Cruising the ICW: Myrtle Beach, SC to Topsail Island, NC
Date Posted: May 23, 2023
Source: Waterway Guide Explorer Magazine

This stretch of our cruise up the Intracoastal Waterway connecting Key West to Norfolk is pure Carolina gold. Set sail from Myrtle Beach and prepare for a journey of discovery into North Carolina. You'll explore the historic (and tiny!) fishing villages, roam windswept preserves, enjoy hearty bowls of chowder, fall in love with wooden boats, and do your part to help save sea turtles.


Mile 354

A New View

Myrtle Beach, SC

You may know the beaches, but the ICW offers a different world. Barefoot Landing has a 27-acre lake (with turtles and alligators), more than a dozen restaurants, and 50-plus shops. Hit up the House of Blues for Voodoo Shrimp, and Flying Fish Public Market & Grill for sushi.

TIE UP: See nearby Grand Dunes Marina, Hague Marina and Osprey Marina.

Explore the Myrtle Beach, SC area in Waterway Guide Explorer.


Mile 342

Seafood Pilgrimage 

Calabash, NC

This tiny fishing village calls itself the "Seafood Capital of the World" due to its Calabash-style seafood, famous up and down the Carolina coast. The secret is quick-frying fresh catch coated in a light cornmeal batter. Check it out at Beck's and at Calabash Seafood Hut.

Explore the Calabash, NC area in Waterway Guide Explorer.


Mile 309 (+ 2.8 Nautical Miles East)

Nature Break

Bald Head Island, NC

Explore the wild environs of this gorgeous island by golf cart, bike, or your own two feet. (No cars allowed.) Stop in at Maritime Market for wine and beer tastings, and pick up fresh seafood to grill on the boat. 

TIE UP: Check out nearby Morningstar Marinas Southport, Safe Harbor South Harbour Village, or Bald Head Island Marina

Explore the Bald Head Island, NC area in Waterway Guide Explorer.


Mile 309

Wooden-Boat Fever

Southport, NC

Just across the Cape Fear River, the charming town of Southport hosts an annual Wooden Boat Show (September 30 this year). Check out displays and demonstrations, and get your happy fill of delicious local chowder.

TIE UP: Check out nearby Morningstar Marinas Southport and Safe Harbor South Harbour Village.

Explore the Southport, NC area in Waterway Guide Explorer.


Mile 261

Turtle Love

Topsail Island, NC

Explore this barrier island and a cause close to every sailor's heart— sea turtle protection—at the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue & Rehabilitation Center. Take a tour, see the in-house patients, and "adopt" your own creature. 

TIE UP: Topsail Island Marina

Explore the Topsail Island, NC area in Waterway Guide Explorer.


Get all of the information you need for cruising the Atlantic ICW and the Myrtle Beach, SC to Topsail Island, NC area with a Print Waterway Guide Atlantic ICW 2023 Edition or a Print + Digital Subscription.

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