Established in 1997, the Waccamaw National Wildlife Refuge in Georgetown, South Carolina, has been protecting and managing diverse habitats and threatened species for nearly two decades. Home to migrating birds, fish, and forest wildlife, this 30,000-acre Refuge provides guests with the opportunity to get up-close and personal with the area’s native species and offers a variety of recreational activities throughout the year – and admission is free! The next time you visit the Grand Strand, be sure to take a trip to the Waccamaw National Wildlife Refuge and discover the unique plants and animals that make our area so special.
Spend a Day at the Waccamaw National Wildlife Refuge
An afternoon with the animals is the perfect way to get your kids out and about on your next vacation, and it’s just an hour away from Seaside Vacations! Here are some of the amazing things you’ll see at the Waccamaw National Wildlife Refuge.
1. Plants and Animals
The Waccamaw National Wildlife Refuge is comprised of diverse habitats that are home to a variety of native species. In the longleaf pine forests, guests will find century-old pine trees and may come across the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker, deer, black bear, red fox, and rare Venus fly trap plants. Or, visit the forested wetlands where you’ll see reptiles, amphibians, worms, snails, clams, shrimp, and crawfish, as well as predators like the endangered Swallow-tailed kite. Be sure to check out the freshwater tidal marshes, one of the most biologically productive ecosystems in the world that are home to high plant diversity, free-flowing coastal rivers, and wading birds.
2. Outdoor Recreation
From boating and fishing to hiking and photography, the Refuge truly has something for everyone to enjoy. Guests can spend the day admiring over 200 species of birds including owls, herons, storks, eagles, hawks, falcons, turkey, and many others along the trails, or cast a line in the hopes of catching largemouth bass, Redear sunfish, Chain pickerel, Bowfin, or catfish. In addition, The Cox Ferry Lake Recreation Area is a 325-acre property located on W. Cox Ferry Road that’s perfect for wildlife viewing and offers the public three miles of nature trails, a mountain biking trail, boardwalk, kiosks, and a weather shelter with picnic tables.
3. Education Center
Located in the visitor center overlooking the Great Pee Dee River and Yauhannah Lake, the Refuge’s state-of-the-art environmental education center offers trail maps, bird checklists, and hunting and fishing information, and houses an exhibit hall, auditorium, and nature store. There are also great opportunities for children, including hands-on learning, outdoor classrooms, and interpretive exhibits, as well as educational programs that cover subjects like reptiles, invasive species, freshwater ecology, water quality, and more.
Stay With Seaside Vacations
After a visit to the Waccamaw National Wildlife Refuge, head back to one of our North Myrtle Beach vacation rentals and spend the rest of the afternoon on the white-sand beach, then enjoy dinner at one the area’s incredible restaurants. No matter where the day takes you, we promise a trip to the Refuge will make your vacation to the Grand Strand one you’ll never forget!
For more information on free Myrtle Beach activities, download our vacation guide.
Photo Credit: AngelaLouwe | Thinkstock