One of the most anticipated bike trails on the Carolina coast is now two-thirds of the way to being completed with another five-mile section in the works.
Bike the Neck runs along U.S. 17 on the historic Waccamaw Neck
, a long, narrow peninsula tucked between the Atlantic Ocean and the Waccamaw River from just south of Myrtle Beach
to just north of the historic seaport of Georgetown
On a recent visit to Pawleys Island, I rode the completed section that starts on Carson Road in Murrells Inlet. Except on Sundays, you can park at the South Strand Assembly of God on the east side of the street.
The first four miles of the trail are bicycle lanes that run on each side of U.S. 17. If you want to skip most of the roadside section, you can park at Morris Park Landing and begin the ride there. Before you set off, be sure to check out the view of Murrells Inlet from the overlook.
One of the highlights of the trail comes at the bike bridge about a mile from Morris Park. It’s a gorgeous spot where the marsh comes right up to the road. If you happen to be riding at dawn, you’ll enjoy a spectacular sunrise over the water.
Just past the bridge, the trail enters the 2,500-acre Huntington Beach State Park
. Although it’s not all that far from the highway, you’ll feel like you’re miles from the traffic. The paved pathway winds through the maritime forest for three glorious miles.
If you’re traveling with children, I suggest you park at Huntington Beach State Park and bike in either direction. With the exception of a couple of side road crossings, you can let them ride with abandon and not have to worry about cars.
Admission to the park is $4, $3 for kids 6 to 15. The park features a nature center with a touch tank and lots of hands-on exhibits, three miles of beachfront and a freshwater lake where it’s not unusual to see alligators, a wide variety of birds and maybe even a mink.
The trail continues for another couple of miles past the park, crossing U.S. 17 at Willbrook Boulevard. It will be another year before the five-mile pathway is extended along Kings River Road.
Eventually, Bike the Neck will run a total of 18 miles to Hobcaw Barony
in Georgetown. The Waccamaw Neck Bikeway is part of the East Coast Greenway
, a 3,000-mile trail system being developed along the eastern seaboard from Maine to Florida.
For a map of the Bike the Neck trail, click here