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Best driving route from I-95S (Raleigh) to Pawleys Island

NYC
Level Contributor
100 posts
71 reviews
Best driving route from I-95S (Raleigh) to Pawleys Island

We will be driving to Pawleys Island Labor Day weekend on I-95 South from Raleigh Area.

Lots of alternatives. Think best to avoid Myrtle Beach area?

Alt #1. Get off I-95S near Lumberton, NC and make our way to Conway, SC via I74 to NC 242 to SC 701/501 to Rt. 17 ( Shortest route by 5 minutes and miles) OR #2. Stay on Route 701 all the way to Georgetown, SC and swing back over to Pawleys Island ( 18 more miles & 20 minutes longer).

Another very plausible route could be to stay on I-95S into South Carolina pass "South of the Border" to Exit 181A - toward Latta/Marion Rt. 38 to US 501S to Conway then to Rt. 17 Surfside (18 miles longer and 5 more minutes) or 701 toward Georgetown. Any thoughts?

8 replies to this topic
Pawleys Island SC
Destination Expert
for Pawleys Island, Murrells Inlet
Level Contributor
1,603 posts
150 reviews
1. Re: Best driving route from I-95S (Raleigh) to Pawleys Island

I can't tell you what's best, but I'll tell you what we do. On weekends, and particularly holiday weekends, we avoid Conway at all costs. We make frequent trips to Winston-Salem, so we're coming at it from a different angle, but we're taking Hwy 38 from Bennettsville NC, over I-95, so that's the common point. We started taking a back route during busy times, and have liked it so much it has become our standard route. It's a few miles further and theoretically a little longer, but our experience has been it's easier, less crowded, and usually less time.

The best way to describe it is to set your GPS (or Google Maps) from Raleigh to Johnsonville, SC. This will keep you on I-95 until Hwy 38/501 near Latta, then leaving Hwy 501 just South of Marion onto Hwy 41. From Johnsonville, follow your GPS/Google Maps to Pawleys. This will continue you on Hwy 41, to left on Hwy 51, to right on Hwy 701 at Georgetown, to left on Hwy 17 into Pawleys. It's easier to drive than it is to describe. :-)

NYC
Level Contributor
100 posts
71 reviews
2. Re: Best driving route from I-95S (Raleigh) to Pawleys Island

Thank you! I mapped it out and looks like an interesting backroads route. Avoid a lot of traffic.

Brookneal, Virginia
Level Contributor
1,740 posts
99 reviews
3. Re: Best driving route from I-95S (Raleigh) to Pawleys Island

I'll second that route that Pawleys Dude detailed.

It's quiet and pastoral, and a real slice of life outside the interstate corridors.

A real peaceful drive.

If you love BBQ and want a real treat, Scott's BBQ is near Hemingway (south of Johnsonville) and maybe a mile off the route. https:/…scotts-bar-b-que-hemingway

They're closed on Sunday, of course.

And if you've never been, Georgetown is a real pretty little town with a lovely historic homes district and shopping area downtown on the waterfront.

NYC
Level Contributor
100 posts
71 reviews
4. Re: Best driving route from I-95S (Raleigh) to Pawleys Island

JT - Thanks for seconding the PawleysDude's route. Another local also said to take Hwy 41 to Hwy 51 to Hwy701 to Georgetown then Route-17. Yes, we plan a day in Georgetown, too.

NYC
Level Contributor
100 posts
71 reviews
5. Re: Best driving route from I-95S (Raleigh) to Pawleys Island

The I-95 South to Hwy 38/501 Latta to Hwy 501 onto Hwy 41 then left on Hwy 51 right on Hwy 701 to Georgetown to Hwy 17 to Pawleys route was great. NO TRAFFIC on Labor Day weekend in September 2017. It was off season down there. Only thing, make sure to make a pit stop near I-95. There were long stretches of nothing, When there was food, all fast food, gas stations few. We stopped at Wendy's in Marion on E. Hwy. 76. You do need to pay attention, we were confused by Alt. Hwy 41 and Hwy 41. Coming back we made a wrong turn somewhere, and ended up in downtown Marion. We never figured out what we did wrong but got back on track. You definitely see another part of the south, very small towns, some down and out. We enjoyed Hopsewee Plantation, Rice Museum & Shop in Georgetown, Brookgreen Gardens and Pawleys Tavern. Labor Day is off season down there unlike up north were it is pretty busy travel time, so traffic was light. We left before the hurricane, too! Thanks to Pawleys Dude and JT for your help

Recommended Route from Pawleys Dude

The best way to describe it is to set your GPS (or Google Maps) from Raleigh to Johnsonville, SC. This will keep you on I-95 until Hwy 38/501 near Latta, then leaving Hwy 501 just South of Marion onto Hwy 41. From Johnsonville, follow your GPS/Google Maps to Pawleys. This will continue you on Hwy 41, to left on Hwy 51, to right on Hwy 701 at Georgetown, to left on Hwy 17 into Pawleys. It's easier to drive than it is to describe. :-)

Pawleys Island SC
Destination Expert
for Pawleys Island, Murrells Inlet
Level Contributor
1,603 posts
150 reviews
6. Re: Best driving route from I-95S (Raleigh) to Pawleys Island

Hi Alice - Glad y’all enjoyed your visit and glad the route worked out. I don’t recall the weather from Labor Day, but much of out typical Labor Day crowd is from the nearby regions who drive in and make a last minute call based on weather. Labor Day weekend can be very busy. Of course, it often feels like there is no longer any off season, but that’s a matter of perspective, I guess. :-)

Regarding the route - On the inbound trip, either Hwy 41 or alternate 41 will work fine since they merge a few miles after you leave Hwy 501. We take Alternate 41 so we can get off Hwy 501 as soon as possible, but it really doesn’t matter. Just a wild guess, but going back, I suspect you took Alternate 41, then made a left at the stop sign when you got to Hwy 501. In order to get on the 501 Bypass, you need to turn right at the stop sign, then another quick right onto Hwy 501 North Bypass. It’s easy to get off track at that point the first time. A close-up view of the intersection on Google Maps will help to explain.

Hope y’all get a chance to come back soon. We’ll leave a light on. :-)

Pawleys Island SC
Destination Expert
for Pawleys Island, Murrells Inlet
Level Contributor
1,603 posts
150 reviews
7. Re: Best driving route from I-95S (Raleigh) to Pawleys Island

^^^ OOPS! ^^^

I received a gentle reminder (thank you!) that the above directions are a little misleading. As you approach Marion on Hwy 501 from I-95, there is an earlier exit for Alternate Hwy 41. Do not take this exit! It will lead you into downtown Marion.

The simplest way is to stay on Hwy 501 Bypass until it merges again with Hwy 501 Business headed toward Myrtle Beach. In a few miles after that, take the Hwy 41 exit to Johnsonville/Hemingway.

It's also possible to exit Hwy 501 Bypass near the end of the bypass by taking the exit marked "Hwy 501 Business" to Marion and Florence. Then at the traffic light, continue straight ahead onto Alternate 41, which will take you to Johnsonville. If you decide on this route, it's helpful to take a peek at Google Maps ahead of time.

Sorry 'bout that.

NYC
Level Contributor
100 posts
71 reviews
8. Re: Best driving route from I-95S (Raleigh) to Pawleys Island

Pawleys Dude - Thanks again. Made for a memorable drive for this Northerner! The weather was warm and sunny. Mostly, people from the area!

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