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5 Excellent Places for Beginners to Kayak in South Carolina

By Alli Hill

5 Excellent Places for Beginners to Kayak in South Carolina

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Given South Carolina’s bountiful beaches, lakes, and rivers, it’s no wonder that kayaking is a therapy of sorts for many who crave outdoor adventure. At least, it is when you know what you’re doing. For beginners, it isn’t always so easy. Between battling wake from boats on the lake, to learning how to turn to maintaining your balance, kayaking doesn’t always come naturally for everyone. Finding the perfect place to learn techniques and tricks can help to fuel your passion and set you on course for a calm, relaxing experience. Maybe take along a guide for your first excursion. If you’re just starting to discover the therapeutic adventures that kayaking can create, start by launching from one of these five great spots for beginners to kayak in South Carolina. 

1. Devils Fork State Park, Salem, SC

The calm, crisp waters of Lake Jocassee takes the pressure off beginning kayakers. Devil’s Fork State Park is the only public entry point into Lake Jocassee, but it’s well worth the $5 admission for those just learning how to kayak. Here you can rent a kayak or bring your own. 

We didn't tip over!! Woo hoo!!

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2. Table Rock State Park, Pickens, SC

When you’re just starting to learn the basics of kayaking, you’ll benefit from quiet waters and minimal distractions that will keep your focus on the sport. And that’s exactly what makes Table Rock State Park such a good spot for beginners. Feel free to bring your own kayak, or rent one at the park for $5 per half hour. They don’t allow gas boats on this lake, which helps keep the water clean. In addition, you’ll get the bonus of beautiful mountain scenery, including Table Rock’s famed bare facing.

3. Sesquicentennial Park, Columbia, SC

Sesquicentennial Park is a favorite among families and other outdoorsmen for good reason: it’s a bustling beehive of activity. But don’t let that deter you from beginning your kayaking journey here, as the waters usually aren’t overcrowded. You can bring your own kayak and just pay the $5 admission, or you can rent a kayak (life jacket included) for $5 an hour or $15 for the whole day. However, you should know that kayak rentals are only available during peak season, so if you want to squeeze in some extra practice sessions when it cools down you’ll need your own equipment.

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4. Oconee State Park, Mountain Rest, SC

Just $5 will gain you entry into one of the Upstate’s most secluded, best kept secrets of outdoor enjoyment. Provided you are 16 years or older, you can rent a kayak for as little as $5 an hour during the season (they have canoes, too). The one downside here is you can’t bring your own kayak. Though situated on a small lake, you’ll have plenty of room to test your skills without paddling too far from base. 

5. Broad River, Columbia, SC

What a spot to begin your kayaking adventures! Pines surround the scenic river in secluded wilderness. The flow of the river will keep you moving at a comfortable pace, which is especially good for those with minimal experience. The river is a total of 150 miles, and is the principal tributary of the Congaree River. This is a great spot to both challenge yourself as a new paddler, but also remain relaxed. 

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