Charleston Saltwater Kayak Tours
Historic Shem Creek
This is our most popular option. Shem Creek is rich with history as a commercial fishing and shrimping creek. What you see will be based on tides, weather conditions and your group's paddling abilities. However, when you go up the creek you will see majestic Grand Live Oak trees, remnants of former rice mills (at lower tides), Great Blue Herons, Great Egrets, American Oyster Catchers and many more feeding on the creek's Pluff mud edges and in the oyster beds. When headed toward the Charleston Harbor on a tour you will pass Red's Ice House which allowed for upwards of 120 fishing/shrimping vessels too be accommodated with ice daily during the peak of Shem Creek's commercial use. You will also be able to head toward and possibly around a Department of Natural Resources protected sand band called Crab Bank Island (off limits to human foot traffic March 15 – October 15 every year during migratory bird mating season). On the shallow Mount Pleasant side of Crab Bank dolphins, jumping mullet fish and manatees (when the water temps are high enough) can often be seen. From this spot you will be able to see the Old Village of Mount Pleasant, Sullivans Island, Fort Sumter, Downtown Charleston, Fort Sumter, Fort Johnson, Castle Pinckney and the Arthur Ravenell Jr. bridge. 2 and 3 hour tours are most common here, however we do often 4 hour picnic and paddle options that can take you up the Intracoastal Waterway to look for seashell and fossilized shark teeth. Shem Creek has the most pre-scheduled tours and it is quite easy to join one even as a single if the minimum of 2 has been met. Specialty tours include sunsets, full moons, and paddle & paint.
When the tides are right (leaving on an outgoing and returning on an incoming), we can do day trips to the DNR Heritage Preserve Capers Island by request. Tours can leave from Garris Landing or Gadsdenville Landing (our recommendation) and each have their positives and drawbacks. Getting to Capers requires a 3-4 mile paddle winding through the tidal salt marsh near the Copahee Sound, paddling along or across the Intracoastal Waterway and landing on the sandy beaches of Capers. The experience varies based on landing on the north or south ends. One can do some wading to cool off, enjoy a picnic, walk along the boneyard beach (tree trunks still standing in the beach) or take a hike into the interior for a nature walk. If you plan on staying a few hours for lunch or until the tide turns, bring a hammock or rent one from use and enjoy the coastal breeze while hearing the waves of the Atlantic crash near your. Capers has a special place in our hearts as it is where the owners of Nature Adventures were married. These tours range from 4-8 hours depending on the tides and the amount of time your groups wished to be on the island. We also offer overnight camping on Capers and can supply all the gear and food.
With landings just 12-15 miles from downtown Charleston SC, Rantowles Creek on the outskirts of West Ashley can be one of the most scenic tidal marsh creek paddles with the least amount of boat traffic out there. We offer tours with tides, incoming Limehouse Bridge – Bulow and outgoing Bulow – Limehouse Bridge that require shuttling vehicles, or out and back tours from Bulow Landing. This creek has a working railway that you paddle under and bottlenose dolphins can follow you the length of the journey. If you kayak far enough past Bulow landing you can see remnants of chimneys in the marsh from the rice plantation days before the marsh took over. Two and three hour tours can be scheduled here. The group minimum for this tour is 6 and and extra $15 per person is added when the car shuttling is involved. Check out the blog about this paddle here
Want to paddle past history? You can with a Charleston Harbor tour via kayak to Morris Island. Once home to Fort Wagner (think movie Glory), to get to Morris Island from Sunrise Park on James Island, we pass by Fort Sumter. This paddle also needs to be timed with the tides and is by request only (minimum groups of 6, smaller groups can pay the difference). While on Morris Island you can explore the Atlantic side of this barrier island and hopefully find lots of shells and fossilized shark teeth. Trek far enough and you can see the Morris Island light house in the distance. Pack a lunch and just look toward the Charleston Harbor and you might see large pods of dolphins (as many as 30 have been spotted at one time). And if the tide is right, you might even see them strand feeding
Charleston Blackwater Kayak Tours
This little gem is a tributary to the Famous Edisto River nearing it's arrival at the Atlantic Ocean. It is located in and part of the ACE Basin, an area billed by The Nature Conservancy as “One of the last great places on Earth”. While this creek is slightly tidal, from the landing both directions can easily be paddled. Along the banks here you will see Cypress, Tupelo, Cedar, Bay and several other trees suited for these conditions. Many birds can be spotted overhead and in the trees during this blackwater kayak tour. Even though they are endangered, it is not uncommon to spot Swallow Tailed Kites overhead. At just 30 miles from downtown Charleston, it is one of the closest blackwater tour locations to Charleston and well worth the drive. For the 2017 Summer season we are not yet doing regularly scheduled paddles here, they are expected fall of 2017/Spring 2018. This means this paddle is by request only for groups 6 or more. If a smaller group desires to do this paddle we can tentatively schedule it and they can either pay for the group of 6 rate or we can publicly promote it through various channels and hopefully add others to it.
Fresh water marsh, limestone bluffs and old rice fields line the waterway that is Wadboo Creek. A tributary of the Cooper River, Wadboo was once home to grand plantations and a booming antebellum economy. The limestone bluffs are reputed to have been used by the Revolutionary War Hero, General Francis Marion, The Swamp Fox, as hiding places during skirmishes with the British. Paddle back in time with us as we explore the flora, fauna and history of the Cooper River Region. This tour is also by request only for groups of 6 or more.
Step back in time as you paddle along the highway of history. Once the main transportation artery for the region, the Cooper River in this area has changed little today. The Cooper River of Berkley and Charleston Counties was once lined with plantations and rice fields. Remnants of this bygone era are still visible today. Wind through rice canals, past rice trunks, and view grand homes from the water. The views of Historic Pompion Chapel on the bluff are breathtaking. This 3 hour trip through the blackwater river will present unexpected beauty and satisfy the historian in all of us.
Journey down one of the longest free-flowing blackwater rivers in North America. Passing through swamp and bottomland forest, the Edisto is a jewel in the crown that is the ACE Basin. One of the “Last great places on earth,” the ACE Basin is recognized for its wild beauty and unique conservation status. The Edisto is named for the Native Americans that once inhabited the area. Spring fed at its inception and tidal as it flows to the sea, the Edisto is a great way to experience a free-flowing river. Whether you float downstream or ride the tide, this trip is perfect for families and groups that want to stop along the way for picnicking and swimming.
This is a Nationally Recognized and Designated Trail located in the heart of the protected Wambaw Creek Wilderness Area in the Francis Marion National Forest. This beautiful blackwater creek is a tributary to the Santee River and was paddled by the Santee and coastal Plain Indians for thousands of years. The creek is surrounded by a seasonal floodplain swamp where giant 1,000 year old Bald Cypress trees can be seen in the upper section and Water Tupelo, Water Oak, Water Ash, Red Maple and Swamp Dogwood shade the banks of its pristine black waters. It offers spectacular birding and wildlife viewing. Banks of the river reflect geological precedence of the rice era where historical earthen dikes give way to a flooded subtropical forest of abandoned rice fields once owned by prosperous rice plantations. To book to book this kayak tour visit our Sister Site Here.