Dolphins and sea turtles aren’t the only marine life being spotted these days on the coast of South Carolina. The elusive and mysterious mermaid is popping up in some of the state’s most popular beach towns—and visitors are getting a chance to meet and greet the mythical sea-dwelling sirens in all their aquatic glory.
Here are six mermaid experiences you won’t want to miss:
Mermaid of Hilton Head
Hop aboard the Carolina Snowball (named after Beaufort’s legendary white dolphin) and venture into the waters surrounding Hilton Head Island in search of Nina the Mermaid. On your way to her favorite swimming spots, you’ll learn about her oceanic friends and what you can do to protect local sea creatures and their fragile environment. The excitement grows when Nina is seen swimming among the marsh islands in Skull Creek. The friendly siren of the sea loves to swim up to the side of the boat to talk with guests and answer questions. But things get tense when Professor Algae shows up in a small motor boat to capture the mermaid. As he circles around the Carolina Snowball, children on the tour are handed dolphin bubble sprayers to scare him off.
Ripley’s Aquarium of Myrtle Beach
Watch mermaids swim among stingrays in the aquarium’s 85,000-gallon Ray Bay exhibit. The dive shows are held at 12, 3 and 5 p.m. in the summer months. You can also meet the mermaids and take photos with them at 10:30 a.m., 12:30 and 3:30 p.m. Both programs are included in the price of admission. For an extra special treat, join the mermaids for breakfast and story time, get a “shell-fie” with a mermaid and take home a mermaid craft. The Mermaid Breakfast Buffet includes admission to the aquarium following the event.
Mermaid Adventure Swim, North Myrtle Beach
Learn to swim like a mermaid (or merman) in this one-hour program held at a dozen Myrtle Beach resorts or in your condo or private pool. After you’re fitted for a tail, available in children and adult sizes, you’ll be taught how to swim with a tail, perform hand stands, twirls and other mermaid tricks, play underwater games and pose for photos. Photo shoots at the beach also are available.
Myrtle Beach Mermaids
Experience the glamour of life under the sea without getting wet. With the help of a mermaid, you’ll get the full dazzle treatment—makeup, hair style, top and tail, accessories and jewelry—to transform into a beguiling mermaid for a professional photo shoot on the beach. Pose by yourself or with your new mermaid bestie.
You’ll feel like you’re in a pirate’s ship from the moment you walk up the gangplank into this Myrtle Beach restaurant/attraction. Along with a 105-foot wooden sailing ship buffet and servers dressed like pirates, the restaurant features a 10,000-gallon indoor pool where mermaids perform flips and hand out shiny trinkets. These darlings of the sea are happy to pose for photos with their adoring fans, too.
Pirates Voyage Dinner & Show, Myrtle Beach
Ahoy matey! Join Captain Blackbeard and his swashbuckling crew as he goes searching for Davey Jones’ sunken treasure in this exciting adventure show complete with two full-sized pirate ships, a 15-foot-deep indoor lagoon, sword fights and blazing cannons. The thrilling acrobatic feats include four mermaids who hang from an anchor line performing aerial tricks to an original song written by Dolly Parton before diving into the water and swimming away.