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Charleston Kayak & Paddleboard Tours

Shop Information

Nature Adventures offers kayak and stand up paddleboard tours to explore the beautiful South Carolina coast.  Our tour guides are very knowledgeable and dedicated. Their educational backgrounds range from Marine Biologists to Pro Birders, Master Naturalists to world traveling adventurers. You will most certainly learn something on every tour about the tidal salt marsh ecology, the local history of Shem Creek or Charleston’s relevance to the Revolutionary, 1812 and Civil Wars.  Experience the incredible waters, wildlife and history of the area during one of our Charleston kayak and SUP tours!

Our shop is conveniently located 15 minutes from downtown Charleston near Shem Creek Park.  Depending on the tour you choose, there are various meeting points which will be sent with the trip confirmation.

Nature Adventures is committed to the conservation and preservation of our environment.  When you paddle with us you are helping to save the land and animals around us.   It is our hope that every paddler, hiker and visitor to our area leaves with a greater understanding, education and appreciation for the environment and that they carry on a commitment to help other conservation organizations as well.  We give generously in both time and resources to environmental awareness organizations each year. When you Paddle with us, you are helping to save the environment. We appreciate your support!

Tour Information

Our Shem Creek tours paddle around the tidal salt marsh of Shem Creek and the waters surrounding Crab Bank Island.  Conditions dictate where we go. This is done to ensure safety and as pleasurable of an experience as possible.  We offer the tours by kayak or stand up paddleboard.  Kayak tours are our most popular, and both single and tandems are available.  On the other hand, the perspective one gets from SUP is amazing. You can see into the water easier than in a kayak which means you can spot stingrays, fish and other wildlife quicker. Dolphins are often seen on Shem Creek and they seem to love breaching next to groups of paddleboards so close you could touch them, but don’t.

Our tours use lightweight Werner and Harmony Carbon/Fiberglass/Plastic Paddles and 70+ high end Wilderness Systems and Perception kayaks. Nature Adventure kayaks range from 13′ – 17′ long and are a variety of sit inside and sit on top kayaks. We make every effort to accommodate your preference and body type.

Restrictions: Ages 4 and up welcome. Ages 14 and up can paddle in single kayaks if desired. 13 and under must be in a Tandem 2 person kayak with someone 14 or older. Minors under the age of 17 must be accompanied by an Adult over 18 years of age.

 

Charleston Kayak & Paddleboard Tours Single Kayak/SUP Tandem Kayak for 1 Adult Tandem Kayak for 2 Adults Tandem Kayak for 1 Adult & 1 Child
2 Hour Shem Creek & Crab Bank Island Kayak Tour $45 $45 $90 $80
3 Hour Shem Creek & Crab Bank Island Kayak Tour $59 $59 $118 $99
Full Moon Kayak Paddle on Shem Creek $59 $59 $118 $99
2 Hour Shem Creek SUP Tour $45

 

Historic Shem Creek
This is our most popular option. Shem Creek is rich with history as a commercial fishing and shrimping creek. What you see will be based on tides, weather conditions and your group's paddling abilities. However, when you go up the creek you will see majestic Grand Live Oak trees, remnants of former rice mills (at lower tides), Great Blue Herons, Great Egrets, American Oyster Catchers and many more feeding on the creek's Pluff mud edges and in the oyster beds. When headed toward the Charleston Harbor on a tour you will pass Red's Ice House which allowed for upwards of 120 fishing/shrimping vessels too be accommodated with ice daily during the peak of Shem Creek's commercial use. You will also be able to head toward and possibly around a Department of Natural Resources protected sand band called Crab Bank Island (off limits to human foot traffic March 15 – October 15 every year  during migratory bird mating season).  On the shallow Mount Pleasant side of Crab Bank dolphins, jumping mullet fish and manatees  (when the water temps are high enough) can often be seen. From this spot you will be able to see the Old Village of Mount Pleasant, Sullivans Island, Fort Sumter, Downtown Charleston, Fort Sumter, Fort Johnson, Castle Pinckney and the Arthur Ravenell Jr. bridge. 2 and 3 hour tours are most common here, however we do often 4 hour picnic and paddle options that can take you up the Intracoastal Waterway to look for seashell and fossilized shark teeth. Shem Creek has the most pre-scheduled tours and it is quite easy to join one even as a single if the minimum of 2 has been met.  

Q What should I wear?

For kayak tours, comfortable clothing that you are ok getting wet is ideal. Many people opt for shorts and a t-shirt that are quick dry. For cooler temperatures, dress in layers that protect from wind or moisture. Tennis shoes, water shoes, or other shoes that will stay on your feet are preferred over flip flops. For SUP tours, you may wish to have water shoes or Teva style sandals that strap on your feet or even old tennis shoes or crocs. Flip flops can be slippery and can cause injury. We strongly recommend wearing shoes as there are some oyster beds in the area. Most people opt for either a bathing suit, or shorts and a t-shirt. Hat, bottled water or gatorade, sunscreen and sunglasses are also recommended. Bottled water can be purchased at our neighbor, Mt. Pleasant Seafood. We offer hats, visors, sunscreen and small drybags for purchase at our location.

Q Are there age restrictions?

Yes. Children must be at least 4 to get on the water, and at least 14 to be in a kayak or on a SUP by themselves. An adult must be present with teenagers under the age of 18. It is also advisable to bring a snack for children. Minors under the age of 17 must be accompanied by an Adult over 18 years of age.

Q When should I arrive?

If you are going on a tour, plan to arrive 15-20 minutes before your scheduled tour time.

Q Do I need a reservation?

For a tour, a reservation is essential, preferably at least 24 hours in advance. We will allow some walk ups for tours if there is room. Time is needed to prepare boats, so only if there is time to do so, can you walk up and join a tour. Please be aware that we frequently run out of SUPs and kayaks during the busy summer months so calling ahead or booking online will guarantee your reservation.

Q Where should I park?

Please do not park in Water's Edge, Vickery's, or Mt. Pleasant Seafood parking lots unless you plan to have lunch there. If you arrive before 10:00 a.m. it will be much less crowded than any other time of day. There are multiple tours that go out at 10:00 a.m. and 2 p.m., so if you are arriving at during those times for a rental, it can take some extra time to get you on the water.

Q What’s your cancellation policy?

Nature Adventures has a 24 hour cancellation policy. If you cancel your tour or rental 24 hours in advance there will be no cancellation fee charged and you will be refunded the full amount. Special events and groups have a different cancellation policy.

Cancellation of tours within 24 hours, you will be charged the full amount of your trip. Keeping our tours small and our guides on call, other clients were prevented from booking and the guide scheduled was impacted.

Inclement weather cancellations will be determined by Nature Adventures when winds are too high and/or there is heavy rain/lightening. You will not be charged a cancellation fee and will be refunded the full amount if you are unable to move to a different date and time.

Special Events, large groups (10 or more people) and team building have a 7 day cancellation policy. Because we can only accommodate a fixed number of large groups daily, other clients are prevented from booking.

Q What forms of payment do you accept?

For your convenience, we accept a variety of payment options: Cash • Visa • MasterCard • Discover • American Express • Traveler's checks

Q What happens if I’m scheduled for a tour but it’s rainy?

If it’s light rain, your tour can still go out. If there is lightning or high winds, no customers will be allowed on the water. We will call you before the tour to let you know if we must cancel. It can be rainy in one part of Charleston and still be beautiful weather at your tour location; if it is raining where you are, that does not necessarily mean your tour will be cancelled. Dolphins love light rain and sometimes tours can be very interesting watching them play in it.

Q Can my dog go out with me?

Unfortunately we don't allow animals on tours.

Q Is there a place to leave my belongings?

We suggest you lock valuables in your car, and we are happy to hold keys for you. If you want to take your cell phone on the water with you, you may wish to bring a dry bag or purchase one (sold for $4 on location).

Q I’m doing a backwater tour, are there bathrooms out there?

You will want to stop and use the facilities on your way there. There are no restrooms at the site where we launch the kayaks. It is a wilderness area, so primitive restroom use only in the woods!

Q I’ve never been before, do you give us instructions before we get in the water?

Of course! We will give you detailed instructions of how to safely paddle and maneuver in the water. We will also show you a map of the Shem creek area if you are renting in that location. Our guides will help you in and out of the water as well.

Q How much should I tip my tour guide?

If you had a great time, 15-25% is customary for tours. If you didn’t have a great time, please let management know why.

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