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Conway

You probably drive past Conway – on U.S. 501 – on the way to the Grand Strand. Next time, plan to stop there and stretch your legs. Conway ( www.cityofconway.com) is one of the oldest towns in South Carolina (1734) and it has worked to hang on to its gems, including an 1820s-vintage city hall.

The quaint center city is worth walking: Enough “old” Conway remains to merit a chunk of the downtown being designated a National Historic District. But what makes the town great for leg-stretching is the River Walk, which starts downtown below the bluff and follows the scenic and slow-moving blackwater Waccamaw. The 1.75-mile walkway starts under the U.S. 501 Business bridge, among a series of Gothic-looking arches and cast-iron lamp posts. It continues on paved paths or planking to the riverfront park, marina and the Conway Arboretum. Along the way you’ll encounter picnic areas, a fountain, a gazebo and playgrounds. There’s fishing along the river bank (S.C. license required) for bluegill and bream.

You’ll also pass Conway Kayak Company ( www.conwaykayak.com), where you can rent a kayak. The company also offers three-hour guided paddling tours on the river’s blazed Blueways Trail. Get a Blueways map at the marina store.

Capt. Jim’s Scenic River Tours ( www.rivermemories.org) is also at the marina. The quiet River Memories ship (it’s electric-powered) can take you on one of several 90-minute river or swamp cruises, for $15 a passenger.

If you have a bike, venture up to 25.4 miles inland from the marina on one of Conway’s designated and marked cycling loop trails. Get a bike-route map at city hall, 229 Main St.

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