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.
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
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
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
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
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