You’ve got your beach chair, Bocce ball set and sand bucket. Ready for some fun in the sun? Good. Build that sandcastle, catch some rays, play a few games, then plan to experience the great coastal outdoors in new and unexpected ways. The sky is truly the limit when it comes to outdoor activities on the Grand Strand – the gear and guidance you need are always at your fingertips. All you need to do is pick your pastime and bring a sense of adventure.
Water fun – it’s a given when you choose to vacation on the Grand Strand. Once your boogie board has lost some of its enchantment, there are plenty of adventures to whet your appetite for something new, with or without an adrenaline rush. Rental services have everything you need to make the Atlantic Ocean and area waterways your oyster for jet skiing, surfing, kayaking, parasailing, windsurfing and more. Most offer multiple watersport activities and have experts on staff to ensure your safety and enjoyment.
Of the many things you might do during your stay, a guided dolphin tour on Jet Skis is bound to be memorable. Action Watersports in North Myrtle Beach is one operation offering this adventure. Skim the Waccamaw River on a wakeboard or paddleboard the calm waters of the Intracoastal Waterway, both courtesy of Myrtle Beach’s Island Adventures.
For boating with bite, hold on tight! Patriot Jet Boat in Myrtle Beach hits high speeds for a wet, wild, heart-thumping ride in the open waters of the Atlantic. While a banana boat zipping across the water is fun to watch, it’s even more of a thrill to be on board. Enjoy a rousing ride as well as other watersports at Crazy Sister Marina, or set sail 500 feet above the ocean while parasailing with Express Watersports. This Murrells Inlet outfitter also offers scuba diving charters and lessons.
Boating offers unparalleled opportunities for seeing the Grand Strand from its most magnificent vantage point. Sit back and let your eyes drink in the beauty of the ocean and other waterways on a boat manned by a seasoned crew. Enchanted Sailing Charters is one of several operations offering half-day, full-day or sunset excursions.
Exploring the waterways of the Lowcountry is one of the best ways to appreciate the diversity of the Grand Strand. If an ecotour holds special allure for you, Explorer Cruises can help you discover the natural marine beauty of the Grand Strand. Likewise, Blue Wave Adventures offers dolphin cruises aboard the Osprey, a state-of-the-art power boat. Rover Tours in Georgetown will take you through the picturesque Winyah Bay for shelling, wildlife observation or a “pirate” adventure. A guided tour down the Black River likewise showcases the mystery and beauty of the region. Offered by Black River Outdoors in Pawleys Island, these excursions fill up quickly, so make a reservation early.
Dangle a line from a pier, cast from the surf, go crabbing or reel in the “Big One” from the deck of a deep-sea fishing boat – whatever your angling style, the perfect fishing spot awaits you on the Grand Strand. Myrtle Beach piers are bustling fishing hubs, luring both seasoned and novice anglers of all ages. Outfitted with cleaning stations and seats for leisurely sport, these family-friendly piers can be found on several area beaches. Some feature cafes, arcades and live music at night, as well as gear rental and bait sales. Most charge a modest access fee, which includes your fishing permit. The most popular spots for pier fishing include Springmaid Beach, Garden City, Surfside and Cherry Grove, where a 1,780-pound tiger shark catch snagged a world record. Even if you don’t fish, the fishing action is fun to watch and the panoramic views are glorious.
For the ultimate in saltwater fishing, charter a boat and plumb the deep seas. Fisher of Men is one of many Little River charter services through which you can secure half-day, full-day and offshore fishing excursions. In North Myrtle Beach, Voyager Fishing Charters offers 24-hour fishing trips as well as half-day and full-day trips. Fly Girl Fishing Charters in Murrells Inlet, a favorite of families, will outfit you and your brood with gear, fishing permits and the promise of a good fishing day. They’ll even clean your catch for you, a nice touch for the squeamish.
Crabbing is a popular outdoor pastime in Myrtle Beach, with most piers offering opportunities for a decent catch. You can also lower your baskets from the many low bridges or small piers crossing tidal rivers, such as the ones in Murrells Inlet. Note that crabbing from these areas requires a fishing license.
A Little Bit of Everything
Myrtle Beach State Park and Huntington Beach State Park are beacons for outdoor enthusiasts. Whether you camp or do a day visit, you’ll find a wealth of activities to enjoy solo or with a group. In addition to fishing and crabbing (both of which require a fishing license), these parks are hotspots for bird-watching, especially during spring and fall migrations. Huntington Beach, in particular, is renowned for having one of the most abundant and diverse bird populations in the Southeast, so bring your binoculars and expect a rich experience. Biking and hiking trails also appoint both parks and offer opportunities for observing the natural habitat. Take the Sculptured Oak Nature Trail at Myrtle Beach State Park to see a rare maritime forest.
Huntington Beach has an interpretive trail as well as boardwalks that enable you to observe the salt marshes and freshwater lagoon, where it’s not unusual to see a gator or two. Additionally, Myrtle Beach State Park has equestrian trails open November through February. Bring your own horse, but be prepared to leave by park closing as horses are not accommodated overnight. Special charges apply, so call ahead for info. If you’re in the North Strand, visit Little River’s Vereen Memorial Gardens, where you can spend hours meandering the nature trails, three of which have boardwalks with peaceful views of the salt marsh and Intracoastal Waterway. The trails are short and easy to manage, so your excursions will seem less like hiking and more like a pleasant stroll beneath the majestic live oaks. But that’s how we roll along the Grand Strand.