To have one of the most exciting and diverse paddling experiences in the backyard of downtown Charleston, you have to check out Shem Creek. Nestled in Mount Pleasant, just a stones throw away from the Arthur Ravenel Bridge, this paddle gives you a little bit of everything. You get the marsh, old crusty shrimping boats, and a beautiful view of the ocean all in one pop, and after you’re done make sure you stop in one of the bars that lines the creek for a refreshing gin and tonic.
What Makes it Great
Well, if the beauty of the marsh won’t do it for you, then maybe dolphins alongside your boat will. The easiest paddle here is to put your boat (or board) in at Shem Creek landing, just off of Coleman Blvd, and take a left towards the ocean. From here you will paddle out of the marsh area and into where restaurants and bars line the creek. This is a great place to tie up and have a drink or some fried food, as both are plentiful at any of these establishments. On the left you will see shrimping boats of every shape and size, with sizeable gull colonies staked out looking for their next meal. Straight ahead of you on this paddle is the ocean and Cat Island. From here, you can turn back and perhaps grab a cold beer on the way, or you can venture out into the ocean for a bit of coastal paddling.
Who’s Going to Love It
This paddle is beautiful and diverse. All types of paddlers should be able to enjoy this one. Make sure you are keeping an eye on the motorized boat traffic however, as Shem Creek can get very busy during the warmer and more pleasant days. Make sure you also pack water, bug spray, and a hat. Especially in the summer to keep the sun and bugs at bay.
Directions, Parking and Hours
Shem Creek Park is a pretty easy find. From downtown Charleston, find your way over the Ravenel Bridge via East Bay Street. Keep right off of the bridge towards Coleman Blvd. From here, you will want to continue about 2 miles until you take a left on Mill Street. The put-in is at the end of Mill Street. The parking here is a little wonky, just make sure you pay attention to the signs so you won’t get your car towed, and there is a parking lot if you loop around past the put-in. Hours are dawn to dusk.