Hurl Rock, or Hurl Rocks, or The Hurl Rocks, or Hearl Rock(s), or The Indigo Rock(s)…

If you know what I’m talking about already, you are one of a dwindling number!

When I was a young thang visiting Myrtle Beach, we would usually stay at the Swamp Fox Motor Inn, which was just a short walk (south) from what I always knew as “Hurl Rock.”  This was a large (I’m estimating half-a-football-field’s-worth) grouping of slippery black/grayish mossy rocks which protruded unevenly from the sand;  the tallest ones were not much more than a foot off the ground.  They went maybe 20 or 30 yards out into the ocean, so at low tide some people would wade out and fish from them.  At high tide, they were not visible.  Climbing on them was slippery business.  Across the street was a Hurl Rock Motel, and out on Kings Highway (U.S. 17) was (I think) a Hurl Rock Mini-Golf (or some similar name).  Anyway, this little area, not more than a couple of blocks square, was known informally as Hurl Rock.  The original name had been “Hearl” (an Horry County surname), but was later changed to the simplified spelling; so, even though the ocean does hurl itself against the rocks, and although a few people and small boats over the years have probably been hurled as well, this is not the reason for the name.  In fact, the rocks were at one time called the Indigo Rocks, probably because the area nearby was known for the cultivation of that plant (a motel called the Indigo Inn is still nearby). 

So…imagine my surprise when, many years later, I asked a lifeguard in the area about Hurl Rock…and she had no idea what I was talking about!

Well, turns out it’s not her fault; the rocks were apparently covered up during a beach renovation some years ago.  This is what they looked like in the 1970’s and 80’s: 

Photo undated.  Click to enlarge.

There is, indeed, a small city park in this area.  The next photo is a diagram of the ocean in the marked area (A through A’).

Click to enlarge.  The following chart shows the changes the shoreline has undergone from 1989 to 2007:

Apparently the rocks were covered over sometime in 1997 when the beach was “nourished” with extra sand.  Click for a larger view.

This plaque stands in the Hurl Rocks Park parking lot, Ocean Boulevard at 20th Avenue South.  When Bartram first discovered the rocks, they were as much as six feet tall, but were subsequently significantly eroded.

This sounds vaguely threatening… (Photo taken by yours truly in June of 2011.)

And finally, the name lives on in yet another way:



Filed under Rants and Musings

7 responses to “Hurl Rock, or Hurl Rocks, or The Hurl Rocks, or Hearl Rock(s), or The Indigo Rock(s)…

  1. Marisa

    It’s a bummer that they are gone, under the sand. I guess eventually a hurricane will come along and uncover them again. BTW, The Perkin’s family were the original owners of the Hurl Rock Motel, and they bought it back when the people they sold it to in the 90’s trashed it out. 🙂 I’m staying there right now!

    • Hey, you’re at the beach! I’m envious. Thanks for explaining the sign; I’m glad the motel is being run by those who loved it once again…a real-life happy ending on the Grand Strand!! I’m thinking of doing a post on Withers Swash (it runs through the Family Kingdom amusement park) in the near future, so stay tuned. I am intrigued by the history of this area, so familiar yet so unknown. By the way, you might want to see my post on the bomb which was accidentally dropped near Florence, SC! I think you can get it by just searching “bomb.”

  2. I grew up playing on those rocks.I lived at the Mystic Sea Motel. They were awesome.

  3. blake

    Awesome to read this and the explanation! Thanks for posting this! I’ve been looking online on my phone all week, and my wife just found this, as she thought i was crazy when just a few minutes ago, I was about to go buy some goggles and swim out to find the rocks! Lol. I’ve been wondering where they went all week. I’m just up the way from the hurl rocks as we speak, came here for vacation, really for a bit of “nostalgia.” I grew up staying at the Firebird Motor Inn in the 80’s and early 90’s, now gone, demolished, and the site of “Grand Atlantic,” a monster of a hotel. The Firebird was located adjacent the Hurl Rocks and Hurl Rock Park, directly across the street from the Hurl Rock Motel, which I have also stayed at way back when. Wow, this place has changed. Glad others remember.

  4. Jeff

    I remember climbing all over the rocks and looking for crabs at low tide. I went this year (2012) and to my astonishment they were gone 😦 as was the Pavilion. Not the same Myrtle Beach I remember growing up

  5. Leslie

    Amy, Thank you so much for this! I am staying at Ocean Park hotel over the Thanksgiving holiday and got up early this morning to walk to the rocks at low tide. I couldn’t find the rocks I knew as a child! I asked around and no one knew what I was talking about. Someone suggested that the rocks had been removed???!!! I found a photo of me as a teenager in 1992 standing on the rocks; I wish I could post it on this message board. I hate that they decided to cover the rocks, they were always an interesting land mark. Again, Thank you posting this, I thought I was in the Twilight Zone for a minute.

  6. Just read your post. My family enjoyed many a summer at the old Swamp Fox Motor Inn!! I remember when it just had ONE pool!! Over the years it had THREE – and the Francis Marion Room over the restaurant was great on a rainy day!! And HOW WE LOVED to go down to the rocks at low tide and find all sorts of interesting sea creatures (I even brought home a sea urchin one year and really stunk up the car on the ride back – you know, before cars were air conditioned). Thanks so much!!!

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