Explore Charleston by Boat, Bike or Kayak

By:Marie McAden

Date:8/7/2012

Sunset at Shem Creek in Charleston Harbor
Nature Adventures Kayak and Canoe Outfitters offers guided tours to Charleston Harbor through Shem Creek, home to the local shipping fleet.


Looking for a little getaway from your golf-watching vacation on Kiawah? Historic Cha​rleston is just a pleasant 45-minute drive from the PGA Cham​pionship venue.

You can take a carriage ride, hop aboard a bus or follow a guide on a walking tour of the seaport town, named the Readers’ Choice Top U.S. City by Condé Nast Traveler. Or you can think outside the box and experience Charleston from a different perspective.

Here are a few suggestions:

A classic sailboat

The 42-foot Alden Caravelle​ yawl “Cythera” lends itself to the romantic setting of a Southern city steeped in history. Its classic lines and handcrafted teak deck are as beautiful as Charleston’s downtown cityscape.

Flying across the channel, the wind filling your sails, you can feel the energy of Charleston’s bustling harbor — the life force that has driven the city since English colonists settled here in 1670.

Book a two- to three-hour afternoon cruise for up to six passengers on the “Cythera” for $375. A sunset sail runs $425. Your sailing trip will begin at Charleston Harbor Marina in Mount Pleasant where the sailboat is docked. For more information or to make a reservation, click he​re or call (843) 388-9242.

Biking the Historic District

Pedaling at a leisurely five miles an hour, you can cover Charleston’s entire peninsula in about an hour by bike. But take your time and poke around the cobblestone alleys South of Broad. Peek through wrought iron gates at the beautiful sculpted gardens. Admire the antebellum architecture of the grand old homes.

And then when you’re all warmed up, head to the Ravenel Bridge, the longest cable stay span in North America. Opened in the summer of 2005, the 2.7-mile bridge over the Cooper River has become one of Charleston’s must-see attractions.

The view from the top is fantastic — and it gives you a great excuse to stop and catch your breath after ascending the three-tenth of a mile long section featuring a 5.6 percent slope.

You can rent a bike for $20 a day at Affordabike. Click ​here or call (843) 789-3281.

Kayaking Shem Creek

Home to the local shrimping fleet, the historic 2.5-mile Shem Creek offers easy access to Charleston Harbor and a 22-acre island that serves as a sanctuary for a number of shorebirds, including black skimmers, American oystercatchers, willets, ibis, tricolored herons and the state threatened species, Wilson’s plover.

Nature Adventures Kayak​ and Canoe Outfitters offers guided trips through Shem Creek and around Crab Bank Seabird Sanctuary. During the nesting season, which runs from March 15 through Oct. 15, there are literally thousands of birds on the island. You’ll also enjoy a stunning panorama of Charleston’s downtown skyline, Ravenel Bridge, Castle Pinckney, Fort Sumter, the Sullivan Island lighthouse and Patriots Point.

Tours are $39 for a 2-2 ½-hour excursion ($29 for kids ages 12 and younger), $55 for 3-3 ½ hours ($39 for kids) and $85 for a full day of paddling ($48 for kids).

Walk-ups are welcome, but if you’d like to book a trip in advance, call (843) 568-3222 or click ​h​ere.

Related Content

Charleston Charters Offer Coastal Sailing Experience
Yearning to sail the high seas? Whether it’s a sunset cruise or overnight adventure, the Charleston area offers plenty of options to choose from. And you’ll get to see the historic city from a whole new perspective.
The Treehouses on Edisto
Paddle down the Edisto River for an overnight stay in one of Carolina Heritage Outfitters’ three treehouses. It’s a truly unforgettable experience, and as with any adventure, getting there is half the fun.

Featured Products

Nature Adventures Kayak, Canoe, Standup Paddleboard and Hiking Outfitters
Coast

Mount Pleasant

Coast

Coast

The
Coast Region

Learn More
Charleston's Oldest Naturalist Guide Service! Paddle through gentle, blackwater swamps and rivers with 1,000-year-old cypress trees, into salt marshes with Indian ruins o ...
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 ...

Featured products and attractions in "Explore Charleston by Boat, Bike or Kayak"

Nearby Attractions

  • {{item.name}}

You might also like:

Walhalla State Fish Hatchery
Mountains

Mountain Rest

Mountains

Mountains

The
Mountains Region

Learn More
Built in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps, this is the only trout hatchery in South Carolina. Some 150,000 pounds of rainbow, brown and brook trout are raise ...
Christmas in Hopelands
Midlands

Aiken

Midlands

Midlands

The
Midlands Region

Learn More
The Annual Christmas in Hopelands light exhibit takes place at Hopelands Gardens in Aiken, South Carolina. Christmas in Hopelands is open from 6:00 pm to 9:30 pm each nig ...
River Runner Outdoor Center
Midlands

Columbia

Midlands

Midlands

The
Midlands Region

Learn More
Guided canoe and kayak eco-tours of the Saluda, Congaree Swamp, Broad and other rivers statewide. Personal and group tours available. Call for rates and reservations. ...
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 ...
Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge
Coast

Awendaw

Coast

Coast

The
Coast Region

Learn More
A stretch of barrier islands and salt marshes that make up one of the nation's most outstanding wildlife refuges. The 66,287-acre refuge is a true wilderness experience. ...
Carolina Sandhills National Wildlife Refuge
Midlands

McBee

Midlands

Midlands

The
Midlands Region

Learn More
The endangered red-cockaded woodpecker is among the many animals and plants found on this 46,000-acre national wildlife refuge. An observation tower, a photography blind ...