Charleston Charters Offer Coastal Sailing Experience

By:Marie McAden


It’s a scene straight out of the pages of Condé Nast Traveler, a classic 50-foot sloop sailing along the coast against the backdrop of a brilliant sunset.

You don’t have to count yourself among the rich and famous to enjoy this romantic fantasy. Charleston charters offer a wide range of sailing experiences — from two-hour trips in the harbor to overnight excursions to neighboring Beaufort and Daufuskie Island.

On a two- or three-hour sail, you can cruise by Charleston’s famed Rainbow Row, the historic Battery and Fort Sumter, birthplace of the Civil War. And you’ll get a spectacular perspective of the seaport city’s skyline with its many church spires.

Expect to pay $300 for a private two-hour cruise for up to six passengers. A full day on the water will run you $700 or more, depending on the size of the boat. Most of the trips are skippered by a captain, but rentals and bareboat charters also are available for experienced sailors.

If you want more than a taste of the good life, book an overnight trip to a nearby port of call. Along with two full days of sailing, you’ll experience what it’s like to sleep aboard a yacht.

On these charters, you typically leave the marina around 9 a.m. and sail out of Charleston Harbor into the Atlantic Ocean. A mile off shore, the water turns from a murky green to a vibrant blue. It’s not unusual to have dolphins playing in the boat’s wake as you roll over the swells.

Overnight charters usually include lunch the first day and breakfast and lunch the second. For dinner, passengers can choose from the restaurant offerings at their overnight destination.

One of the most popular overnight spots is Bohicket Marina & Market on Johns Island, the largest island off the South Carolina coast. The trendy complex features an assortment of fun shops and restaurants, including Red’s Ice House, Lucky Luciano’s Pizzeria and the Ice Cream Boat and Coffee House. Dock guests also have access to the private showers and bathrooms at the marina.

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