Best Places to Kayak in South Carolina

Canoes and Kayaks

If you want to have a kayaking adventure, South Carolina is the place to be. With a myriad of waterways, it proves itself as the best spot for kayaking and other water sports. From wild rivers to serene lakes, South Carolina has it all.

The variety of waterways will not just allow you to have fun on the water, but you will also be treated to glamorous scenery, and the bonus is witnessing the wildlife that resides in these areas.

So if you wish to kayak in South Carolina, keep reading to find out all the best places to go and all the fun things to do there.

Myrtle Beach

Myrtle Beach is located on the Atlantic coast and comprises a 60-mile string of beaches. It boasts family parks and golf courses with arcades, souvenir stands, and restaurants. The beaches are a perfect spot for kayaking, and you will have so much more to do as well!

Here are some excellent spots to kayak at Myrtle Beach.

The Waccamaw River

If you wish to kayak in Myrtle Beach, the Waccamaw River is not to miss. It has slow-moving waters that run past rice fields and marsh stretches. So not only do you get to kayak peacefully, but you also get to look at all the beautiful sceneries.

You can avail of the guided tours that are available in the region. They should cost you around $25-$40 per person. As part of the kayak tours in Myrtle Beach, the Waccamaw River Tours will take you through the wild swamps of Pee Dee and the peaceful Heritage Trust land.

You can use the Myrtle Beach kayak rentals if not a guided tour. You can rent a kayak at $10 per hour, watch the wildlife and enjoy the serenity of the Waccamaw River.

waccamaw river kayak in san diego

Waties Island

The Waties Island kayak tour begins at Cherry Grove, where they plan to catch the outgoing wave. This makes it easy to paddle to the island. The area features large expanses of salt marshes where you can see wildlife like blue herons, egrets, marsh hens, oystercatchers, and black shimmers. All in one place!

If you wish to go for a guided kayak, it will cost you around $35 to $40 per person and last for a maximum of five hours, giving you plenty of time to go for a swim if you want to.

If you would rather use the kayak rentals, Myrtle Beach has got it too! You can rent a kayak at $30-$35 per person and explore Waties Island all by yourself. You won’t be under a time constraint, so you can even spend the whole day with the waters and the wildlife.

watie island kayak in south carolina

Cherry Grove

The Cherry Grove is a saltwater marsh that is budding with wildlife. Herons, bald eagles, ospreys, brown pelicans- you get to see them all. Additionally, it is a park open all year long to visit in any weather you prefer.

The area is named after sour cherry trees, which you will find aplenty in the Grove, along with the blooming ecosystem of the marsh.
Guided tours begin at $25-$30 per person and last for around two hours. On the other hand, if you’d rather go into the groove by yourself, you can rent a kayak for $20-$25 per person.

These tours start with the tide to make peddling easier, so you should plan accordingly.

cherry grove kayak in south carolina


If you go kayaking in South Carolina, Charleston should be on your list. There are many options: Shem Creek, Capers Island, Penny Creek, and much more. Let’s dive into all the places you can go kayaking in Charleston, South Carolina.

Visit Coastal Expeditions for Kayak & Paddle Boards rentals, as well as guided tours around Charleston.

Shem Creek

The Charleston, SC kayak scene is incomplete without mentioning Shem Creek. The Shem Creek kayak tours will take you through the historic Shem Creek. The tours usually begin in the saltwater marsh area along with shrimp boats and restaurants that line the creek.

The tour will take you to Crab Bank Island, a bird sanctuary. Here, you will see hundreds of birds, including the Eastern Brown Pelicans and Wilson Plover species. You will also spot dolphins and, at times, a manatee in the water. So Shem Creek is the perfect spot for kayaking with some wildlife.

Guided tours will cost around $48 per person. Renting a kayak and exploring the wildlife is another excellent option. You can rent a kayak for $45 per person.

shem creek kayak in south carolina

Capers Island

Capers Island boasts a stunning ecosystem. Located 15 miles north of Charleston, this spot is perfect for kayaking. As you kayak in the waters, you will see shrimp and Atlantic menhaden jumping out of the water.

You’re likely to spot some herons and egrets near the bank looking for some food. Large spreads of oyster beds will come into view when the water pulls back. If you go kayaking when the tide is low, you may be greeted by some bottlenose dolphins.

A guided kayak tour is recommended since the guide can enlighten you with information about the wildlife you spot and where to spot them. Guided excursions cost up to $60 per person. You can also rent a kayak and discover the wildlife for yourself. The kayak rental for one person will cost around $45.

Isle of Palms

Although located 12 miles from it, like all of Charleston, Isle of Palms has a blooming ecosystem with many wildlife to spot. The calm waters are surrounded by marsh grass and shorebirds here and there, making it the perfect place to relax and soak in nature.

You will see the birds and marine life up close and personal, as well as kayak with dolphins! The Isle of Palm kayak tours cost approximately $70 for adults and $50 for children, and the tours can last up to a couple of hours. Or you can make use of kayak rentals. Charleston, SC, has a lot of them for around $45 for a single kayak and $55 for double kayaks.

kayak in south carolina

Can you kayak with Dolphins in Charleston SC?

Yes, you can go kayaking with dolphins in Charleston, SC. Kayak or paddle the waters off the Folly River or through the calm salty creeks of Folly Beach.

Here, you will get to learn about the fantastic wildlife and beautiful natural phenomena like barrier islands (a constantly changing deposit of sand) and oyster beds.
These waters are the homes of the most friendly water animals; dolphins. So you can expect a lot of fun when kayaking with our sea friends.

Suppose you would like to go on a guided excursion through these waters. You can opt for a guided tour that will cost you approximately $50 per person and around $30 for children.
However, if you’d rather explore the place yourself, you can go for some kayak rentals. Charleston, SC has a lot of those, so you will easily find one. And it will cost up to $45 per person.
Tip: Go for glass bottom kayaks to view the water life better!

folly beach sc kayak in south carolina

Hilton Head

Hilton Head is another great place to kayak in South Carolina. You can go out on the waters with your family and get a guided tour with an expert showing you everything that needs to be seen. Or you can utilize rentals and kayak Hilton Head all on your own.
Here are some spots in Hilton Head that you should not miss.

Calibogue Sound

An excellent place to kayak on Hilton Head Island is the Calibogue Sound. It is an ocean channel and has several other streams that branch off of it. This is a place where you can kayak with the dolphins!

It is a popular spot for the friendly mammals who scavenge the Sound for their feed. You might also spot some manatees who have swum up from Florida, some cannonball jellyfish, and horseshoe crabs.

You can either opt for a guided tour or a kayak rental. Hilton Head has a lot of those, so they should be easy to come by.

Calibogue Sound kayak in south carolina

Broad Creek

Broad Creek is the largest creek in Hilton Head. Some marshes and streams emerge from the creek. Like all of South Carolina, this place too has some spectacular wildlife, with the likes of cranes and herons that roam freely in the marshlands of Broad Creek.

Being a creek, it has water flowing in and out. So the best time for you to visit is when the tide is high, or you will have to double the work, paddling against the tides.

broad creek sc

May River

One of the streams branching off from Calibogue Sound is the May River. Although a little away from Hilton Head, it is worth the adventure. Some kayak tours on Hilton Head island do feature the May River.

The May River heads west. Here you can keep close to the shoreline and enjoy the numerous wildlife or have a picnic on a sheltered sandbar.

Palmetto Dunes Lagoon Channels

Kayaking Hilton Head, South Carolina, is incomplete without the Palmetto Lagoon channels. It is an 11-mile lagoon system that offers peaceful and quiet waters for kayaking. It is not crowded, unlike other water channels, providing a much more welcome respite from the vast numbers.

The channels wind and twist around the golf courses and neighborhoods, so it offers a very different view from the usual wildlife in other streams. You can also fish when kayaking in the Palmetto dunes.

Palmetto Dunes Lagoon Channels

Jarvis Creek

Jarvis Creek is the best option for those who have just begun kayaking. Much different from other places to kayak in Hilton Head, SC, Jarvis Creek has smooth and calm waters. It does not have boat traffic you would typically encounter at other streams so you can enjoy the views in peace.

If you want to get up close and personal with the wildlife, going out at low tide is your best bet. Then, when the water recedes, it gives you enough room to get out of your kayak, walk around and explore.
These were all the places to kayak on Hilton Island.

jarvis creek


Now that you know all the places to kayak in South Carolina, here are a few tips. On your kayaking trips, always remember to bring sunscreen (and reapply it every few hours) to avoid getting sunburnt.

Carry snacks and plenty of water; paddling will use up your energy reserves. Never forget to carry a small first aid kit in your dry bags. Most importantly, keep a spare PFD on board. You may never know when you end up needing one. Read here to find out PFD laws and everything you need to know about life jackets.

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