If you’re looking for an outdoors destination that has it all – beautiful beaches, cypress forests, and interesting cities and towns – look no further than South Carolina. This Southern state is home to world-famous historical landmarks like Fort Sumter and the Charleston Battery, as well as dozens of charming small towns that are perfect for a relaxing getaway. No matter your interests, you’re sure to find something to love in South Carolina. 

South Carolina is an excellent choice for kayaking. The state has over 3,000 miles of coastline and countless rivers and lakes, offering adventure opportunities. While kayaking in South Carolina, you’ll be able to see dolphins and loggerhead turtles, and in some places, alligators. Plus, with so many different kayaking trails, you’re sure to find one that’s perfect for your skill level.

Lake Tugalo Northern Georgia or Western South Carolina

Easy Kayaking Spots in South Carolina

Plenty of leisure paddles and waterways are ideal for beginner kayaks. We offer a few below. Ask your tour guide about other spots in the area if you plan to return. 

Charleston Harbor

Charleston Harbor – Charleston Harbor is an excellent choice for kayakers who want to explore a coastal area. Paddle around picturesque islands, under the Ravenel Bridge, and past historic fortifications. Keep an eye out for dolphins playing in the waves!

Where to launch:

Cooper River

The Cooper River is perfect for kayakers who want to explore a little bit of everything- dark swamps, creeks, rivers, and rice plantations. This river has everything from scenic views of the Charleston skyline to peaceful nature areas. Kayakers can also stop and enjoy a picnic along the way. Blueway Adventures is very informative about the area and can serve as a guide in planning your trip. 

Where to launch:

Lake Tugalo

Lake Tugalo is a beautiful spot for kayaking in South Carolina. It’s located in the northeast part of the state and is known for its clear, cool water and stunning mountain views. There are several great places to launch your kayak on Lake Tugalo, and the scenery is fantastic. If you’re looking for a peaceful, picturesque kayaking experience, Lake Tugalo is worth a visit!

Where to launch:

Capers Island

Capers Island is a barrier island filled with an abundance of wildlife. The estuary draws in nearly 300 migratory birds each year. The island has many landscapes, including maritime upland forests, salt marshes, and brackish ponds. Aside from birds, there are alligators, raccoons, white tail deer, and snakes. 

Where to launch:

Difficult and Technical Kayaking in South Carolina

South Carolina has a variety of paddles suited for those with experience. Kayak fishing is a serious sport in this state and hosts many events. While there are opportunities for kayaking on black water rivers, technical whitewater rapids also go through the form.

Edisto River 

The Edisto River is perfect for kayakers who want to escape it all. This trail gives you 250 miles of black water waters through cypress forests and tupelo swamps. It is one of the most significant undeveloped wetland ecosystems. To add to the adventure, spend the night in one of Carolina Heritage Outfitters’ riverfront tree houses.

Where to launch:

Santee Cooper Lakes

The Santee Cooper Lakes are perfect for kayakers who want bass or catfish. With over 11,000 acres of water to paddle, kayakers can find calm waters for leisurely paddling or head out into the open water for some serious kayak fishing. The lakes host significant fishing events and are part of the major league fishing circuit. There are plenty of places to stop and enjoy the view or take a swim.

Where to launch:

The Chattooga River

The Blue Ridge Mountains feed numerous waterways, including the Chattooga River. Crossing between South Carolina into Georgia, this trail ends at the gorgeous Lake Tugaloo, a reservoir in South Carolina. With an average speed of 49 feet per mile, it’s a fast-flowing river with excellent conditions for whitewater kayaking. 

Where to launch:

The Catawba River

Approximately 200 miles north of the Catawba River is Landsford Canal State Park, which includes a section of the historic canal. The state park is a great starting point for various paddles. If you choose a more relaxing experience, paddle upstream and look for deer, beaver, otter, turkey, and eagles.

Where to launch:

National / State Park Kayaking Spots in South Carolina

South Carolina has over 80,000 acres of protected lands, including beaches, marshes, and rivers that run through valleys. We narrowed it down to ideal parks that are ideal for a paddle. 

Waccamaw River Blue Trail, Waccamaw National Wildlife Refuge

The Waccamaw River Blue Trail is a kayaking trail that runs through the Waccamaw National Wildlife Refuge. This trail is a great way to see some of the wildlife that calls this area home. Some of the common animals that can be seen on the route include alligators, ospreys, raccoons, and deer. The trail is also a great way to see the area’s natural beauty, including the river itself and the many trees and plants that grow in the refuge.

Where to launch:

Devil’s Fork State Park

Devil’s Fork State Park is a great place to go kayaking. The park’s main draw is Lake Jocassee, known for its clear water and beautiful scenery. There are also several hiking trails in the park, which make for a great way to explore the area.  Kayaking is a great way to enjoy the lake, and some rental companies can provide you with everything you need. Devil’s Fork State Park is a great place to spend a day or two exploring the outdoors.

Where to launch:

  • Boat Ramp at Devil’s Fork 538 Jocassee Lake Rd, Salem, SC 29676 

Congaree National Park

Congaree National Park is located in South Carolina and is known for its cypress swamps and hardwood bottomlands. The park offers a variety of outdoor activities, including kayaking. The scenery in the park is beautiful, with towering trees and lush vegetation. Wildlife, including alligators, deer, and birds, can be seen throughout the park.

Where to launch:

Bull Island

Kayaking in Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge and Bull Island is a great way to explore the area and see the wildlife. The refuge is home to various animals, including alligators, bald eagles, ospreys, and dolphins. Many hiking trails lead through the sanctuary so that you can explore on foot. Kayaking to Bull island is a scenic 4.5-mile paddle from Garris Landing. Note the waves pick up with the wind, and check weather conditions before heading out.

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Recommended Kayaking Tours in South Carolina

The wetlands that surround the beautiful city of Charleston display the area’s rich biodiversity. Common sightings on this include turtles, dolphins, and numerous birds. This is an excellent tour for small groups with children with easy and intermediate-level kayaking. Book here.

Broad Creek Wildlife Area is a beautiful area to explore. A paddle will take you through saltwater marshes and tidal creeks. 2-Hour Guided Kayak Nature Tour of Hilton Head 

Need to Know for South Carolina

South Carolina is home to various outdoor landscapes that are perfect for exploring. The Appalachian Mountains offer hiking and camping opportunities, while the beaches are great for swimming, sunbathing, and surfing. There are also several national parks and forests in the state, such as the Congaree National Park and the Sumter National Forest. 

When to Visit South Carolina

There are many annual events held in South Carolina that attract visitors from all over the world. The most popular include the Charleston Wine and Food Festival, the Spoleto Festival USA, and the Heritage Classic Foundation Golf Tournament.

The best time to visit South Carolina depends on what you want to do while you’re here. If you’re interested in outdoor activities, spring and fall are the best times. The weather is mild, and there are fewer crowds. If you want to experience the state’s festivals and events, summer is the best time to visit.

Weather in South Carolina

Greenville, South Carolina, has a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. The average high temperature in the summer is 89 degrees, while the average low is 62 degrees. In the fall, the average high temperature is 73 degrees, and the average low is 47 degrees. The average high temperature in the winter is 51 degrees, and the average low is 32 degrees. In the spring, the average high temperature is 64 degrees, and the average low is 43 degrees.

The city experiences an annual rainfall of 54 inches, most of which falls during summer. Greenville does experience occasional thunderstorms and tornadoes, so check the weather forecast before your visit. The average temperature in January, typically the coldest month of the year, is 41 degrees. The average temperature in July, typically the hottest month of the year, is 88 degrees.

Greenville, South Carolina, is a wonderful city to visit for anyone looking for a charming Southern retreat. There is something for everyone in Greenville with plenty of things to do downtown, as well as outdoor activities and attractions throughout the rest of the city. Check out the calendar of events on the Visit Greenville SC website to see what’s happening during your visit. And don’t forget to enjoy some of the delicious food this area is known for!

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