Take a Tour on Wet, Wild Side in Myrtle Beach

Photo courtesy of Adrenaline Adventure
By Terry Massey, Myrtle Beach Local Expert

Whether you love to live on the wild side or prefer to keep things on the mild side, Myrtle Beach has plenty for people of all walks of life to have a good time. Beyond the beach, golf, shopping and dining, Myrtle Beach offers a long list of tours and excursions to make your visit complete and send you home with a lifetime of memories.

For some, a trip to Myrtle Beach means doing things they could or would never dream of trying back home. Parasailing, for example, which involves riding high above the ocean on a boat-propelled parachute, is one of those adventures that have to be done at the beach. Outfitters like Captain Dicks and Blue Water Adventures can handle all your watersports needs, including deep-sea fishing excursions and dolphin-watching tours. Jet-ski rental, Banana Boat rides and canoe/kayak tours are among the many fun activities you can try in Myrtle Beach.

But for those who prefer the slow lane, Myrtle Beach also has a wide selection of scenic and historic tours, such as Hobcaw Barony and La Belle Amie Vineyard. Spend a day relaxing in the lovely Lowcountry terrain or sampling local wines without getting too dirty. After all, adventure, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.

10. Adrenaline Adventures
Photo courtesy of Adrenaline Adventure

Soar high above the Myrtle Beach skyline on this downtown zipline course that was built on the old Pavilion site. Offering excellent views of the Atlantic Ocean and Myrtle Beach Boardwalk, this six-story tower allows patrons the thrill ride of a lifetime on this 600-yard foot course. Safety harnesses and trained personnel assure a fun but safe ride for the whole family, including children ages 6 and up. The thrilling journey is capped by a 60-foot freefall from the tower. Located in the middle of the downtown district and Myrtle Beach Boardwalk, this thrill ride is close and convenient for the adventurous.

9. Rover Tours

Take a relaxing boat ride to places where many of the more souped-up vessels can't go on the Carolina Rover. Exploring the Intracoastal Waterway, Bird Island and other hidden treasures of the Carolina coast, Rover Tours provides experienced and informative guides to add some meaning to the beautiful scenery you will experience. Tours aboard the pontoon boat Carolina Rover are about three hours in length, and include a stop at a small island where you can look for shells on the beach. The two-hour daytime sailings on the Jolly Rover focus on history, with an emphasis on local pirate lore. The 6 pm sunset cruise on the Jolly Rover is for adults only. Tours are offered from April to October.

8. Soar + Explore
Photo courtesy of Soar + Explore

Thrill-seekers now have a new home at Broadway at the Beach with the recently opened Soar + Explore extreme sports complex. Fly over Lake Broadway on the new zipline that spans the lake, climb through a maze of ropes and ladders in the ropes course, and enjoy a thrilling game of laser tag against fellow patrons in the high-tech Laser Tag course. It all adds up to big fun for those who like to live on the edge. Soar + Explore is affiliated with the Wonder Works Odd-itorium, so guests can check out the museum before and after the zipline ride.

7. Carolina Safari Jeep Tours

Experience the beauty of the South Carolina Lowcountry from the unique vantage point of the back of a stretch Jeep. This extra-long all-terrain vehicle can carry up to 12 to 14 people to a variety of locations - from the swamps and bogs of the Lowcountry to the sand dunes of the beaches. Tours based on local history, nature and even ghost lore are avilable. Each tour lasts about 3 1/2 hours, and is led by an expert in the field. Tours are offered year-round, but to experience the sunshine and the breeze blowing through your hair, the warmer months are recommended.

6. Myrtle Beach State Park
Photo courtesy of ericrichardson

Experience a day of wonder in Myrtle Beach State Park, an oasis of nature amid a sea of human development. Located on the south end of Myrtle Beach, the state park is a stark contrast to the high-rise hotels that are just a short walk away. Featuring old-growth maritime forests with hiking trails that lead to the high sand dunes of the beach, this 312-acre oceanfront park was developed by the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) in the 1930s. In addition to about a mile of beach, the park encompasses a fishing pier, a nature center, a campground and cabins and plenty of oceanfront picnic shelters.

5. Hobcaw Barony

In 1718, King George II granted a barony (12,000 acres of land) here to John Lord Carteret, who remained the owner until 1730. Since then, the land has had various owners and uses, giving it quite an interesting pedigree. Today it's a 17,500 acre wildlife refuge used for college-level research. Criss-crossed by over 100 miles of dirt roads, the property is easy to get lost on, so the only way to see it is via a guided tour, a fascinating outing that appeals to both history and nature buffs. Located about 1 mile north of Georgetown and 35 miles south of Myrtle Beach.

4. Blue Wave Adventures
Photo courtesy of Blue Wave Adventures

Experience the majestic beauty of dolphins in their natural environment with a tour by Blue Water Adventures. Located in the fishing village of Murrells Inlet, Blue Water has the expertise to locate these miraculous mammals in the wild while not interfering with the creatures. Dolphin watching, sightseeing and wildlife cruises are offered by this outfit, which has the best and latest technology available for finding pods of dolphins. Blue Wave's state-of-the-art dolphin-tour boat is the only one of its type on the East Coast - a 30 foot RAIV (Rigid Aluminum Inflatable Vessel). Call for exact dates and times of tours.

3. La Belle Amie Vineyard

La Belle Amie makes wonderful traditional Southern muscadine wines from grapes grown in their own vineyards; they also import specially blended wines from family-run wineries in France. Several lively events are offered every year, from charity functions to music festivals, including the very popular Parrot Had festivals in February and July. Tours of the scenic property are available, and the tasting room offers five samples for $5, which includes a souvenir wine glass. After you've tried several, choosing what to purchase in the gift shop should be a little easier. Hours vary slightly from season to season, so call ahead to verify.

2. Go Ape Treetop Adventure
Photo courtesy of Tyler Watkins

Hang out in the trees where only birds and monkeys dare to explore at the Go Ape Treetop Adventure course at the new North Myrtle Beach Sports and recreation Center. Located off Highway 31, this ropes and zipline course offers 40 different obstacles for the adventurous types. Zoom down the 900-foot zipline over the 25-acre lake, swing on a rope and land on a giant cargo net in the classic Tarzan move, and navigate your way through a series of ropes and obstacles from more than 60 feet in the sky. A 30-minute safety course is required before tackling the two- to three-hour adventure, and experienced guides are on hand to help you have a fun but safe experience.

1. Captain Dick's
Photo courtesy of Captain Dick's

Experience the thrill of flight high above the Atlantic Ocean with a parasailing adventure at Captain Dick's. Go solo or ride tandem with a friend as you are strapped into a safety harness that's attached to a parachute, which lifts you off the back of the boat and into the sky for a wonderful thrill and view. Boat rentals, jet ski and wave runner rentals, saltwater marsh exploring adventures, cruisin' the beach trips, dolphin sightseeing cruises, pirate adventure voyages, marina and bottom fishing, gamefish trolling and charter fishing are also available. Prices, dates and times vary by the season, so call ahead for details.