By Alli Hill
Paddleboarding has been an up-and-coming trend for outdoor adventurers over the past several years, especially in South Carolina. The Palmetto State’s array of rivers and lakes set against backdrops of forests and mountains make this sport one of relaxation and pure enjoyment. If you’re a seasoned paddleboarder looking for new scenery or are just beginning to gain your balance, these five spots in South Carolina create the best conditions for paddleboarding!
Travel through Charleston’s exquisite salt marshes with expert guidance on an organized paddleboarding safari. Catch a glimpse of Lowcountry wildlife during your excursion, such as bottlenose dolphins and native waterfowl, or enjoy a paddleboarding tour around the Morris Island Lighthouse. Their classes cater to a variety of skill levels, but if you’re feeling unsteady they also offer paddleboarding lessons.
If you don’t have your own board, you won’t need to here. The park offers stand-up paddleboards for $5 per hour April through October. Dotting the lake perimeter are remnants of old structures and buildings from decades’ past, along with plenty of wildlife and flora to help you disconnect from daily stress and enjoy the surrounding comfort of nature. They also have cabins available for rent to make your paddleboarding trip into a weekend getaway.
The Hammock Coast is the group of beach towns between Myrtle Beach and Charleston, including Murrells Inlet, Pawleys Island, Litchfield Beach, and Georgetown. It’s a far cry from the bustling Grand Strand and thriving Lowcountry, which makes it an ideal spot for a calm yet eventful paddleboadring experience. For board rentals and guided tours, head to Surf the Earth in Pawleys Island, then embark on a journey of the Hammock Coast’s pristine salt marshes and barrier islands. Here you’re likely to spot sea turtles, eagles, and dolphins, and waterfowl. You have your pick from surf paddling at the island’s inlets, or you can make your way to Butler Island for gator sightings.
There are plenty of rental places that offer paddleboard tours, but if you’d rather set out on your own, the salt water marshes at Murrells Inlet make an ideal choice. You can rent a board from Express Watersports across the street from marsh access, then set your sights on adventure. The marsh waters are generally calm and teeming with wildlife, which means you’ll have plenty to keep you company.
Situated near the South Carolina-North Carolina border, Lake Wylie is known as a hot spot for summertime water sports. You can rent a paddleboard from the Goat Boater or join one of their excursions or yoga classes. Depending on where you launch on the lake, a trip to uninhabited Goat Island isn’t far away. The lake also features smaller inlets, coves, and creeks away from “big water” to offer a more serene experience.