I liveaboard in Georgetown currently, had boat in Little River prior, have lived most my life in this area.
Little River: No 'inshore' sailing at all up in LR, unless you have a dinghy, or it is the off-season and you can catch a westerly to push you down (up) the ICW towards LR Inlet. It's an easy inlet with a good yet relatively remote/quiet anchorage just inside the jetties. That's in the creek to the N, behind Bird Island, where Nudity is an allowed thing (FYI: This is an area highly populated by retirees. You have been warned.). You have to motor ~5 miles to get to the Inlet from most of the local marinas.
The good thing about LRI is that it is close enough (~30 miles) to Southport/Cape Fear River mouth that you can get there easily in a daysail, and motor back on the Ditch in an easy day as well because usually the wind and seas are contrary to doing that offshore. Very shallow here offshore in the Carolinas, windswell gets to 4' and square fast in 18-20 knots, it'll beat the snot outta ya when you try to go SW. So, an ICW return it is, almost always.
Also, in Southport, over Halloween weekend, is the Stede Bonnet Regatta. HUGE fun. Been a while since I attended but there were only 4 Rules then: 1) had to have entrance form in by the end of Capt's Meeting (where they pour you free Bloody Mary's), 2) Must leave marks to starboard, 3) Cap't and Crew must dress like pyrates, and 4) No Potato Guns (ever since Provisions Co. restaurant lost a large plate glass window to an errant spud).
The marinas in LR are protected enough that they should serve as good 'cane holes if they let you stay in there. Not sure if they do.
Georgetown/Winyah Bay: Not many sailors, no Yacht Club, but now that there is a youth program in the area, I think we'll start to see those numbers growing.
The Bay itself is large but has lots of shallows, that's not too much an issue as it is nearly all mud and the observant and clever skipper can usually unground themselves with some heeling and a 180. Tide runs 4-5', so if you draw 6' or under, most of the Bay is navigable until mid-tide ebbing, and there is enough water that you can still sail at low water. In fact, running aground at low tide is a good excuse to freshen drinks and relax for a bit, as the tide will float you off in not too long, generally, and there are no worries as you know that your boat hasn't been harmed by colliding with the pluff mud.
The whole area is surrounded by Wildlife Preserves and tens of thousands of acres of undeveloped land/delta, it is very scenic and pretty. It pays to invest in good and plentiful bug repellant, however. You will also learn about alligators. Insane fishing, if that is a consideration.
Charleston is 60 miles S (on the Ditch or outside), and it is 70 miles to Cape Fear in the N.
If - no, make that "when" - you need a hurricane hole, the rivers which feed the Bay provide plenty of opportunity to tuck away, and there are several marinas available too, although the big sportsfisherman are quick to tie up all the available dock space when storms approach. There is a yard with a TraveLift and another with a railway right in Georgetown, and both are DIY to a large extent if you want to.
It is ~12 miles from the marinas in the area out to the mouth of Winyah Bay if you want to go to the ocean. The entrance can get pretty amazingly hellacious in a NE'ster and with a strong ebb tide. There are big jetties there and depth is not an issue, but a relatively active bar inside right at the mouth is a "feature" that you'll learn to respect on opposing wind/tide situations. Currents can run at 4+ kts through there, at peak ebb/flow, and during warm months there can be almost congestion there twice daily when all the offshore fisherman leave at dawn or return at 5'ish in the evening.
Between LRI and the Socastee swing bridge (upriver/upICW some 30 miles from Winyah Bay), the area behind Myrtle Beach/the Grand Strand, is a giant ditch full of ski boats and waterroaches ("PWC"'s) and narrowness and a few overpriced, stagnant-water marinas, as tacky and unrelentingly overdeveloped and "blech" as described above, an area that most sane people avoid like the plague.
All in all, Georgetown is the best option, IMO and experience. If you are well-funded, check out Pawleys Island for a little less in the way of "redneck/country", and a bit more in the way of "snobbery/snootery", yet with only 10 minutes of highway travel to access the Georgetown/Winyah area.
Hope that helps.
On Edit: Offshore of both LRI and Winyah Bay, there are not any 'shoals' that require you to sail out 10 miles to get to sailing water. In fact, in most of this area it is deep enough that you can sail up to within ~100 yards of the beach before you'd start touching the sand bottom with a 6' draft, for instance.
There are some shoals off of Capes Romain and Fear, but they are far distant from these two entrances, and are well-marked on the charts.
And FWIW, I wouldn't buy a condo in this area south of Sunset Beach/Ocean Isle in NC, or north of Garden City Beach in SC. IOW, nowhere in the "Grand Strand" area between Surfside to North Myrtle Beach to Conway. Traffic *sucks* up there, and crime is rising fast. If you are a golfer, you might put up with those for that reason, but... ewwww.
My recommendation is to take a look around in Murrells Inlet, and Litchfield Beach/Pawleys Island. Pricier, but well worth it.
Last - there is a B40 tied up in Georgetown on the riverfront walk. It's been here for ~10 years, and sadly neglected after the first couple of years.