10 Ways to Get on the Water in the Holy City, Part One
There are so many ways to take advantage of Charleston’s waterways, and the end of August is a good time. From cruising to Bulls Island via ferry to paddling to a remote island via kayak, the adventures are many. We’ve compiled a list so good we’re breaking it up into two posts, so check back next month for the next installment and start planning your next adventure.
Tall Ship Sunset Cruise
Mingle with dolphins, pelicans, and gulls aboard the only three-sail tall ship in Charleston! Schooner Pride sails during the day, daily, but we recommend the sunset cruise to really beat the Holy City heat and take in the view of downtown with a magnificent backdrop of the multi-colored skies. Board at the Aquarium Wharf and float past the Battery, Fort Sumter, the USS Yorktown and Castle Pinckney.
Bulls Island Ferry
Boarding on the Isle of Palms, the Bulls Island Ferry is a naturalist-guided tour through the estuary to Bulls Island, where you have a chance to explore some 16 miles of trails and seven miles of undeveloped shoreline to discover bald eagles, dolphins, alligators, bobcats, otters, and more across the 66,000-acre Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge. Sound like your cup of tea? Check out coastalexpeditions.com for more info and to book your tickets. PS: Coastal Expeditions was named Best Coastal Detour by Southern Living.
Kayak Charleston SC takes the kayaking tour of the Lowcountry a step further by leading overnight black water and saltwater expeditions. For the black water expedition, for example, kayakers work their way down the Santee River, exploring canals, black water creeks, brackish water marshes, and fresh water islands along the way and camp out on an island or riverbank. Expect to see bald eagles, sallow-tailed kites, hawks, wetland birds, alligators, river otter, deer, wild boar, and more while absorbing the surreal history of waters once paddled by the Santee Indians.
Jam on the Water
There are plenty of great harbor tours out there, but this one‘s a little more rock ‘n’ roll than most. Jam on the Water features local bands taking on the catalogs of legendary acts, like Led Zeppelin, Grateful Dead, and the Rolling Stones. It runs on various Friday evenings throughout the summer and fall, with the final show with 54 Bicycles performing songs by Widespread Panic, happening on Fri. Nov. 17, 2017. Board the Carolina Queen at the City Marina on Lockwood Drive at 6:30, grab a Sweetwater brew, and sail from 7 until 9 p.m.
No matter how you slice it, paddleboarding is one of the coolest ways to explore Charleston’s waterways. There are several places that do tours, and you can rent out paddleboards should you want to be the master of your own destiny. Charleston SUP Safaris lets you rent a board for a few hours or several days if needed, or they’ll lead you on a two-hour marsh tour through remote creeks, marsh fields, and saltwater wilderness behind Folly Beach, where they’ll point out local ecosystems, wildlife, and flora. Charleston SUP Safaris was voted #1 Stand Up Paddle Co. by the Charleston City Paper
Charleston has no shortage of amazing waterways, and there is just as much variety in the ways you can enjoy them. Next week we’ll bring you part two, but in the meantime, get on the water this weekend and cool off!
It’s beach season and there is no doubt that each one of Charleston’s beaches has it’s own charm. I would say that all are worth a visit, and you can pick one that suites your mood! If you’re looking for surf and are feeling adventurous, Folly is for you. If you’re looking for a great beach to take the kids to, Isle of Palms is where you should be. Want to go kiteboarding? Head on over to Sullivan’s. Each week we will be featuring a different local beach, and this week it’s all about Isle of Palms! Read on to see some rules, guidelines, and what to expect at Charleston’s most family-friendly beach.
Out of all the beaches in Charleston, Isle of Palms offers the most family-friendly shores (and is my personal favorite!). Because this beach has a bucket of rules and a ton of tourists, there are a few things you should know before packing up the family and heading out for a day of fun in the sun. Isle of Palms beach doesn’t allow alcohol, glass bottles, bonfires, camping, fireworks, or, of course, littering. So if you’re a college kid looking for a party, this beach probably isn’t for you. Dogs are allowed on the Isle of Palms beach as long as they are kept on a leash at all times (even when they are in the water) except from 5 am to 8 am, making it able to get your morning walk with your pooch in.
Holes that your children may dig while making mystical castles must be filled in when they are done. This keeps baby sea turtles from getting stuck on their way to the water and grandma from falling in and breaking a hip. Isle of Palms safety officers and lifeguards also need to be able to get around on their beach carts without breaking an axel.
The beaches on Isle of Palms are open and windy, making this the perfect place for kitesurfing. There aren’t many surfers here, since the waves are pretty small. You will occasionally see surfers here, although usually beginners. If you do want to take a crack at surfing, make sure you stay 100 feet from swimmers and 200 feet from the pier if you don’t want a hefty fine.
If you’re looking for a beach with a lifeguard, head to the Isle of Palms County Park on 14th Street. You can park here for $5 and you will find restrooms, showers, picnic tables, ice cream, and chair and umbrella rentals (although I recommend you bring your own – it’s rather pricey). Make sure you pop into our dunes properties office right there on the corner and say hi!
There are plenty of things to do on Isle of Palms if laying in the sun and playing in the sand isn’t for you. Aside from kitesurfing, you could make your way to the back side of the Island where you will find the IOP Marina and you can rent wave runners, go parasailing, or go on a fishing charter. If you’re in need of any beach gear, pop in to Isle Surf Co.
For lunch, check out Windjammer, where you can eat, drink, listen to live music, and even sing a little. Banana Cabana has great seasonal food and a beachfront bar, and Coconut Joe’s offers Island-inspired dishes and a rooftop bar. If you’re looking for pizza, ice cream, or some cute shops to browse in, stroll around The Front Beach Area.
Overall, the Isle of Palms beach is a family-friendly, clean, pleasant beach where you don’t need to worry about alcohol, rowdiness, or parties. Get ready for a day full of relaxation or adventure, whatever you choose! If you decide that Isle of Palms beach isn’t for you, check out the blog post we did last week on Folly Beach and make sure you stay tuned, next week we are featuring Sullivan’s Island.