You don’t have to travel to the mountains or the distant tropics to enjoy an exciting outdoor adventure. Why not give a few of these off-the-beaten-path Grand Strand pursuits a try when entertaining your family or out-of-town guests this summer?
Gain a new appreciation for nature and local history by setting out on a slow paddle through the Tidelands of the Tupelo Swamp, Huntington Beach salt marshes, or the Sandy Island Nature Preserve with Black River Outdoors Center. Maritime forests and coastal creatures (otters, swamp canaries, sea turtles, bald eagles, endangered woodpeckers, migratory ducks) make this an unforgettable trip. Try a Full Moon Tour this summer, or any one of the half-day tours that begin in the morning. Each tour is led by an experienced guide.
Black River Outdoors Center, 21 Garden Avenue, Georgetown. $55 adults, $35 children under age 13. (843) 546-4840, www.blackriveroutdoors.com
Harness the wind and your inner wild child by learning this cutting-edge watersport, which pulls you across the waves on a small surfboard attached to a controllable kite. Considered an extreme watersport, advanced kiteboarders can jump twenty feet to more than a hundred feet. Novices can simply enjoy being propelled across the water at top speeds. A perfect adventure for the fast and the furious!
Sail & Ski Connection, 515 Highway 501, Myrtle Beach
$99 introductory lesson. (843) 626-7245, www.sailandskiconnection.com
Powerful enough to challenge the most seasoned sailor, yet easy enough for a beginner to enjoy, Hobie Cat sailing gets you on the water in an all-together unique way. Easy to launch and simple to beach, a Hobie Cat features a raised trampoline for dry, comfortable sailing and stability. Perfect for solo sailing, or rent a 14- or 16-foot Cat to bring the whole family along.
Downwind Watersports, 2915 Ocean Boulevard, Myrtle Beach. $65 per person, lessons available. (843) 448-7245, www.downwindsailsmyrtlebeach.com
Get up close and personal with history by going on a shipwreck scuba dive. Sunken Navy attack planes, Army personnel carriers, and even a Civil War wreck are just off the coast and ready for exploring. These artificial reefs are brimming with loggerhead sea turtles, grouper, triggerfish, barracuda, and more. Although many dives are for novices, others of these two-tank trips are for advanced divers only. If you don’t have a diver card, invest in some classes. This is one underwater experience that’s out of this world!
Express Watersports, 4042 Highway 17 Business, Murrells Inlet. $50-$175, half-day and full-day dives. (843) 357-3337, www.expresswatersports.com