Side creeks, marshes, and tidal rivers wind through Charleston's coastal terrain, the same waterways where Sea Kayak Carolina launches its vessels. Atop watercraft from trusted manufactures such as P&H, the company’s guides take kayakers on expeditions in search of dolphins, turtles, and manmade sights such as Morris Island Lighthouse. The team schedules these tours daily, also planning custom trips into local areas such as barrier islands and uncharted fishbowls.
Additionally, a team of instructors can help paddlers fine tune the skills needed to unlock these aquatic adventures. Whether in the ocean or the controlled confines of a pool, the instructors teach safety and technical skills such as boat control, proper strokes, and how to roll a kayak without needing a dolphin to help push.
Joe Lotts and most of his staff graduated from Brevard College with a degree in wilderness leadership and experiential education. At Charleston Outdoor Adventures, they put their schooling to work by educating people about the coastline’s saltwater estuaries. Their classrooms are their kayaks, paddleboards, and 23-foot bay boat, and their coursework combines environmentalism with photo opportunism. For instance, the tour route to Morris Island Lighthouse and Fort Sumter flows past scenic marshland, local birds, and pick-up games of dolphin basketball. If guests prefer to explore alone, Lotts and crew also rent out its paddleboards and kayaks.
The warm summer sun beats down on the shops and restaurants in the island town of Folly Beach, where FB Watersports vessels careen across the waves of the surrounding Atlantic ocean and Folly River. Bottlenose dolphins and turtles inhabit the scenic waters, living harmoniously alongside the center's fleet of kayaks, boards, and jet skis. The staff conducts private lessons in a wide range of watersports throughout the week and also leads tours across the ecologically diverse shores in pursuit of fish, crabs, and the legendary shark who ate the mayor's toupee.
Helmed by local biologist and US Coast Guard?certified captain Meg Hoyle, Botany Bay Ecotours leverages scientific expertise while exposing Edisto Island's natural beauty through leisurely boat tours and educational kayak excursions. Dolphin eco tours set off in pursuit of clear, memorable glimpses of the bottle-nosed creatures, while sunset tours showcase the exquisite colors of the sun setting over the beach and birds heading to their marshland roosts. Guests looking for a similar experience on dry land can observe turtles on the beach or head off on a private island safari. Guides augment the sightseeing experiences with rich explanations of the history and biology of local wildlife, as well as the region's low-country and Gullah culture.
An armada of sea kayaks quietly slices through the sparkling waters of Broad Creek, suddenly interrupted by the playful splashes of two bottlenose dolphins sidling up to the fleet. As the people in the kayaks erupt into squeals of glee, one of Water Dog Outfitters’ seasoned guides launches into an impromptu lesson explaining dolphin behaviors and why they’ve alighted upon the kayaks. This awe-inspiring interaction is the reason Water Dog Outfitters was founded in 1998, and today its knowledgeable staff continue to lead engaging, history-laced tours around Hilton Head Island, Pinckney Island, and the surrounding lowlands. While the company’s focus remains on maritime exploits along local rivers and impressive puddles, Water Dog’s cadre of naturalists also returns to terra firma to lead bicycle tours and hikes for explorers of all ages and abilities.
Marshgrass Adventures' staff designs expeditions that explore their passion for the diverse ecology of the Lowcountry region, including Hilton Head Island. From fishing outings to leisurely kayak tours, the knowledgeable guides enlighten tour goers on the varied flora and fauna that litter the shorelines. The staff supports both catching and releasing or grilling the area's fish, which include trout, tarpon, and redfish. Guests on stand-up paddleboards slip out across the water, perfecting their balance quickly as they cut among swaying grasses and blue herons.