Can You Kayak in Charleston Harbor?

Are you planning a trip to Charleston and wondering if kayaking in the harbor is an option? The answer is yes! Kayaking in Charleston Harbor can be an enjoyable and memorable experience.

What is Charleston Harbor?

Charleston Harbor is a natural harbor located in Charleston, South Carolina. It is an inlet formed by the confluence of Ashley and Cooper rivers and leads to the Atlantic Ocean. The harbor spans over 20 miles and has several islands, including Fort Sumter, which played a significant role in the American Civil War.

Can You Kayak in Charleston Harbor?

Yes, you can kayak in Charleston Harbor. Several companies offer guided tours or kayak rentals for individuals who want to explore the harbor’s waters. Some popular spots for kayaking include Shem Creek, Sullivan’s Island, and Folly Beach.

Guided Tours

If you are new to kayaking or want to learn more about the harbor’s history, taking a guided tour is an excellent option. Many companies offer guided tours with experienced guides who can provide insights into the area’s history and ecology. Some tours even include stops on islands like Morris Island or Fort Sumter.

Kayak Rentals

For those who prefer to explore at their own pace, renting a kayak can be a great option. Several companies offer kayak rentals with options for singles or doubles.

Rentals typically include paddles and life jackets. Before renting a kayak, remember to check weather conditions and tidal schedules for safety purposes.

Tips for Kayaking in Charleston Harbor

  • Check weather conditions before heading out.
  • Wear appropriate clothing and sunscreen.
  • Familiarize yourself with tidal schedules.
  • Bring water and snacks.
  • Respect wildlife and avoid disturbing nesting birds or marine life.
  • Stay aware of boat traffic and follow proper boating safety guidelines.


Kayaking in Charleston Harbor can be a unique and exciting way to explore the area’s natural beauty and history. Whether you choose a guided tour or rent a kayak, remember to prioritize safety and respect for the environment. With proper planning, kayaking in Charleston Harbor can be an unforgettable experience.

Photo of author

Michael Allen