Fourth of July Boat Parades in SC Offer Flotilla of Fun

By:Marie McAden


Parades have long been a part of American Fourth of July celebrations. Along with the traditional marching bands and flag-flying floats, South Carolina offers a waterfront version of the Main Street spectacle: the boat parade.

The mack daddy of them all is the Murrells Inlet Boat Parade, a mile-long flotilla of star-spangled vessels making their way along the coast of the historic seaside town. Some 130 boats typically participate in the coastal procession, featured on CBS This Morning as one of the best boat parades in America.

The boat parade in Murrells Inlet takes place every year at high tide, winding along the waterfront from Garden City Point, past the Marshwalk through Parsonage Creek and back to the starting point.

Along with the boats, docks along the passage are decked out in every manner of red, white and blue. Awards are presented to the most patriotic boats and docks.

Boat parade T-shirts are created each year featuring a new nautical design with a star-spangled twist. The $10 cost benefits the local Boy Scout troop. You can pick up one of the souvenir shirts at Bootys Outdoors, 3908 U.S. 17 Business.

One of the best places to watch the parade is along the Murrells Inlet Marshwalk a half-mile long boardwalk overlooking a pristine salt marsh. Good viewing spots also are available at Crazy Sister Marina and Belin United Methodist Church. All three locations offer plenty of parking.

The Midlands has its own annual Fourth of July fleet formation. The Lake Murray Boat Parade takes place on the 50,000-acre reservoir near Columbia and features dozens of boats cruising from Bomb Island to the Dreher Shoals Dam. Prizes are awarded for the boats most befitting the year’s theme.

For the best seat in the house, find a spot along the Lake Murray Pedestrian Walkway, a 1.7-mile paved pathway that crosses the Dreher Shoals Dam.

Both boat parades are followed in the evening with bodacious firework displays. For more information on the Murrells Inlet Boat Parade, click here. Or click here for details on the Fourth of July Celebration on Lake Murray.

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