Capers Island is an undeveloped barrier island and one of the few islands you can camp on in Charleston. If you're up for an adventure, load up your kayak and head out to this island for an overnight or multi-night stay on one of the most beautiful reserves in the area.
Capers Island is a 3 mile stretch of undeveloped barrier island just a mere 15 miles north of Charleston that boasts wildlife, camping, and primitive trails. Just 3 miles from the shore, the island is only accessible by boat, and is also one of the only islands that allows primitive camping.. with a permit, that is. Capers is made up of 850 acres of upland forest, 214 acres of beach, 1,090 acres gorgeous marshland, and 100 acres of brackish water impoundments. This combined makes Capers Island one of the best camping spots in the South Carolina Lowcountry.
The major trail on Capers is the McCaskill Trail, which starts at the dock on the south end of the island. From there, there is approximately 5 miles of a combined “au natural” trail that will at some points be overgrown, and other times be an old road bed (which makes things a little more straightforward). Hiking here is easy and beautiful, with the wildlife keeping you company and the trails making it easy for you with their relatively flat nature. Be on the lookout for poison ivy and poison oak, as they do inhabit this island. If you are going to need any food or drink while you are out on Capers, make sure to bring it with you. The beauty of this island is that it is pristine and undeveloped; therefore, there are no facilities once you leave the mainland.
Camping on the island is strictly by permit from SC Department of Natural Resources, and they only hand out 80 for a night. These permits are free, just make sure to go through the right channels. Camping is only allowed on the North and South ends of the island. Luckily, campfires are allowed on the island, so enjoy your night of crashing waves and unpolluted stars next to a warm, cozy fire.
What Makes it Great
You name it: Boneyard Beach, Osprey nesting sites, alligators, deer, primitive camping and trails, 1,090 acres of marshland. This island is known to the locals for its beauty and pristine beaches. Only accessible by boat, the potential for people is minimal. Especially in the cooler months. That means less crowded trails and more island to yourself.
What You Will Remember
You might catch a loggerhead sea turtle searching for a nest, or spend the night with your friends camping on the beach. Either way, you will feel like you are in the middle of nowhere. Make sure you bring mosquito repellent with you, however. You will need it about 8 months out of the year.
Who’s Going To Love It
Hikers will love it for its flat and easy trails and excellent sightseeing and wildlife viewing. There aren’t any inclines and hardly any obstacles in your path to trip you up. Just your thoughts and perhaps a wary eye on the local alligator. Campers will love it for its seclusion from the city and the unadulterated presence of the stars. Top that off with waking up at sunrise on the beach, and you have yourself one good camping trip.
Parking, Trailheads, and Hours
To get out to Capers Island, you will either have to go with a local kayak expedition or paddle out there on your own. Most people put in at Garris Landing (for a longer paddle route to Capers) or Gadsenville Public Boat Landing.