Goat Island – Murrells Inlet, South Carolina

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People call this 20,000-square-foot island off the Marsh Walk in Murrells Inlet Goat Island (not to be confused with the Goat Island in Charleston County). The island sits just beyond Drunken Jack’s, one of the many restaurants found here in the Seafod Capital of South Carolina, and is also sometimes called Drunken Jack’s Island for that reason (not to be confused with Drunken Jack Island in Huntington Beach State Park). However, the more common moniker of Goat Island is fitting; if one looks closely at this dusk-drenched photo, goats can be seen looking out towards the water. Wait – goats?

Goat Island Murrells Inlet

Austin Bond of Murrells Inlet, 2014 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

For more than a quarter of a century, the owners of Drunken Jack’s restaurant have been keeping goats on this islet, which the restaurant also owns, during the warm-weather months. The goats naturally maintain the island’s vegetation and provide a spectacle for diners and strollers. They are cared for by restaurant employee and local celebrity Bubba Love, aka Jerome Smalls, who feeds and tends to the animals daily. Peacocks were added to the mix in recent years, and the unusual view from the half-mile long Marsh Walk, which takes folks through the ecology thriving within the Spartina alterniflora (otherwise known as marsh grass), has a lot of out-of-towners asking how in the world the creatures got there. The answer to the mystery is as simple as one of Drunken Jack’s famous hushpuppies.

Murrells Inlet Marsh Walk

Matt Trudeau of Murrells Inlet, 2015 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

The pirate flag signaling in the water in the top photo harkens to the inlet’s lore as a pirates’ cove, the winding channels of Murrells Inlet having once provided hiding spots for pirates ready to overtake cargo ships. The pirate theme is prevalent along the inlet, and not without reason. Rice was a hugely successful crop here in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, creating unimaginable wealth for planters. Ships carrying this Carolina Gold rice to England were vulnerable to pirates, who recognized the value of the export commodity. Rumors of pirate treasure abound along the coastline, inciting the imaginations of both children and adults – an idea not lost on local businesses.

The next time you visit Murrells Inlet, if a skull-and-crossbones flag waves to you from the distance, and you hear the shriek of a peacock and think you might possibly see farm animals on a small salty island, don’t wonder if you’ve been imbibing too much at Drunken Jack’s. What you are seeing is no illusion; it’s all part of the magic of Murrells Inlet.

Goat Island Info

Address: US Highway 17 Business, Murrells Inlet, SC 29576

Goat Island Map

Goat Island – Add Info and More Photos

The purpose of the South Carolina Picture Project is to celebrate the beauty of the Palmetto State and create a permanent digital repository for our cultural landmarks and natural landscapes. We invite you to add additional pictures (paintings, photos, etc) of Goat Island, and we also invite you to add info, history, stories, and travel tips. Together, we hope to build one of the best and most loved SC resources in the world!

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2 Comments about Goat Island

SCIWAYNo Gravatar says:
October 10th, 2014 at 8:16 am

Hi, Rob. Thanks for your comment. We have heard it called both, and the town refers to it as Drunken Jack’s Island – likely due to its connection to the restaurant – which is why we went with that moniker in the title. However, we do mention it also being called Goat Island and also point out the difference between this little spot of land and Drunken Jack Island at Huntington Beach State Park.

RobNo Gravatar says:
October 10th, 2014 at 7:25 am

Have lived here a long time but never heard anybody call this island Drunken Jack’s. It’s known as Goat Island to all the locals. Drunken Jack’s Island is closer to the jetties, behind Huntington Beach State Park.


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