3 Spectacular Places to Introduce Your Kids to Kayaking in South Carolina

By:Kerry Egan

Date:9/6/2016

Ever see colorful kayaks out on the water and wish you and your kids could experience the natural world in that way, but have never been paddling before? Well, then South Carolina is the place for you. You can learn to kayak here in some of the most beautiful places in the world, and even confidently venture off on your own.

Check out our suggestions for great places to introduce your family to kayaking.

Charleston’s Shem Creek

Kayaking trip on Shem Creek is a perfect family outing. The creek’s calm and still waters are easy to navigate for even the youngest or most novice paddler. Along the sides of the creek, colorful shrimping boats stretch their long arms over the water. Side creeks through the quiet marshes can make you forget that you’re just a few minutes away from the bustle of the Charleston peninsula. And if the weather is right and the water calm, and the paddlers confident, a short trek out into the harbor gives spectacular views of the Holy City.

At Coastal Expeditions in Mount Pleasant (just over the Ravenal Bridge from Charleston), experienced tour guides tailor the trip to the needs and abilities of each group and provide all equipment and training needed. They’ve even had children as young as two in a tandem kayak with a parent. Kids younger than 13 need to ride with an adult guardian.

The Upstate’s Joccasse Gorges

Jocassee Gorges, far in the Upstate of South Carolina, is an outdoor wonderland. A little known, little seen, little explored treasure of mesmerizing natural beauty, where dozens—maybe hundreds—of waterfalls cascade down rocky cliffs into still, cold water of Lake Jocassee. The only public access to this treasure in through Devil’s Fork State Park, and the way to explore the waterfalls is by boat.

Luckily for families, Expedition Carolina is ready to help people of all ages and abilities explore the Gorges and its waterfalls and lakes. Because it can take hours to paddle around the lake from the park to the waterfalls on far shores, and then hours back again, Expedition Carolina uses pontoon boats to help paddlers make it across the wide lake. That way even novice kayakers can experience lots of amazing waterfalls without having to paddle so far. It's a perfect setup for families with young children, elderly grandparents and everyone in-between.

Columbia’s Saluda River

Ready to finally strike out on your own as a family, with no guide? The Saluda River is the perfect place to take that watery leap. The Saluda as it passes through Columbia, South Carolina’s capital, is a massive and wild river, filled with boulders and sandbars and rapids left behind when the glaciers retreated eons ago. But just upstream from the city, the Saluda is a different river altogether—placid and peaceful, not too wide, and with just enough of a current to help you along. It’s that portion of the Saluda that’s the absolutely perfect place to take a family out on their first unguided kayak trip.

Saluda Shoals Park rents kayaks by the hour or day. They also provide a shuttle service, so that you and your family and paddle down the lovely, leafy river, and pull out at an easy-to-find designated spot on the river. There, a van will meet you to load up your kayaks and paddles and transport you right back to your car after a magical and on the river.

Related Content

Outdoor Adventure at Devils Fork State Park
With so many things to do at Devils Fork State Park, it may take more than one trip to experience them all. Whether you're looking to spend a day on the waters of gorgeous Lake Jocassee or enjoy countless outdoor activities, it's all here.
10 Fun Adventures in the Jocassee Gorges
An extensive network of hiking trails and seasonally open roads makes it easy to explore the Jocassee Gorges wilderness and experience its natural beauty.
Kayak the Broad River in Columbia
Go kayaking on the Broad River for an outside adventure in Columbia, South Carolina. Not far from the capitol, the river is a mixture of light rapids and calm waters perfect for a paddle through the Palmetto State.

Featured Products

City of Charleston
Coast

Charleston

Coast

Coast

The
Coast Region

Learn More
Known as the "Holy City", for its long tolerance for religions of all types, Charleston is the state's most beautiful and historic treasure. Charleston has had a starring ...
City of Columbia
Midlands

Columbia

Midlands

Midlands

The
Midlands Region

Learn More
Columbia combines all the graces of the rich past with the vibrance of the emerging Sun Belt. It's the state capital and home to a major university. One of America's out ...
Coastal Expeditions, Inc.
Coast

Mount Pleasant

Coast

Coast

The
Coast Region

Learn More
This outfitter offers half, full- and multi-day kayaking tours, rentals, sales and instruction. Explore a variety of ecosystems from coastal barrier islands and salt-mars ...
Town of Mount Pleasant
Coast

Mount Pleasant

Coast

Coast

The
Coast Region

Learn More
Mount Pleasant is separated from Charleston, South Carolina, by the Cooper River. For many years it was primarily populated seasonally by Charleston residents wealthy eno ...
Lake Jocassee
Mountains

Salem

Mountains

Mountains

The
Mountains Region

Learn More
Lake Jocassee is a 7,565 acre man-made lake in the South Carolina mountains. Formed by the Whitewater, Thompson, and Toxaway Rivers, it is known for its mostly undevelop ...
Devils Fork State Park
Mountains

Salem

Mountains

Mountains

The
Mountains Region

Learn More
Check Lake Levels Spot a loon or a rambling black bear. Fish for trout in a deep, clear mountain lake. Hike through the glorious spring bloom of rhododendrons. ...
Saluda Shoals Park
Midlands

Columbia

Midlands

Midlands

The
Midlands Region

Learn More
This 400-acre riverfront park, just 1.5 miles from the Lake Murray Dam, offers a river observation deck, an Environmental Education Center and six beautiful picnic shelte ...
Three Rivers Greenway
Midlands

Columbia

Midlands

Midlands

The
Midlands Region

Learn More
Cutting through the heart of the Columbia Riverbanks region, the Saluda and the Broad Rivers meet to form the Congaree River. Enjoy the beauty of the area by walking alon ...

Featured products and attractions in "3 Spectacular Places to Introduce Your Kids to Kayaking in South Carolina"

Nearby Attractions

  • {{item.name}}

You might also like:

Issaqueena Falls/Stumphouse Tunnel
Mountains

Walhalla

Mountains

Mountains

The
Mountains Region

Learn More
A short easy walking trail leads from Stumphouse Mountain Park to Issaqueena Falls, a beautiful 200-ft. cascade. Legend has it that the Indian maiden, Issaqueena, rode to ...
Woods Ferry Recreation Area (Sumter National Forest)
Midlands

Whitmire

Midlands

Midlands

The
Midlands Region

Learn More
Woods Ferry Picnic Area and Boat Ramp Open year round.Picnic area has two picnic shelters and individual picnic tables and grills. Four fishing platforms for bank fishing ...
Table Rock Resort
Mountains

Pickens

Mountains

Mountains

The
Mountains Region

Learn More
Modoc Campground (Corps of Engineers)
Midlands

Modoc

Midlands

Midlands

The
Midlands Region

Learn More
70 sites with water and electric hookups; 4 shower houses; boat ramp; open April 1 - September 30. ...
Kiawah Island Golf Resort
Coast

Kiawah Island

Coast

Coast

The
Coast Region

Learn More
A short 21 miles from Charleston with 10 miles of beach; accommodations include private villas, houses and the resort's oceanfront, five-diamond hotel, The Sanctuary. Th ...
The Campground & Cottages At James Island County Park
Coast

Charleston

Coast

Coast

The
Coast Region

Learn More
James Island County Park is a 643-acre park offering a variety of recreational opportunities from tidal creek fishing to trails for walking, biking and skating, a seasona ...