Yes, the Atlantic Ocean and our inland waterways, both manmade and natural, are beautiful to look at, but they offer so much more when engaged with directly. From leisurely trips to the beach with a cooler, blanket and a paperback to adrenaline inducing high-speed jet boat trips to deep sea fishing charters or serene kayaking on ancient black rivers, there’s a way with which to connect to the area’s most cherished and abundant asset—our H2O.
Underdog Sport Fishing Charters
Murrells Inlet MarshWalk
For now there’re still plenty of fish in the sea, especially as we are more cognizant of the impact of overfishing and pay attention to seasonal limits and environmentally sound practices. With Captain Shawn Thomas and his 37-foot sport fishing boat, The Underdog, choose from 12-hour Gulf Stream trips, and 3-, 5- and 8-hour near shore and off shore trips. Enjoy the fact that the crew will clean and pack your fish on ice at the conclusion of your expedition. BYOB and bring your own empty cooler for fish. underdogsportfishing.com
Little River Fishing Fleet
North Strand Locations
Departing from Little River and Calabash, the 30-year-old Little River Fishing Fleet operates multi-passenger head boats in the day and evening, private half-day charters for 6 to 30 people, and off shore and Gulf Stream trips for 6 to 8 people. littleriverfleet.com
Since 1948, the Hurricane Fleet has mixed commercial fishing with sport fishing and has grown to include two head boats and seven private charter vessels. With this many boats in the water, captains relay information via private channel radio and guide each other to the “hot spots.” Half-day, all-day, night fishing, off shore and Gulf Stream trips are available. hurricanefleet.com
From the historic Georgetown waterfront, you’ll ride aboard the ultra comfortable 52-foot Hatteras Sportfisherman in the fully air-conditioned cabin. Or you can opt to watch the sun rise on the deck outside in the fresh air on your way to the Gulf Stream, where wahoo, three varieties of tuna, mahi mahi and other big fish await. BYOB and snack.georgetowncharters.com
In 1972, Kawasaki introduced the first commercially available personal watercraft, calling it a “Jet Ski.” Though the name is still licensed to Kawasaki, it’s become synonymous with just about all personal watercraft. They’ve gotten more powerful and sophisticated and offer even more fun and utility than the original models. In fact, they’re ridiculously fun, and with a little training and proper precautions, relatively safe. Jet Ski rentals are available at countless locations along the entire length of the Grand Strand.
Island Water Adventures
Cricket Cove Marina, Little River
Among the closest rental locales to favored party spot Bird Island, a Jet Ski trip along the Intracoastal Waterway out to the edge of the Little River Inlet with a 1- or 2-hour rental is easy and fun. The minimum age is 18 years and no experience is required. islandwateradventures.com
Myrtle Beach Watersports
North Myrtle Beach, Myrtle Beach, Intracoastal Waterway
Whether planning a Jet Ski dolphin sightseeing expedition, a wet-n-wild full speed fun run or a more peaceful backwater trip, Myrtle Beach Watersports has an option originating from three Grand Strand locales. Guided cruises and self-guided do-your-own-thing trips (plus Sea Screamer, Sea Thunder and Pirate Cruises) await the fun-seeking staycationer. myrtlebeachwatersports.com
Murrells Inlet MarshWalk
Express Watersports has left no stone unturned or tidal pool unexplored. From scuba trips to kayak and pontoon rentals to parasailing and sunset cruises, you’ll find just about everything under the watersports umbrella covered. For Jet Skiing in and around Murrells Inlet, locals and visitors turn to Express Watersports for their experience, eco-tours, brand new equipment and open ocean or calm water inlet riding. expresswatersports.com
As much fun as powered watersports can be, sometimes it’s best to leave the motors behind and go self-powered with the ultimate back to nature, easy to learn watersports—kayaking and paddleboarding. Despite the ancient histories of these modes of transportation dating back to Hawaiian, Polynesian and Inuit peoples, today’s modern equipment is readily available, tough and can be inexpensive. New kayaks can be purchased for under $150. Paddleboards start around $250. If you’re not ready to make a purchase, you’ll find expert instruction and rentals all along the Grand Strand.
Murrells Inlet MarshWalk
Express Watersports also offers scenic kayak tours through the creeks and estuaries of Murrells Inlet, where you’ll encounter a wide variety of wildlife. One-person and two-person kayaks are available by the hour or half-day. Guided sunrise tours are a favorite. expresswatersports.com
J&L Kayak Ecoventures
Along the North Strand, J&L Kayak offers a half-dozen guided tours to barrier islands, scenic backwaters and the Waccamaw River, as well as Twilight Tours and a Crabbing Adventure. For single riders or tandem two-person kayaks, J&L rents, sells and instructs guided tours on kayaks and paddleboards seven days a week. jandlkayaking.com
Black River Outdoors
Offering guided eco-tours, fishing trips and more along the inland waterways around Georgetown, Murrells Inlet and Myrtle Beach, Black River Outdoors features knowledgeable guides and naturalists concerned with your enjoyment and safety. Choose from the Cypress Swamp Tour along the Waccamaw River, the 2-hour Salt Marsh Tour in Murrells Inlet or a Georgetown Harbor History Tour in the early evening. blackriveroutdoors.com
Being this close to water means that boat ownership is a dream of many. Those who want a boat but don’t want the hassle that comes with it might contemplate an alternative when outright ownership won’t work.
Freedom Boat Club
Area locations include North Myrtle Beach, Murrells Inlet, Mt. Pleasant and Southport, N.C.
The nation’s largest boat club, Freedom Boat Club takes the hassle out of boating. They’ve rewritten the old joke as, “The two happiest days in a boater’s life are the day they sell their boats and the day they join the Freedom Boat Club.” A clever system of boat sharing, large, new fleets and guaranteed reservations mean that members have the access to what they want, when they want it, plus free mandatory safety training and boats at all the clubs in the 175+ locations in the U.S. Choose from sailboats, fishing boats, bowriders, pontoon boats and more. freedomboatclub.com
PHOTOS BY BOBBY ALTMAN AND COURTESY OF MYRTLE BEACH WATERSPORTS AND BLACK RIVER OUTDOORS