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Fourth of July Boat Parades in SC Offer Flotilla of Fun

Marie McAden Marie McAden
A former staffer with The Miami Herald, Marie moved to SC in 1992. She is passionate about the outdoors, and enjoys exploring the state’s many natural treasures from the Lowcountry to the Upstate.
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People in boats with American flags on Lake Murray
Some 30 boats participate in the Lake Murray boat parade, part of a Fourth of July celebration that also includes a fireworks show over the water.

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.

Two of the most well-attended patriotic boat parades are in Murrells Inlet on the coast and on Lake Murray in the Midlands. Both are followed in the evening with bodacious firework displays.

Murrells Inlet Boat Parade

The Murrells Inlet Boat Parade flotilla includes more than 130 boats decorated in red, white and blue.

The Murrells Inlet Boat Parade, a mile-long flotilla of star-spangled vessels, makes its 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.

It 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. 

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.

For more information on the Murrells Inlet Boat Parade, click here.

Fourth of July Celebration on Lake Murray

The best place to watch the Lake Murray Fourth of July Boat Parade is from the 1.7-mile Dreher Shoals Dam or the SCE&G recreational areas adjacent to it.

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.

Click here for details on the Fourth of July Celebration on Lake Murray.

Marie McAden
A former staffer with The Miami Herald, Marie moved to SC in 1992. She is passionate about the outdoors, and enjoys exploring the state’s many natural treasures from the Lowcountry to the Upstate.