Amidst the tourist attractions, rental properties, and restaurants lining the highway through North Myrtle Beach is a quiet escape through nature at a place called Vereen Memorial Gardens. Straddled by subdivisions and a golf course, the botanical gardens is a short, fun journey through nature along the Intracoastal Waterway. It’s not exactly a place to spend the day, but perhaps a few hours one evening before sunset as you enjoy a walk or a picnic.
The long wooden boardwalks stretch across the low-lying marshes and a small creek. The long boardwalks connect to various small islands, providing a sandy path for a few moments, before the next long boardwalk continues in a slightly different direction. One of the islands has a pier stretching out onto the water, giving visitors a place to fish, enjoy the scenery, or watch boats rush past.
The entire walk along the boardwalk takes less than twenty minutes, even at a leisurely pace. Take a chair or blanket with you; there are several places to access the sandy shores of the waterway. I usually advise people to keep their eyes up to enjoy the scenery and wildlife, but you also need to keep your eyes down for the hundreds of tiny fiddler crabs who scurry across the boardwalks in front of your stomping feet.
Along with some picnic tables surrounding the parking lot, the gardens is a great place to spend an evening. Bring some food and maybe a board game for the family. Don’t forget your binoculars to spot that blue heron or great egret resting in a tree. I’m sure you’ll find a reason to enjoy this natural escape, and if you don’t you’ll just have to come back again someday and give it a second chance like I did.
If you would like to see more photos of Vereen Memorial Gardens and Little River, please visit my photography website at http://photography.southeasterntraveler.com/South-Carolina/Little-River/
Address: 2250 SC-179, Little River, SC
Hours: 8am-5pm all week
Family Friendly: Very much.
Handicap Accessible: Sandy paths connect the wooden boardwalks, making it difficult for wheelchairs or walkers. Otherwise the paths are flat and easy to walk.
Getting There: The entrance to the gardens is kinda hidden and can be easy to miss. The only way to access the entrance is by driving northbound on Highway 17 through North Myrtle Beach. Stay in the right lane. When you see the South Carolina Welcome Center on the left, take the very next right turn onto Sky View Road toward Calabash, NC. The entrance is immediately on the right through a gate.
Things to Know: Bring bug spray during the summer months.