Nine out of ten boaters will say boating is great twelve months a year in the Carolinas. Yes, you’ll have a few chilly or inclement days here and there, but a T-top and curtains take care of that. Even so, for fair-weather boaters, May through October is considered prime boating season. Whatever kind of boater you are, this is the perfect time to start planning your trip to the Carolinas and the glorious Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway (ICW).
North Carolina is almost 10% water. No wonder boaters can’t get enough of it. Boating is one of the state’s most popular year-round activities. With a legendary coastline and more than 50 lakes, you can’t pick just one boating destination.
That being said, one of the many destinations you don’t want to miss is Ocracoke Island ,just off the North Carolina coast. It’s sixteen miles of beautiful undeveloped beach, and an historic 4-square-mile village complete with restaurants and shops. From the Ocracoke Island Lighthouse to Blackbeard’s final resting place, and the wild horses, you’ll be captivated by this island.
Top North Carolina Marinas for Your Cruising Itinerary
Hatteras Harbor Marina in Hatteras, North Carolina, is an angler’s oasis. This well-protected, full-service, deep-water marina is nestled along the Pamlico Sound. It’s also home to an impressive 20-fishin-boat charter fleet. The marina offers guests accommodating amenities including private shower and restroom facilities, as well as a laundromat. There’s also a fully stocked marina store with everything for you, your boat and your next fishing excursion. Just minutes from the famous Outer Banks beaches, this marina is the perfect place for unlimited fun under the sun.
Ocean Limo Marina in Belhaven, North Carolina, is an easy ride from the Atlantic ICW. Situated directly on Wright Creek off of North Carolina’s Pungo River, the marina is a pet-friendly facility with an array of amenities including WiFi, ice, boat launch, picnic area, and on-site lodging and restaurant. Belhaven is the closest town, and has ample options for guests looking for restaurants and bars off-site. A little off the beaten path, this marina is a relaxing space where you can enjoy some fresh air and calm water.
Oriental Harbor Marina in Oriental, North Carolina, is nestled where the Neuse River and Greens Creek flow into Pamlico Sound on the Atlantic ICW at mile marker 182. It’s located in one of North Carolinas’ most historic sailing communities, between the Chesapeake Bay in the north, and Florida and the Caribbean in the south. After an enjoyable day on the water, or in the nearby town, showering facilities are available, as well as an onsite restaurant serving up mouthwatering sit-down meals.
South Carolina may not be the longest stretch of the Atlantic ICW, but it certainly is one of the most spectacular. From the North Carolina border at Little River Inlet to the Georgia border at the Savannah River, stretches 235 miles of historic, picturesque and entertainment treasures.
When there, be sure to make a stop in Charleston’s Historic District, a longtime favorite vacation spot for boaters. As one of the city’s earliest established districts, it’s a celebrated time capsule, with more than 1,400 distinct historic buildings, including churches, businesses, factories and homes, dating back to the 18th and 19th centuries. And trust us, you won’t forgive yourself if you don’t also stop at Myrtle Beach. Known as “The Grand Strand”, its 60 miles of majestic sandy beaches are what beach lover’s dreams are made of.
It’s a wonderland for adults and children alike, with so much to do and see – much of it taking place along its bustling 1.2-mile oceanfront boardwalk. You can see if for miles away thanks to its iconic SkyWheel – a giant-sized observation wheel stretching 187 feet into the air.
Top South Carolina Marinas for Your Cruising Itinerary
Harbourgate Resort and Marina in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, is a destination unto itself. Their on-site pool and spa add a little relaxation and pampering to any trip. And you don’t have to leave the resort for dinner and evening cocktails, because Filet’s Restaurant will reel you in. After, you can stroll over to Captain Dilligaf’s Tiki Bar and enjoy a cold drink while soaking in awesome vistas of the Intracoastal Waterway and the historic Little River Swing Bridge. And you can bring your four-legged crew member, this resort is dog-friendly!
Isle of Palms Marina in Isle of Palms, South Carolina, is a convenient stopover, located on the east side of the Atlantic ICW. Designated as a “Clean Marina” by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, this marina offers a double-wide public boat ramp, well-lit, secure floating docks, city water, fuel, complimentary wireless Internet, and private showers for transient boaters. Plus, the Isle of Palms Marina market is fully stocked with supplies for your fishing trip, as well as snacks and gifts the whole crew will enjoy.
Shelter Cove Harbour and Marina in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, is nestled on the banks of Broad Creek just off the Atlantic ICW, in picturesque Shelter Cove Harbour. This impressive 15.5-acre marina has 178 boat slips for boats up to 145 feet in length. Guests will enjoy state-of-the-art facilities and comprehensive resort-style amenities. A well-stocked ship’s store, pristine restrooms and showering facilities, free laundry, pump out service, and Dock Master on call 24 hours, are just a few features of this top-rated marina. There is also year-round waterfront dining, shopping and entertainment.