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Set Off on an Adventure of a Lifetime in South Carolina

Marie McAden Marie McAden
A former staffer with The Miami Herald, Marie moved to SC in 1992. She is passionate about the outdoors, and enjoys exploring the state’s many natural treasures from the Lowcountry to the Upstate.
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National Geographic’s Wild South Carolina Escape includes a visit to Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge.

If adventure travel is on your vacation wish list for this year, look no further than South Carolina. From a National Geographic expedition along the Lowcountry’s remote sea islands to a weekend of whitewater fun on the National Wild and Scenic Chattooga River, South Carolina offers fascinating destinations and stunning landscapes to explore.

The diversity of trips includes:


National Geographic’s Wild South Carolina Escape: A Voyage to Beaufort and the Barrier Islands 

Overview: Sail among the sea islands of South Carolina, exploring wetlands, wild beaches, dunes, maritime forests and sites that recount the history of South Carolina.

Length of excursion: 6 days

Destinations: Beaufort, St. Phillips Island, Botany Bay Plantation on Edisto Island, Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge, Awendaw

Main method of travel: The 62-passenger National Geographic Sea Lion ship

Activities: Visits to historic and cultural sites, walking tours, small boat cruises and easy hikes, with options for longer hikes, kayaking and paddleboarding

Coastal Expeditions’ Santee to Sea Camping + Kayaking

Overview: Set off on a kayaking trip through the spectacular wilderness ecosystems of Francis Marion National Forest, Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge and the Santee Delta. You’ll paddle among ancient bald cypress trees in blackwater swamps to the saltwater estuary along the coast.

Length of excursion: 3 days

Destinations: Echaw Creek, Santee River, Wambaw Creek, Bulls Island

Activities: Kayaking, hiking and camping

St. Phillips Island

Overview: Gather up your favorite vacationing buddies and spend five days on a secluded private island once owned by media mogul Ted Turner. Accessible only by boat, the five-bedroom home is located on a pristine barrier island preserved in its natural state with trails through an ancient maritime forest and miles of natural beach to enjoy.

Length of excursion: 5 days

Destination: St. Phillips Island

Activities: Rental includes use of boat dock, fishing pier, bikes, kayaks, golf carts, beach chairs and birding scope


Carolina Heritage Outfitters’ Edisto River Canoe Trip and Treehouse Overnighter

Overview: Paddle 23 miles of the blackwater Edisto River with an overnight stay in one of three private treehouses nestled in the woods along the riverbank. The rustic accommodations include futons, camp chairs, fire pit, a rope hammock, outdoor grill and gas stove.

Length of excursion: Two days, with the option of additional nights in the treehouse

Destination: St. George

Activities: Canoeing, relaxing by the river

Wildwater offers a two-day whitewater rafting trip on the Chattooga River, along with zip lining and flat-water paddling excursions.

Wildwater’s Chattooga River Adventures

Overview: Renowned for its guided whitewater trips, Wildwater offers an overnight rafting excursion on the National Wild and Scenic Chattooga River with runs on its two most exciting sections. Extend your adventure with a stay at the outfitters’ Long Creek outpost and enjoy zip lining, a guided kayak or stand-up paddleboard tour of Lake Tugaloo and a sit-on-top kayak trip on two of the easier sections of the whitewater river.

Length of excursion: 2 days, with additional outings available

Destinations: Chattooga River, Lake Tugaloo

Activities: Whitewater rafting, river fun, kayaking, paddleboarding, zip lining and ropes course for groups


Carolina Tailwinds’ Blue Ridge of the Carolinas

Overview: Bike the rolling hills of the beautiful South Carolina foothills in one of the best cycling areas in the country. Itinerary includes daily rides from 15 to 68 miles with optional routes featuring challenging climbs.

Length of excursion: 5 days

Destinations: Greenville, South Carolina, and Saluda, Tryon and Brevard, North Carolina

Activities: Epic rides like the Greenville Watershed, Saluda Grade and Green River Cove (one of the hallmark climbs in the annual Hincapie Gran Fondo cycling event), with visits to Jumping Off Rock and Caesars Head State Park

Marie McAden
A former staffer with The Miami Herald, Marie moved to SC in 1992. She is passionate about the outdoors, and enjoys exploring the state’s many natural treasures from the Lowcountry to the Upstate.