There’s nothing wrong with relaxing on the beach and looking out over the Atlantic Ocean. That’s what vacationing in Myrtle Beach is all about, right? Wrong, at least not if you are up for a little high thrills on the high seas. From deep-sea fishing and dolphin-watching cruises to parasailing and kayaking, the Grand Strand is lined with outfitters ready to take you for a wet and wild ride. Here’s a list of the top five watersports to try while you are in Myrtle Beach, and some of the local companies that can make it happen:
* Banana Boat: It’s a banana. It’s a boat. It’s a … Banana Boat. This elongated watercraft may look funny from a distance, but straddle the yellow pontoon with your family and friends and let the good times roll. An experienced driver can take up to a party of eight on a high-seas adventure or to more tranquil waters in the Intracoastal Waterway. Passengers can talk to one another with exploring some of the scenic beauty the Grand Strand has to offer, or hang on to one another for dear life while skimming over the wave tops. Banana Boats are ideal for larger groups looking to stick together rather than spread out on jet skis. Go for a spin at Ocean Watersports or Atlantic Watersports.
* Canoe/Kayak/Paddleboard: For all of the Grand Strand’s manmade attractions, its best assets are its natural beauty. More and more visitors are discovering Myrtle Beach’s wild side for a thriving eco-tourism industry, much of it fueled by paddle power. Explore the backwater swamps and tidal creeks of the Lowcountry or the black water of the Waccamaw River in a canoe, kayak or even a paddleboard. There are few more peaceful ways to spend a day than paddling to places only the birds and fish can reach. Ocean kayaking and paddleboarding tours and rentals are also available along the beachfront. Check out Carolina Paddle Company for a list of tour options.
* Fishing: Sure, you can visit any number of seafood buffets in town and get your fill of fish, or you can go out and catch them yourself by boarding the many charter boats available on the Grand Strand. From state-of-the-art fishing boats that sail to deeper waters to smaller watercraft that visit the local honey holes, there’s a fishing excursion perfect for your taste. Check out Capt. Dick's at Crazy Sisters Marina in Murrells Inlet and Little River Fleet on the Intracoastal Waterway. For those who don’t have their sea legs, the Grand Strand has eight fishing piers to let anglers get as close to the big ones as possible without boarding a boat. The piers also have tackle shops with experienced workers who can tell you what species are running and what bait to use.
* Jet skiing: If a motorcycle married a speedboat, their babies would be jet skis. This high-powered watercraft allows riders to fulfill their need for speed and their desire to get wet and wild. Go for a spin over the ocean waves or cut some doughnuts in the calmer waters of the Intracoastal Waterway. Rentals are available but the tours are recommended for inexperienced riders and those who want to see places they could never find on their own. One- and two-passenger jet skis allow parents to take their children for a ride, or for a solo freedom ride. Check out Myrtle Beach Jet Ski Rental and Express Watersports.
* Parasailing: If you’ve ever dreamed of flying, this is your chance to fulfill that fantasy. Not the kind of flying you can do on a plane or helicopter, but the feeling of free flight high above the Atlantic Ocean. Passengers climb aboard a boat for a short trip offshore, close enough to give you a bird’s-eye view of the ocean and land. Certified guides strap you into a harness and help you onto a platform that serves as a launching pad. Your parachute pack picks up air and lifts you high into the sky for a breath-taking view and experience. Patrons can fly solo, tandem or trio with a special three-person harness. Myrtle Beach Watersports and Downwind Sails are among the many parasailing outfitters on the Strand.