs conducted by the Foundation and NERR staff originate from the Discovery Center. Admission to the Discovery Center Museum and Gift Shop are free, but donations are appreciated. Access to the 16,000 acres is only by guided tours and programs.
Please call (843) 546-4623 for more information.
Brookgreen Gardens, a National Historic Site is recognized as one of the top ten gardens in the country but the grounds and walking trails of Brookgreen Gardens also offer outstanding birding opportunities. Depending on the season Prothonotary Warblers, Common Yellowthroat, Yellow-billed Cuckoos, Great Crested Flycatchers, Brown-headed Nuthatches, Red-headed Woodpecker and many other wild birds may be seen. If you are really lucky you may catch a glimpse of the endangered Red-Cockaded Woodpecker.
Entry fees apply.
For more information, visit the website at http://www.brookgreen.org or call (843) 235-6000.
Waccamaw National Wildlife Refuge
Waccamaw National Wildlife Refuge was established on December 1, 1997 to protect and manage diverse habitat components within coastal river ecosystems for the benefit of endangered and threatened species, freshwater and anadromous fish, migratory birds, and forest wildlife, including a wide array of plants and animals associated with bottomland hardwood habitats; and provide a variety of wildlife-dependant recreational activities including hunting, fishing, wildlife observation, photography, and environmental education.
In October of 2009 Waccamaw National Wildlife Refuge opened the Visitor Center. Built on a 22-acre tract of land that overlooks the Great Pee Dee River and Yauhannah Lake, the 7,300 square ft. center houses an exhibit hall, auditorium, gift/book shop featuring live native animals, a conference room and a state of the art Environmental Education Center that includes a classroom/wet lab.
From the intersection of Highways 521, 701, and 17, you want to take Hwy 701 North towards Conway, S.C.. We are exactly 20 miles from Wal-Mart on Hwy 701 North. The Visitor Center will be on your right before you cross the Great Pee Dee River and Yauhannah Lake.
Take Highway 701 South 15 miles towards Georgetown, S.C.. We are located on the left-hand side of the road right after you cross the Great Pee Dee River and Yauhannah Lake.
Visitor Center via Google Maps
8:00am to 4:00pm
10:00am to 4:30pm
Closed all federal holidays
Santee Coastal Reserve (SCR) Wildlife Management Area was established by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources as a result of the purchase and donation of the property by The Nature Conservancy in 1974. This unique property represents a variety of habitats found in South Carolina including diverse uplands, freshwater, brackish and tidal wetlands and agricultural fields. This 24,000-acre property is composed of Murphy Island, Cedar Island, The Cape, Washo Reserve and adjacent upland habitats. Murphy Island, Cedar Island and The Cape are former rice fields managed for the benefit of breeding, migratory and wintering waterfowl, shorebirds and wading birds. Loggerhead sea turtles nest on Murphy and Cedar Islands. Washo Reserve, owned and co-managed by The Nature Conservancy, is a 1,040-acre sanctuary within Santee Coastal Reserve consisting of a cypress lake and surrounding upland longleaf pine buffer. The impounded cypress lake harbors the oldest wading bird rookery in continuous use in North America. The upland habitat at SCR contains a diversity of forest types, including a natural stand of longleaf pine, Carolina bays and mixed hardwoods. The long-leaf pine and other forested areas support many colonies of the endangered Red-cockaded woodpecker, songbirds, raptors, butterflies, fox squirrels and other small mammals.
How to Get There: From Georgetown take US Hwy 17 South to the Santee River, then turn left on SSR 857/ South Santee Road (look for brown WMA sign for Santee Coastal Reserve and Hampton Plantation sign going opposite direction). Drive a few miles and turn left into the entrance of the Santee Coastal Reserve. You’ll continue driving on a dirt road until you see the information kiosk.
From Charleston Take Hwy 17 North past McClellanville and just before crossing the Santee River turn right onto SSR 857 and follow the above instructions.
TOM YAWKEY WILDLIFE Center
The Tom Yawkey Wildlife Center is a 20,000 acre field laboratory located on three coastal barrier islands. North Island is designated a barrier island wilderness where no activities detrimental to its primitive character are permitted. South Island is held for the protection of waterfowl, and no duck hunting is permitted. Cat Island and the remainder of the property is held as a wildlife management area for migratory birds, native game and other wild species.
After the property's transfer to SC DNR, it was dedicated as a Heritage Preserve by the SC Heritage Trust, a departmental program established to preserve natural diversity in SC. The National Audubon Society has designated the Yawkley Center as an Important Bird Area.
The Tom Yawkey Wildlife Center is closed to the public except for pre-scheduled tours. Our free educational field trips typically run every Wednesday and Thursday from September to May. Tours start at 10 am and typically last 4 hours during which guests see portions of Cat and South Islands while learning about the historical and ecological aspects of the property.
For more information on booking a tour please call (843) 546-6814 Monday - Friday from 9 am - 3:30 pm.