Kayaking Shem Creek
Renting kayaks is one of the best ways to enjoy Shem Creek 7 days a week in Charleston, SC. Advance reservations are recommended, but walk-ups are welcome. Our outstanding kayak guides equip you with a Personal Flotation Device, and a map with recommendations for sights to see, provide paddling instructions, and then assist you in boarding your boat for the adventure. No matter where you’re staying--Charleston, Sullivan’s Island, IOP, or Mount Pleasant--we gladly offer takeaway service for multi-day kayak rentals. To make the experience even more stress-free, we can even provide delivery.
Starting at $35 | Half & Full Day Rentals
2 hr Kayak Tour
Starting at $45 | Most Popular Tour
3 hr Kayak Tour
Starting at $59 | Better chance to see dolphins
One of the most wonderful ways to discover the secrets of Shem Creek’s tidal marsh or any number of other waterways in Charleston is from the seat of a single or tandem kayak. Renting one for half of the day (4 hours) will give you ample opportunity for exploring almost all of Shem Creek, Bayview Creek, and possibly (with the tide’s cooperation) also Crab Bank Island’s surroundings just outside of Shem Creek. Kayaking offers good times for Mount Pleasant groups large or small. Drift away on the tides and breeze, or make an athletic excursion of your paddle to cover as much area as you can- the experience is what you make it. Either way, we recommend closely following the advice of your experienced ramp guides to determine the best routes based on current conditions.
Historic Shem Creek
With its rich history, it’s no wonder that Shem Creek is our most sought-after guided tour option. A long-time commercial fishing and shrimping lane, Shem Creek has plenty of “big fish” stories to tell. The sights you see along your adventure will be uniquely crafted to accommodate tides, weather conditions, and the paddling preferences of your group. Calmly swaying alongside the upper creek are majestic Live Oak trees. Gliding by, you may see American Oystercatchers, Great Blue Herons, and Great Egrets, and depending on the timing of the low tides, even remnants of rice mills can be seen. Witness the varied wildlife in the pluff mud along the creek's edges hunting for a meal among the oyster beds. Making your way down the creek toward the Charleston Harbor will guide you to the iconic Red's Ice House, which in the height of Shem Creek’s commercial days provided ice for roughly 120 fishing and shrimp boats daily. Another iconic scene you won’t want to miss is Crab Bank Island, a protected band of sand falling under the jurisdiction of the Department of Natural Resources. Migratory birds mate on this island from mid-March to mid-October annually, and accordingly, no human foot traffic is allowed during this season. On the shallow side of the island near Mount Pleasant, you can often find jumping mullet, playing dolphins, and even manatees meandering about in the warm water. From this very spot, you can also enjoy the landscape with such sights as the Ravenel bridge, the downtown Charleston peninsula, Mount Pleasant Old Village, and historic Fort Sumter, Fort Johnson, and Castle Pinckney. Our most popular tours last 2 or 3 hours, but enthusiastic paddlers often enjoy our 4 hour paddle and picnic package that lends itself to exploration of the Intracoastal Waterway on the search for shark teeth and shells. For individuals, the popular Shem Creek tour is a perfect choice because the minimum requirement of 2 paddlers is typically met. Additional tours offered showcase sunsets, the full moon, and an option to paddle & paint.