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Myrtle Beach may be best known for its golf, but it's far from the only game in town. In fact, some of the most popular sports on the Grand Strand aren't played on dry land.
With the Atlantic Ocean in our backyard and the Intracoastal Waterway on our front porch, it's no surprise that watersports is a common pastime for locals and visitors alike. From tamer activities like a deep-sea fishing voyage or a dolphin-watching excursion to more extreme sports like surfing and parasailing, Myrtle Beach offers a whole host of watersports to get wet and wild. Here are five you just have to try:
* Fishing: Perhaps the most popular watersport on the Strand doesn't involve too much strenuous activity, unless you happen to hook a big one, and then it's well worth the effort. There are many options for fishing on the Carolina coast. Surf fishing from the beach and pier fishing from one of the eight wooden structure along the Strand are the easiest and most cost effective, but there's nothing like boarding a fishing boat and going where the big ones swim. The Intracoastal Waterway and inland rivers, creeks and bays also offer angling opportunities. The best fishing tip is to use the local knowledge available by bait-shop workers and fishing tour guides. Capt. Dick's in Murrells Inlet and Little River Fleet on the North Strand can hook you up.
* Parasailing: Nothing beats the feeling of flight, especially over the Atlantic Ocean with a bird's eye view of the entire Grand Strand. Take a short trip off shore, strap into a harness and hold on while the boat takes off and a parachute lifts you into the sky. Tandem flights and even a three-person harness are available for those too scared to fly solo, and some boats are capable of taking large groups on the same trip. Check out Myrtle Beach Watersports and Downwind Sails for your parasailing adventure.
* Jet skis: These aquatic motorcycles allow riders to fly over the ocean waves and soar down the Intracoastal Waterway with the breeze blowing through your hair. Capable of carrying two passengers, it's a great way for couples or parents and kids to feel the freedom of zipping through the water. If you can drive moped, you can drive a jet ski. Try Myrtle Beach Jet Ski Rental and Express Watersports for a real thrill ride.
* Banana Boat Tour: They might not be the prettiest vessel on the water. In fact, the Banana Boat looks a lot like a yellow water taxi, and acts like one too. The elongated watercraft allow as many as eight passengers sitting single file while the driver takes them on a wet and wild adventure through the ocean and inlets. Capable of top speeds and wave-hopping, the Banana Boat is a great way for a family or group to have a blast together on the open sea. Let Ocean Watersports be your Banana Boat guide.
* JetPacking: Experience the thrill of flight from the water at this new, high-tech attraction. Strap a jetpack on your back and prepare for liftoff as a powerful stream of water propels you up to 30 feet in the air. After you've mastered the controls, try more daring maneuvers, like speed runs, dolphin dives and running along the water's surface. Check out JetPack Adventures at the North Myrtle Beach Sports and Rec Complex for the ride of your life.
(photo courtesy: Express Watersports)