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Loggerhead sea turtle hatchling moving towards the waves

5 Things to Know About Sea Turtle Nests in South Carolina

Along the Waccamaw Neck: Murrells Inlet, Litchfield Beaches, Pawleys Island, and Georgetown, South Carolina. One of the many delights the beautiful beaches of the South Carolina offer are the sea turtles! Sea turtle nests in South Carolina are a special part of our local communities. If you ever get the chance to encounter these amazing creatures along our shores whether you see adult or hatchlings, here are some important things to remember.


orange protective sign indicating loggerhead sea turtle nest in South Carolina

1. When is South Carolina’s Nesting Season?

As vacationers flock to the sun-kissed shores of South Carolina, another group of travelers makes its annual journey to our coastal haven: sea turtles. With the arrival of warmer weather, these creatures embark on their nesting pilgrimage. Sea turtle nesting season in South Carolina spans from May to October. While nesting activity begins in May, it reaches its pinnacle between June and August, offering enthusiasts the best chance to witness this remarkable spectacle.


hatchling loggerhead seat urtle in the shallow waves of the ocean

2. What species of sea turtles nest in South Carolina?

There are seven species of sea turtles you may see in the waters of South Carolina. Adult or juvenile sea turtle species you can see include Loggerhead, Leatherback, Green, Olive Ridley, Kemp’s Ridley, Hawksbill, and Flatback sea turtles. By far, the most common sea turtle nest found in South Carolina are Loggerheads! Green sea turtle nests can also be found along the beaches of South Carolina.


Pawleys Island beach at dusk

3. Lights Out: Why minimizing artificial lights along the shore is important.

To protect the success of sea turtle nests in South Carolina, dimming beach lights during nesting season is crucial for guiding the hatchlings safely to the ocean. These turtles rely on natural light cues to navigate their journey, but artificial lights can disrupt their behavior and lead them astray, endangering their survival. By minimizing the artificial light we shine on the beach, we help promote the successful migration of sea turtle hatchlings from nest to sea. Bright lights along the beach will also prevent female sea turtles from laying their eggs, sending them to search for alternative areas.


Four hatchling loggerhead sea turtles on the beach of South Carolina

4. How many sea turtle hatchlings are in a nest?

Loggerhead sea turtle nests in South Carolina are the most prevalent species in the region. When these magnificent creatures come ashore to lay eggs, they craft nests around 18 inches deep, typically nestled in the soft sands near the dunes and above the high tide line for protection. Each nest contains approximately 120 eggs, and after incubating for about 60 days, the hatchlings emerge at night, commencing their remarkable journey into the ocean. Loggerhead sea turtles live around 70 – 80 years! Read more about the lifecycle of the loggerhead sea turtle!


Protected sea turtle nest in South Carolina

5. S.C.U.T.E: South Carolina United Turtle Enthusiasts

Discover the coastal chapters of S.C.U.T.E. (South Carolina United Turtle Enthusiasts), a remarkable organization comprising dedicated volunteers committed to safeguarding the nesting sea turtles of South Carolina. Their mission involves preserving turtle habitats, shielding eggs from predators, and vigilant nest monitoring. Their efforts yield invaluable resources, including hatchling counts and public education initiatives aimed at raising awareness about these fascinating creatures. Peace Vacations proudly serves as the corporate sponsor of DeBordieu-Prince George-Hobcaw S.C.U.T.E.

Stay up to date with Pawleys Island’s chapter of S.C.U.T.E, and attend a public inventory to learn more about these nests!