Want to explore the Grand Strand’s waters? These tours go from the ocean to marshes

·5 min read

Most people who come to the Grand Strand spend most of their time on the beach, lounging in the sun and maybe taking a waist-deep dip into the ocean.

But there are more opportunities to take advantage of one of the area’s best feature – its waters – by checking out some of the tours that will take you out into the ocean or along the rivers and channels of the Intracoastal Waterway.

Here’s some of the tours offered.

Explore beauty of river, channels

People may come to the Grand Strand for the ocean, but don’t discount taking in the beauty of the area’s rivers and channels.

Waccamaw River Tours offers participants a chance to explore by boat the cypress-lined Waccamaw River and the Intracoastal Waterway, including its creeks and swamps, in search of birds and other wildlife that live there.

Operators of the 1 ½ hour narrated tour say that large osprey nests can be seen along the river, and boat riders may also see herons, egrets, cormorants, ducks, turtles and alligators.

Where: 8496 Enterprise Road, Myrtle Beach

Contact: 888-315-9439 or waccamawrivertours@gmail.com

Cost: $31.95 ages 13 and older and $18.95 ages 12 and younger

Take a gamble on casino boat

If you’re looking for a more adult-themed water adventure, the Big “M” Casino Boat only allows those 21 and older aboard.

The yacht boasts that riders can “party in style and win big money.”

The yacht, which sets sail from Little River, offers Vegas-style casino games, as well as drink – both alcoholic and non-alcoholic – and food options. Riders can also choose to combine their meal with their boarding fee.

The trip lasts 5 hours and the boat could travel up to 15 miles. But you’ll have to wait to gamble until the yacht gets into international waters, which is about 3 miles and takes 45 minutes.

Where: 4491 Mineola Ave., Little River

Cost: $20 per person or $30 with meal

Cruise on a riverboat

Take a step back in time by cruising down the Intracoastal Waterway on Barefoot Queen Riverboat, an old-time riverboat in North Myrtle Beach.

The boat is a 70-foot authentic wooden riverboat and offers scenic lunch and dinner cruises with narration and entertainment. The boat can hold up to 130 passengers and tours are from 1 ½ to 2 hours.

The boat does not go into the ocean, but instead travels south of Barefoot Marina to Marina Inn Grande Dunes and back.

Where: 2501 Bridge View Court, North Myrtle Beach

Cost: Dinner cruise is $59.99 for ages 13 and older and $29.99 for ages 3 to 12; day/lunch cruise is $32.99 for ages 13 and older and $17.99 for ages 3 to 12

For families with children

If you’ve never been aboard a pirate ship, then here’s your chance. Two different tours offer families and children the opportunity to act like pirates and go hunting for treasure.

  • Blackbeard’s Pirate Cruise. Children are transformed into pirates before they come aboard, being equipped with a fake mustache, tattoo and appropriate pirate dress. Then children go for a treasure hunt while fighting off other pirates. That requires the use of water cannons – and yes, you will get wet. The crew will lead others in dancing, singing and games.

Where: 141 Fantasy Harbor Blvd, Myrtle Beach, behind The Boathouse Restaurant

Cost: $28 adults/teens and ages 3 to 12, $13 ages 1 to 2 and free for younger than 1

Blackbeard’s Pirate Cruise is one of several pirate ship adventures for children and families in the Myrtle Beach area.
Blackbeard’s Pirate Cruise is one of several pirate ship adventures for children and families in the Myrtle Beach area.
  • Pirate Adventures Children’s Treasure Hunt. Children on this pirate adventure will set sail on the Sea Gypsy in search of sunken treasure. Children receive a face painting of a curly mustache or an anchor tattoo, a treasure-hunting vest and then “marched” off to the ship, where they will use a map to find a sunken treasure. The young pirates will do battle with other pirates using water cannons. But don’t worry, the website says that the crew of the Sea Gypsy will always defeat Pirate Pete.

Where: 4079 Highway 17 Business, Murrells Inlet

Cost: Tours start at $29

Go Dolphin watching

There are several tours that offer a chance to see these fun beauties of the sea. Each tour offers something for everyone. Here are a few to check out.

Blue Wave Adventures Dolphin Watch Cruise: 4123-B U.S. 17 Business, Murrells Inlet; 843-651-3676 or bluewaveadventures.com

Myrtle Beach Dolphin Watch: 4042 U.S. 17 Business, Murrells Inlet; 843-357-7777 or myrtlebeachdolphinwatch.com/

Hurricane Fleet Dolphin Cruise: 1903 U.S. 17 S., North Myrtle Beach (office location as boat leaves from another spot); 843-249-3571 or https://hurricanefleet.com/dolphin-cruise-myrtle-beach/

Take a kayak adventure

For the more adventurous, you can tour the area waters by kayak. Here are a few places to try.

  • Glass Bottom Kayak Tours in North Myrtle Beach offers several different tours, including an opportunity to paddle to a private island to see wildlife and go shelling, see nesting sea turtles or take a tour of a salt marsh. 843-333-6420 or myrtlebeachkayaktours.com/

  • J & L Kayaks in Cherry Grove is offering a new tour for adults that features “secret places” along the marshes of North Myrtle Beach. Other tours include an osprey nesting and low country kayaking trips. 843-877-0555 or jandlkayaking.com