Guests at Bay View on the Boardwalk have the beach and ocean right in their backyard, but some prefer calmer waters. Myrtle Beach is more than happy to oblige with several riverboat cruises offering unique perspectives of the Grand Strand via the Intracoastal Waterway and other coastal creeks and rivers. Fall is the perfect time to experience the scenic beauty of Myrtle Beach from the observation deck of a cozy cruise boat. Here's a list of some of the best riverboat cruises on the Strand:
* Barefoot Princess: “All aboard” really does mean “all” aboard this three-story, 24-foot x 64-foot classic riverboat that can accommodate up to 130 passengers. Sailing out of Barefoot Landing in North Myrtle Beach, the Barefoot Princess meanders down the Intracoastal Waterway and offers guests a unique view of the Grand Strand. Afternoon sightseeing tours, evening dinner cruises and special holiday events are among the options for folks who prefer a slow, scenic cruise with both an open-air observation deck and a glass-enclosed, air-conditioned cabin. The Barefoot Princess is closed Oct. 8 through Nov. 15, but it reopens on Nov. 16 to resume its regular itinerary, along with several holiday dinner cruises. For more info, visit www.mbriverboat.com.
* Brookgreen Gardens: The East Coast's largest and oldest botanical sculpture gardens, best known for their majestic statues and amazing plant life, also provide one of the best spots on the Grand Strand to go exploring by boat. Located in Murrells Inlet and about 20 miles south of Bay View on the Boardwalk, Brookgreen’s 9,100-acre preserve offers visitors the chance to take a cruise through the tidal creeks and rivers that run through the Lowcountry landscape. See alligators sunning on small islands, birds of prey diving for their dinner, and abandoned rice fields that made this former plantation one of the wealthiest on the Carolina coast. For tour times and ticket info, visit www.brookgreen.org.
* Cap'n Rod's Lowcountry Tours: Discover the magic of the South Carolina Lowcountry from a riverboat captain who was born and raised on the local waters. Sailing on a pontoon boat to some secluded areas unreachable by larger vessels, Captain Rod Singleton combines seamanship with storytelling to provide a fun and educational cruise to exotic spots along the Intracoastal Waterway and Black, Sampit and Waccamaw rivers. Cap'n Rod's also offers a cruise through the calmer ocean waters of Winyah Bay to Lighthouse Shell Island, where passengers are permitted to visit the uninhabited barrier island to go beachcombing and snap photos of the historic lighthouse. For more information, visit www.lowcountrytours.com.
* Waccamaw River Tours: Some of the prettiest pictures of the Grand Strand you will ever see are taken by tourists from the decks of this fleet. The business offers pontoon boat tours of various postcard-worthy spots along the blackwater Waccamaw River, including a trip to a national wildlife preserve where you can see incredible views of native flora and fauna. If you're lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of some non-native species on the banks of the Waccatee Zoo and T.I.G.E.R.S preserve, where Bubbles the Elephant sometimes takes an afternoon bath. Sunset tours and trips to Sandy Island are also on the itinerary. For more info, visit www.waccamawrivertours.com.
After a wonderful day or night on the inland waters, come back to your vacation home base at Bay View on the Boardwalk and get ready for a different flow of activities. Chill out by the pool and beach at the resort, or take a short stroll down the Myrtle Beach Boardwalk to enjoy all the attractions, dining, shopping and nightlife of the downtown district. Guests can always enjoy the best of both worlds at Bay View on the Boardwalk.