The Intracoastal Waterway Offers Alternative to Ocean

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The Atlantic Ocean is the body of water most commonly associated with Myrtle Beach vacations, but the connecting Intracoastal Waterway, providing an alternative fun place for visitors to play.

The man-made river and thoroughfare that parallels the coastline along the Grand Strand, is actually part of a larger system that stretches more than 2,200 miles along the East and Gulf Coasts from Maine to Texas. Built in the post-Depression Era as part of the Public Works Administration’s efforts to put Americans back to work. the Intracoastal Waterway also became a great place for Americans to play.

On the Grand Strand, the Intracoastal Waterway begins on the Carolina border in Little River and runs through North Myrtle Beach and Myrtle Beach less than 1 mile from the beach. The Waterway then dives inland to Socastee and joins various rivers – the Big and Little Pee Dees, the Waccamaw and eventually the Black River in Georgetown, where the Waterway reconnects with the sea.

Designed to allow safe passage for boat traffic, the Waterway also gave locals and visitors a place to put their boats in the water, cruise up and down the coast and even take their vessels out to sea. The Waterway has also become a haven for watersports, such as jet skis, Banana boats, etc.

Various watersports outfitters operate along the Waterway and offer tours as well as rentals for a fun-filled day on the water. Guests can rent pontoon boats for a day of fishing along the Waterway, lease jet skis to explore the backwater inlets, or even board gambling and sightseeing cruises and dolphin watching or deep-sea fishing excursions. The Barefoot Princess at Barefoot Landing takes patrons on a tour of the Waterway while also serving a moveable feast for passengers.

Visitors looking for some fun and friendly stops along the Waterway are in luck thanks to the many marinas located along the banks of tributaries. Many feature outdoor bars and restaurants where boats can tie up and passengers can come ashore.

On the North Strand, hot spots such as Cricket Cove Marina, Coquina Harbor and Silvercoast Marina in Little River and Anchor Marina, Harbour Gate Marina, and Dock Holiday's Marina in North Myrtle Beach. On the South Strand near Socastee, check out Hague’s Marina and Osprey Marina of Myrtle Beach. Most have dockside restaurants where you can enjoy food, drink and a beautiful sunset over the Waterway.

(posted 5/27/14)

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