Atalaya Castle (Murrells Inlet, SC)

Seeking Myrtle Beach's Grand Strange is a ten-part series by author Jim MacKenzie where he visits and writes about strange attracti...

Seeking Myrtle Beach's Grand Strange is a ten-part series by author Jim MacKenzie where he visits and writes about strange attractions in the Myrtle Beach area. In this installment, MacKenzie visits Atalaya Castle.

Atalaya Castle looks out of place along the coast of South Carolina.

It was designed to mimic a large, Spanish fort.

But the castle wasn't constructed as a military outpost.

Built over a few years beginning in 1931, it was the winter home and studio of scholar, poet, and businessman Archer Milton Huntington and his wife, the famous sculptor, Anna Hyatt Huntington.

Touring the home/castle costs only a few bucks. It became a state park during the 1960s and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1992.

It has since been gutted. All the rooms are now only brick and concrete with no amenities like furniture or plumbing. The ocean is a short stroll from the castle, and the crashing waves can be heard from many of the castle's opened windows.

You'll encounter bear pits, which seem like a strange addition to a South Carolina home, but they did serve a purpose. The pits were used to hold the bears that would soon pose as the sculpting subjects of Anna.

Atalaya is Spanish for watchtower, and yes, there is one located at the center of the grounds.

Across the street, the giant sculpture garden of Anna's creations can be toured for an additional fee.

The cool breezes wafting through the castle's many opened windows helps make the castle a great place to stroll around lazily for an afternoon.

What To Know Before You Go

GPS Coordinates: (33.50190954806445, -79.0675286878039)
Location: Atalaya Rd, Murrells Inlet, SC
Jim MacKenzie lives in Asheville, comfortably hidden away in the mountains of Western North Carolina. He's appeared in Bride of the Monster Serial, a horror compilation book about forgotten monster movies. Jim enjoys writing about authors, especially regional, and researching literary history. He enjoys the strange and the uncanny, but never both together. That's just overwhelming. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, playing music, and travel.


South Carolina 8760595566468071919

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Strange Carolinas is the Travelogue Of The Offbeat, a wry look at the interesting, unique, and offbeat roadside attractions, people, music, art, food, and festivals in North and South Carolina.


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