A calm sea breeze and the beautiful unobstructed view of the ocean on horseback might be the best way to enjoy Myrtle Beach this summer without the tourist trappings.

Entry point plantinglocated at the end of a dirt road off Little River Neck Road in North Myrtle Beach offers tourists and families a unique experience of riding horses through the dunes to Waites Island, an undeveloped maritime forest only conservationists are trying fiercely to protect.

The only thing Inlet Point Plantation operator Darby Dugan suggests is to monitor their vehicle’s nibbling habits near seagrass beds.

Inlet Point Plantation offers rides every day except Sunday mornings at 9am, 9:30am and 11am. Afternoon rides are less popular due to the extreme heat of the past few weeks. One-hour beach rides are $120 per person and they take reservations over the phone.

This is an opportunity to see a beach that is not crowded with passers-by at any time of the day.

“It’s this constant change of scenery, and you have the opportunity to see more wildlife, once you’re on the beach,” Dugan said.

However, the equestrian scene in County Horry is not limited to rides and lessons. Grand Strand Horseback Riding, one of the largest equestrian operations in Horry County, offers overnight camps and after school care for children of all ages. Participating children receive comprehensive training in how to care for their own horse, horseback riding, and other agricultural activities such as making fresh mozzarella from scratch.

Kristine Edge, operator of Grand Strand Horseback Riding, said teaching children about equestrian lifestyles is their philosophy.

“We took all that luxury away from the kids. To learn that you can start with something in the morning and at the end of the day you have a finished project that benefits you and many others,” Edge said.

Horse Riding at Grand Strand, located at 2131 Hughes Gasque Rd in Aynor, SC, also offers fully shaded trails with an awning to beat the heat during the summer. Beach walks are available out of season, from November to February. Normal trails during the summer are more affordable, at $50 per person, and they take reservations over the phone.

As unique as these activities are, there aren’t many opportunities throughout the year to enjoy horses. Stacey Smith, who runs the high school rodeo in Horry County, said she’s been trying to raise awareness about horse riding culture since 2015.

The March High School Rodeo in Conway marked the 7th year that she and her husband have hosted the high school event for the South Carolina High School Rodeo Association.

“I see there are more and more people interested, but there aren’t a lot of opportunities,” Stacey Smith said. “There is a huge display of equestrian competitors in the area, but not many places that do that aren’t out of town.”

This story was originally published June 18, 2022 06:00.

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