For any tourist traveling to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina on Highway 501, this small church would be easy to miss. Next to this busy highway is the Travelers Chapel, a tiny place of rest and prayer.
The idea for this compact chapel came about when chiropractor Dr. Gaylord Kelly was traveling and discovered a small chapel on the side of the road in Washington state in the early 1970s. Thinking it was something that Conway should have, he and Baptist pastor Rev. Emory Young asked the community for support in building a chapel. In 1972, Young, his son Bruce, and volunteers constructed the chapel with funds from Kelly, local businesses, churches, and land donated from a local real estate company.
The quaint chapel measures 12 x 24 feet and can only seat 12 people on its 6 petite pews. It’s one of the smallest churches in the United States. The chapel is visited by locals, tourists, and students from nearby Coastal Carolina University. Besides a place of prayer, small weddings are often celebrated inside.
A prayer book is available for anyone to write down their thoughts and prayers. The prayers are collected each month and have been kept since the chapel’s beginnings. The chapel is maintained by volunteers and sometimes complete strangers.
Despite its small stature, it has survived fires, vandalism, falling trees, storms, and Hurricane Matthew.
Know Before You Go
The chapel is open 24/7 and is free to enter. No pets or smoking are allowed. Please note that the parking lot is also tiny.