The eastern side of South Carolina is known by locals as the Pee Dee Region, bisected by the Great Pee Dee River, and the Grand Strand where the Pee Dee reaches the Atlantic Ocean.
Eleven counties make up this area.
Part of the ancient ocean floor, the coast and associated coastal plains have subtle but rich geographic variations: it is generally flat and sandy as it gently slopes toward the ocean. The deep woodlands intrigue botanists and birders; a patchwork of forests and fields captivate hunters and other outdoor enthusiasts; and black-water swamps and creeks intermingle with red rivers and high bluffs. Travelers are fascinated by the crossroads communities and the tree-lined roads, and they trace their ancestry back to the region – often counting their kin among Revolutionary War soldiers who fought with General Francis Marion.
It has continued to be one of the most productive agricultural areas in the state, even as farming practices have evolved over time. The long-time farm operations have kept intact some of the most notable rural landmarks. The layout of farm upon farm depend on the compatibility of surrounding land uses in order to continue traditional lifestyles, to protect the clean air, to reduce pressure on the water bodies, to alleviate the congestion on roads, to provide employment, and to sustain the distinctiveness of the region. The hubs of growth are Myrtle Beach on the Grand Strand and Florence at the intersection of interstates 95 and 20.
Eastern South Carolina provides travelers the amenities of urban centers and the authenticity of a largely undisturbed rural center. Come see for yourself!
A great resource on this subject is A River in Time by Suzanne Linder, available from Pee Dee Land Trust.
The Eastern SC Heritage Region has been developed to build heritage tourism connections across the northeastern part of the state. With the goal of providing more options for day trips for beach visitors, the region promotes sites to experience agriculture, arts and architecture, culinary, nature‐based, military, racing, and African American heritage. Golf courses, antique shops, farmers markets, and a BBQ Trail are also included in the program.
Nearly 100 sites are listed as special places, certified through this ESCHR program, along with 400 additional places not to miss.
The ESCHR is a pilot project of the SC Department of Parks, Recreation & Tourism and the Florence Convention & Visitors Bureau. It grew out of the 2006 Statewide Tourism Plan and the follow-on, a regional tourism development plan, published in 2009. The ESCHR moves the area's tourism efforts from plans to action, helping site managers prepare for more visitors and helping visitors find places they want to go.