Millions of vacationers come to the Carolina coast each year to relax in the Grand Strand sand, but only the adventurous ever discover the muddy side of the Myrtle Beach area. For all the pristine beaches and sand dunes that line the shore, there are acres of mud holes and dirt ramps on the swampy inland areas that are perfect for getting down and dirty.
For the uninitiated, the proper Southern terminology, at least in these parts, is muddin’ – as in “It rained last night. Let’s hop on the four-wheeler and go muddin’.” It usually involves an ATV (all-terrain vehicle, or four-wheeler) ride over off-road trails and slinging mud through the air while you bounce your way over berms and churn your way out of trouble spots. It’s not exactly good, clean fun, but getting dirty in Myrtle is a great way to have a blast.
While lots of visitors prefer to stick to extreme water sports, such as surfing, parasailing and jet-skiing, others get their kicks in that filthy combination of dirt and water that we call mud. Experienced mudders already know the thrills that come with off-roading, but first-timers are quickly converted to the muddy way of life. Because vacation is a time to try new experiences, going muddin’ is a good way to get the whole group together to step outside their comfort zones.
The best place for beginners to get a taste of mud is at Carolina Backwoods ATV Adventure in nearby Ash, NC, just over the Carolina border and inland to the woodlands and wetlands of the countryside. Located about a 45-minute drive from The Strand, this attraction may be off the beaten path but it is well worth the trip if you are looking for a great time. Just wear clothes you don’t mind getting dirty (old jeans and T-shirts are recommended, closed-toe shoes are required), head north on Highway 17 to Little River-Ash Road, and let the outfitters at Carolina Backwoods take care of the rest.
Not only does Carolina Backwoods offer ATV rentals and instruction, but they also provide all the safety gear and equipment (such as helmets, goggles and gloves) you need to have a fun but safe experience. Best of all, Carolina Backwoods allows patrons to explore the dense woodlands and soggy wetlands of their spacious and rural property. The main trailheads lead to different obstacles and low-lying areas where you can cut loose in muddy fields in total seclusion. There’s no better way to get away from it all than in the backwoods and backwaters with only man, machine and mud.
Carolina Backwoods offers two-hour tours that are led by experienced guides who know the trails and the ATVs, so all you have to focus on is the mud and the dirt. Patrons can select the size and horsepower of their ATVs, and they can take them for a test spin to make sure they are good to go to the next level. Guests can ride on the trails of their choice based on the degree of difficulty, working their way up from the novice obstacle courses to the more challenging trails. Regardless of which ones you decide to tackle, you are guaranteed to be covered with mud virtually everywhere except for the smile on your face.
Be sure to bring a change of clothes so you can clean up a bit before heading home with only memories of the muddy adventure. Then enjoy a hot shower in your room at The Strand, take a relaxing dip in the hot tub, or relax on your private balcony overlooking the ocean and reminisce about your muddy good time in the Myrtle Beach. For more information, visit www.carolinabackwoods.com.