Best Tours in the South Strand

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Your vacation is precious.

It happens but once a year so every detail has to be right. You plan and plan and plan some more, organizing every last minute of your time away.

Then you become exhausted and decide to leave all that stuff to the pros.

So you book a tour.

Lucky are the visitors to the South Strand, for tour options are plentiful, affordable, diverse and just plain fun. And if you’re traveling with a group? They’re a cinch to arrange. Here are some that we love — all close by and convenient to Litchfield Beach & Golf.

Black River Outdoors: Get a taste of the delicate and beautiful ecosystem upon which Pawleys Island and Litchfield are situated in a relaxing, educational and beginner-friendly kayak tour. The Black River team is knowledgeable, friendly and, collectively, an enthusiastic steward of the environment. Opt for either a two- or four-hour tour on the Salt Marsh of Huntington Beach State Park or the Cypress Swamp, or a longer six-hour combo walking-kayaking birding tour. Two-hour tours are $35 per person (kids under 7 are free), four-hour tours are $55 per person, and group discount rates for 12 or more adults are available.

Explorer Cruises: Long for the learning opportunities of an eco-tour with a little less paddling? The Explorer Cruises are billed as the “only saltwater eco tour on the Grand Strand” and can be found at the Crazy Sister Marina in nearby Murrells Inlet. The pontoon cruises along for two hours while marine naturalists divulge the fascinating life churning beneath your feet. You might see a crabbing demo, but you will definitely learn a ton. Adults are $21, kids are $15 and those under 2 are free. A shorter sunset cruise is also available, and either option is amenable to large groups and events.

Inshore Xtreme Fishing Charters: It’s true; you will have many options when it comes to charters in the Grand Strand. But this outfit is energized, experienced, and happening right in Pawleys Island. This would be a great option if you’re with a smaller group — they can only accommodate three anglers — that happens to include children. Captain Rob, the vessel’s skipper, is patient with beginners of all ages and knows just where to find the best and most abundant catches on the Strand. A two-person, four-hour charter will run $400, with $50 for an additional person. If you have a larger group, they’ll recommend a reputable option.

Express Watersports: In a bind and can’t decide what you want to do? Express Watersports has some pretty sweet ideas. Dolphin watches, banana boat rides, kayak tours, sunset cruises, scuba diving, catered dinner cruises… phew, we’re out of breath, and there are still many more. They have a huge complex in Murrells Inlet that includes a retail store, parking, bathrooms, changing areas and showers. It’s right smack-dab in the middle of the MarshWalk and their trained and licensed staff are good with all levels of experience, including kids (when appropriate). So what we’re saying is, it’s one-stop shopping if you have an itch for adventure. Just to get an idea, their Ocean Sightseeing and Dolphin Watch Cruises feature a knowledgeable naturalist aboard a fully equipped 46-foot Newton. They can accommodate close to 50 passengers and welcome large groups. Adults are $25, kids under 12 are $20, and those 2 and under are free.

Brookgreen Gardens: This place, right in Litchfield’s backyard, knows how to do groups. With massive acreage of gorgeous plants, flowers, art and animals, Brookgreen staffers offer not only group admission rates ($11 for adults in packs of 15 or more), but boat tours, private one-hour walking tours, group lunches and “meet the animals” events. It’s leisurely while still being jam-packed with facts – and, depending on which event you choose, an outright bargain. If your group includes those that could use extra assistance, special strollers for children and adults are available for free. And those on the tail end of a big family reunion? Think of all that space you’ll have to wander off… alone.


(Posted: 6/30/15)