Cruising the Carolinas, Waccamaw to Southport

Cruising the Carolinas by Sailboat - Sunset over the Waccamaw River

It’s time for a change of pace. Since we left Kemah, it’s been a race against hurricane season with very little time to enjoy our travels. So now, we’re tucking into the ICW and Cruising the Carolinas.

That means weighing anchor in Georgetown, spending the night in the Waccamaw River, sailing through Myrtle Beach, and finding rest in Southport, NC.

Episode 93: Cruising the Carolinas via Sailboat

The Waccamaw River

One word for the Waccamaw River – tranquility. It reminded us of the little swamp we stayed in while sailing the Florida panhandle. Tall trees, mossy overhangs, and glassy smooth water.

We could envision staying here a solid week.

Dinghying around and exploring the little creeks. Catching fish and decompressing from city life.

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Architecture in the Carolinas

One of the unanticipated joys in traveling the ICW is seeing how houses and buildings differ from place to place. The Carolinas didn’t disappoint. The houses have a unique flair, a charm of bright hues and wooden trim. In Myrtle Beach the houses were extravagant and large. Some of these houses and docked boats had paraphernalia and markings from professional athletes, which made us think they were the vacation homes of football and baseball stars. Further north and inland, the houses take a wooded lake house feel.

Plus, this was the first time on our journey to see such beautiful lighthouses. Typically lighthouses are pragmatic – they a plain, rusty, physical structures that serve a purpose. But not so in the Carolinas.

A Carolina Lighthouse Near Myrtle Beach, NC
A Carolina Lighthouse with Cumulus Clouds in the Background

Peaceful Travels

One of the benefits of traveling the Waccamaw River through South Carolina and then the ICW in North Carolina is the calm waters. There aren’t any large bays to negotiate, so the waters are normally calm – apart from motor boats and jet skis north of Myrtle Beach.

The waterway in South and North Carolinas is wide, the banks are protected, and mostly, it’s a mile or more inshore, so coastal winds rarely are felt.

No Place to Anchor

Living on anchor is our favorite, and preferred way to spend the night. However, north of Myrtle Beach the ICW is such that anchoring is not easy.

That meant after weighing anchor in the Waccamaw, we had to make a long haul of the next day to get to a marina.

For this reason, we ended up in Southport, NC. It’s a little town just before the Cape Fear River and provided two choices of marinas, one of which we found affordable. Not to mention it had a great Italian food restaurant!

Overall, cruising the Carolinas was simple and straightforward. It was some of the easiest waters to navigate and the variety of scenery provided a joyful experience!

…not to mention, a great reprieve from the recent storms!






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