If you're itching to take a paddling trip this summer, look no further than Charleston. With hundreds of different waterways to explore and waves to surf just 15 minutes from downtown, the city is a paddler's paradise. Another quality Charleston possesses is an abundance of outfitters that are more than willing to set you up with a kayak or paddleboard to get you paddling around the marsh. This comes in very handy for visitors wanting to take a spur of the moment trip, or those of us that don't own a kayak.
From guided trips to renting your own mini boat, these outfitters can hook you up with whatever you need for an awesome paddling trip in the Lowcountry.
Half Moon has been the premier paddling, backpacking, and climbing outfitter in Charleston for more than 20 years. Half Moon will get you set up with any type of rig to help you get out on the water, whether you want to head out on a fishing trip to the flats, or take a paddleboard out to The Washout for a surf session. Half Moon is also a great source for literature about our local waterways. The ins and outs of every waterway from Georgetown, S.C. to Savannah, Ga., can be found in Half Moon's library of guidebooks.
The Charleston Paddler is the only place in town where you can rent mini-boats, and you're doing yourself a disservice if you leave Charleston without racing these mini boats up and down Shem Creek. Aside from that, the Charleston Paddler has an arsenal of kayaks and paddleboards as well. Launch off the boat ramp right outside their front porch, and head up the creek to fish for some bass and paddle in the shade, or head south and out into the Charleston Harbor. Their prime location on Shem Creek opens the door to an entire day of fun paddling.
Charleston Outdoor Adventures are hands down the best at what they do. They specialize in kayak eco-tours around the Folly Beach area and beyond. The more the merrier for these tours, so bring the family and friends. It doesn't get much better than lunch on some forgotten island in the marsh, and plenty of swim breaks along the way. You'll learn all there is to know about the Lowcountry ecosystem and have a blast at the same time. The guides at COA are true professionals, and they're all about showing you a good time. Honestly, an hour with COA will give you enough confidence to go out on your own, as they teach you standard boating protocol, and how to navigate through the marsh.
NAO is located on the east bank of Shem Creek, just off of George Coleman Blvd. If you want a quick paddle along the creek, definitely go see the team at NAO. Their location makes it super easy to pick out a board or kayak, drop in, and paddle with dozens of dolphins that can be found almost every day saying hello to paddlers.