BlackRiverOutdoorsThere is more to explore in Myrtle Beach than just beautiful beaches. South Carolina has some amazing waterways that are great for fishing, kayaking and canoeing.Black River Outdoors Center offers tours of the rivers, creeks and marshes of the South Carolina Low Country. My group chose the one with alligators and us in kayaks. I didn’t say we were a smart group!

I felt like I was floating down a river of glass with Huck Finn as I listened to our naturalist guide give us an EcoTour of the Cypress-Tupelo Swamp. His real name was Paul and he was engaging, funny, and knew the Black River like the back of his hand. We learned that the reason the Black River is black, is because of the tannins in the leaves of the Cypress-Tupelo trees that line the swamp and fall into the river, staining it black like tea. It does make it easier for the gators to hide that way. I honestly kept hoping we’d see one, but we never did. Could’ve been because the temperatures are so mild in September. Perfect for us, but for alligators who like to sunbathe on the rocks and fallen tree limbs, not so much. But, we kept our eyes out for them, along with other indigenous creatures, like beavers, otters, wild turkeys and owls. I think the only thing we saw that afternoon was a turtle. Even still, it was very relaxing and educational way to spend the afternoon.

Because the animals all seemed to be taking a break from the river, Huck, I mean Paul, gave us a little history about the Black River that once served as the main road for colonial commerce serving the plantations of the 1700’s. Early settlers quickly discovered the water was pure enough to drink and the Spanish moss that drapes the Cypress-Tupelo trees was used for stuffing pillows and mattresses – after they were careful to smoke the chiggers out of them first.

There are no age limits on this tour, and the kayaks are easy to paddle for people of all ages and athletic ability, which makes it a fabulous family outing.

Chris is a designer, WAHM and pilot’s wife living in Aurora, Colorado. She writes about family travel standby as Standby Traveling Mom as well as at MamaBirdsBlog.com. Follow Chris on Pinterest and on Twitter as @BirdBanter.

Disclosure: Visit Myrtle Beach hosted me for the purposes of writing this review. No other compensation was provided. All opinions expressed are my own and without influence by Visit Myrtle Beach.