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Waties Island — Horry County, South Carolina

SC Picture Project  |  Horry County  |  Waties Island

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Waties Island

Waties Island (WAY-teez) is an undeveloped barrier island located just above of North Myrtle Beach, extending nearly three miles to the South Carolina/North Carolina border.

Waties Island Horry County

Meridith Grimsley of Greer, 2016 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

The island is named for William Waties, Jr., a tax collector and Indian trader who discovered and claimed the land in 1735.

There are several discrepancies regarding initial ownership, but the island was eventually acquired by Horace Tighlman, Sr. in 1920.

In 1995, Anne Tilghman Boyce bequeathed over 1,000 acres – about a third of the island – to Coastal Carolina University (1). She also gave the school roughly one-third of the peninsula that adjoins Waties, which is surrounded by Marsh Creek, the Little River Inlet, and the Intracoastal Waterway (1). This land is protected by a conservation easement held by the Nature Conservancy (1). Some of the island is still privately owned by the Tilghman family (1). The family has preserved and protected it for decades (1).

Waties Island: Our Sources

1. Jacqueline Boyce

Reflections on Waties Island

Contributor Meridith Grimsley says of her photo: “I have grown up going to Sunset Beach, North Carolina, and have spent many summers exploring the shores of Bird Island and had only seen Waties island from across Little River inlet. This time we decided to get as close as possible to the island (sans a boat), and this is how we ended up on the north end of Cherry Grove Beach. It was at dead low tide, and a thunderstorm was rolling in over the tops of the trees.”

Add your own reflections here.

Waties Island Info

Address: Off SC Highway 236, Near Little River, SC 29582
GPS Coordinates: 33.848784,-78.574734

Waties Island Map

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3 Comments about Waties Island

Jacqueline Boyce says:
October 13th, 2019 at 9:24 pm

One third of the peninsula adjoining Waties (surrounded by marsh creek, Little River Inlet, and the inland waterway) was given to Coastal Carolina University along with one third of Waties Island for marine and wetlands research and education by the family of Anne Tilghman Boyce following her dying wishes. It has conservation restrictions on it held by Nature Conservancy. Some of the island is still privately owned by the family who have sought to preserve and protect it for decades since its purchase in the 1920s by Horace Tilghman Sr., her father.

Rebecca Boyce Work says:
September 23rd, 2019 at 8:32 pm

Please correct the misspelling of Tilghman in the above piece. It is TILGHMAN not Tighlman. Hopefully this is a typo. I am the daughter of Anne Tilghman Boye and granddaughter of Horace L. Tilghman, Sr. Thank you for your attention.

Angie says:
August 4th, 2015 at 7:05 pm

I am a resident of NMB. Is there any way I can gain access to Waites Island beside taking a UTV or kayak tour? Is there anywhere I can obtain a pass to enter this property? Thanks.


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