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Kayaking And Canoeing The Waccamaw River In South Carolina
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Kayaking And Canoeing the Waccamaw River In South Carolina

If you are a conoeing or kayaking enthusiasts, when you visit Myrtle Beach, SC or the Pawleys Island, Litchfield area, be sure to bring your boat.  The Waccamaw River, the Eastern most of the South Carolina rivers, is perfect for canoeing and kayaking.

Thirty-five miles south of Myrtle Beach is the historic town of Georgetown, SC.  It is an easy drive down Highway 17. At East Bay Park in Georgetown is a boat landing with ample parking.  From there it is an easy paddle into Winyah Bay.  The bay is formed where the Waccamaw, the Pee Dee, and the Black rivers come together.  Heading North in the bay, up the Waccamaw river you cross under the Highway 17 bridge. On either side of the bridge are a number of cypress trees, many of which have new, and old osprey nest.  At any time of the year osprey can be seen hunting the waters of the Waccamw and the bay.

Further north on the Waccamw is Hagley Landing in Pawleys Island.  The landing offers easy access to the river, but parking can be a problem.  There is no parking lot and all parking is along the side of the street.  At this point, the river is still about a mile wide and paddling can be difficult.  If you do decide to go in at this point, there are a number of creeks on the far bank of the river that are great for paddling.  Be careful though.  Some of the creeks are not very wide and it's not unusual to see alligators sunning themselves on the bank.

About ten mile further north, in Murrell Inlet is Wacca Wache Marina.  Again, parking can be a problem here.  There is a parking lot but, since this is a popular spot, it fills up quickly.  The river at this point is much smaller and much more conducive to paddling.  Just across the river is Sandy Island.  It is inhabited, mostly by the descendants of slaves, and has no access except by boat.  The children of the inhabitants take a boat to the marina every morning to catch their school bus.

Further north, in Horry County, are a number of landing on the river.  There is Red Bluff landing off highway 905.  Star Bluff landing off the main highway 90 and the smaller road 638.  Further north is Big Savannah Bluff landing off highway 905 and on highway 954 or 610.  The last landing before the North Carolina line is on highway 9.  All the landings in Horry county are in the Heritage Preserve.  Overnight camping is permitted all along the river in the preserve.

I hope the next time you come to the beach in South Carolina you bring your canoe or kayak and don't just use it to paddle around in the surf.  Get out in the wilderness and see black bear, osprey, eagles, turtles, and alligators.  Enjoy!


Street Talk

Thanks for the nice words about our beautiful black water river, the Waccamaw. There are several local outfitters who have knowledgeable guides (Great Escapes, Conway Kayak Company, Black River Outdoors to name a few) who can provide equipment and/or guiding services. There's also a local recreational kayaking group, the Yakkity Yakers (find them on Facebook). And, last but not least, the Waccamaw Riverkeeper has partnered with American Rivers and Pee Dee Land Trust to establish a paddle trail from the NC border to the river's outlet at Winyah Bay. As part of that process, we've developed waterproof maps that should be available after October 1st at local outfitters and other places within our area. Soon thereafter, the map will be available online along with an online interpretive guide to enhance the paddling experience on our beautiful Waccamaw River.

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  about 1 decade ago
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