South Carolina

Here are the best places to see 1,000 pound sea turtles near Myrtle Beach

Turtle off the Garden City Pier

A turtle eats a jellyfish off the Garden City Pier.
Up Next
A turtle eats a jellyfish off the Garden City Pier.

If you want to see some sea turtles along the Grand Strand, now's a good time.

Leatherback sea turtles — the world's largest — are back in local waters following food sources.

There have been "numerous" reports of leatherback sightings in Horry County and even at Huntington Beach State park in Georgetown County, according to Erin Weeks, media and communication coordinator with South Carolina Department of Natural Resources.

Here are the four types of sea turtles that are known to nest in South Carolina. Sea turtle nesting season lasts May 1 through October 31. Remember to turn your lights off on the beach!

South Carolina State Parks wrote in a Facebook post Tuesday that the 1,000 pound "beautiful beasts" have been seen from the Myrtle Beach State Park pier recently.

"Piers are great places from which to spot leatherbacks," Weeks said.

She added that piers give you a better shot at seeing the sea turtles than a dock or beach would.

Boaters are are urged to pay attention as they are out on the water due to the leatherbacks being endangered. Weeks said there were a number of incidents last year in Horry County where leatherbacks became entangled in crab pot float lines.

An injured Kemp's Ridley Sea Turtle — the most endangered species of sea turtle in the world — washed up on a Hilton Head beach Wednesday morning. Rescuers sent the turtle to Charleston Aquarium's Sea Turtle Hospital.

"We encourage everyone who spends time on the water to program our 24-hr wildlife hotline into their phones (1-800-922-5431) so they can report any sick, injured, or dead sea turtles they encounter — and oftentimes help save a life," Weeks said. "We really rely on beach-goers, boaters, and anglers to report these animals so that we can dispatch one of our biologists or volunteers to respond."

Local piers to look for sea turtles

  • Apache Pier in Myrtle Beach
  • Cherry Grove Pier in North Myrtle Beach
  • 14th Avenue Pier in Myrtle Beach
  • 2nd Avenue Pier in Myrtle Beach
  • Myrtle Beach State Park Pier
  • Garden City Pier

Michaela Broyles: 843-626-0281, @MichaelaBroyles

Related stories from The State in Columbia SC

  Comments