South Carolina

Kayak the Lowcountry

Join experts for a relaxed kayaking adventure in South Carolina’s Lowcountry, where you’ll paddle historic waterways, learn about regional culture and enjoy traditional cuisine.
Rating (5)
Program No. 12440RJ
6 days
Starts at
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6 days
5 nights
14 meals
5 B 4 L 5 D
Check-in, Registration, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
Ridgeland, SC
LifeTides Institute's Community of Cottages

Activity note: Check in, settle in, and meet the scholars sharing your cottage or lodge. Join us for a little "meet and greet" before supper. An orientation to the week's activities will follow dinner.

Afternoon: Arrive at Palm Key's community of cottages between 4:00-5:00 pm to check in and pick up program materials. Once you are settled into your room, meet the others who are sharing your cottage and enjoy a chat on the back porch. At 5:30 pm, meet and greet other participants before dinner at our gathering spot.

Dinner: You are probably hungry after traveling, so enjoy the first of our many sumptuous lowcountry dinners, served at 6:00 pm. The food here is often organic and always prepared on site, and our kitchen staff is happy to accommodate your dietary requirements. Join other scholars to compare notes about previous programs and follow up on earlier conversations. Don't miss the dessert table!

Evening: After supper, join us for a short orientation as the instructors share specific plans for the week and answer any questions you have about the program, facilities, and gear. Share your expectations and goals for the week. We'll make it an early night, as you're probably tired from traveling, and tomorrow is a big day!

Safety & Equipment, Paddle on Saltwater, Evening Fun
Ridgeland, SC
LifeTides Institute's Community of Cottages

Activity note: Scholars can dress for land activities in the morning and boating in the afternoon. For a while this morning, we'll spend some time discussing our paddling experiences, equipment, techniques, and safety. The day will continue with a paddle. After supper, enjoy an interactive evening program. Plans for any day may be affected by tides or the weather.

Breakfast: Breakfast served at 8:00 am. Fuel up on our sumptuous lowcountry breakfast--you'll have an active day! Dress for paddling, and don't forget to prepare your bag lunch from the delectable variety of options provided.

Morning: During a classroom-like session, kayakers review equipment, techniques, and safety. Even experienced kayakers may appreciate information about equipment to make their paddles more safe and convenient. Scholars will receive PFDs and discuss paddling and the types of kayaks we'll be using this week. Once we've loaded the trailer, it's time for a delicious lunch in the dining room!

Lunch: At noon, we'll enjoy a delicious, healthy lunch at Cottage 49. Come dressed for boating--we'll be leaving soon afterwards for our first paddle and a chance to try out some of those paddle techniques we've talked about! "Dressed for Boating: that means, remember--boating clothes are synthetics, and layers are nice. If you have cycling clothes, they work great, or any outdoor synthetics that dry quickly. Wear shoes that can get wet or muddy, and don't forget your water bottle, and hat &sunglasses with straps in case it's breezy!

Afternoon: Off to Boyd Creek this afternoon! In the kayak and on the water, you'll have a chance to apply the morning's classroom lessons as well as practice your strokes. Beginners will learn new skills and gain confidence; intermediate paddlers will refine and add to what they already know. The instructors tailor their lessons to the skills and experience of members of the group. They will gather us up for stroke demonstrations as well as introduce us to the spartina grass and pluff mud of the lowcountry marsh. If you don't know this already, you'll learn that a great thing about kayaking is seeing our ecosystem up close--touch the periwinkles, watch the wading birds on shore (and overhead), and maybe, if we're really lucky, see a dolphin!

Dinner: Back on site, showered and relaxed, enjoy a glass of iced tea along with your leisurely lowcountry dinner, served at 6:00 pm. There's always a green salad and dessert, and whatever the entree, it'll entice you: Country Captain? Chicken Bog? Barbeque? And is tonight black-eyed peas and collard greens? Always save room for what's to come.

Evening: After dinner, join us for our evening program. Priorities for our side trips and evening programs this week will be the lowcountry's natural world, cultural experiences, and locale. Is it our popular maps program? A story teller? Sweetgrass basket maker? You'll enjoy it, whatever it is.

Morning Field Trip, Kayak Local Waterways
Ridgeland, SC
LifeTides Institute's Community of Cottages

Activity note: Be prepared for an active day! Come to breakfast dressed for paddling. Ahead of us, we've more opportunities for kayaking--and sightseeing--in the beautiful South Carolina lowcountry. Bring money with you on our outing today, in case you find a souvenir you can't live without! Today's schedule is a likely one; because of tides and weather during your program, some changes may be necessary for the group's safety or convenience.

Breakfast: Start the morning out right with a delicious low country breakfast at 8:00 am. Is today the day you'll try grits? Or is oatmeal more your style? Choices abound, but be sure to fill your plate: you'll need energy for today's paddle! And don't forget, you'll want to pack your lunch before going back to your cottage to make your final preparations for the morning's paddle.

Morning: As we did yesterday afternoon, we will load up in the van--but this time, we'll be heading out after breakfast to explore a different waterway. (Each day, your instructors will try to show you a different aspect of the lowcountry--by salt water, brackish water, blackwater.) Today we are off to paddle the Combahee, a lovely blackwater river and see how its flora and fauna differ from those of a salt marsh. On our way, we may stop at a local spot where you'll enjoy the atmosphere as well as have the opportunity to purchase a souvenir of the lowcountry.

Lunch: Today, we'll picnic while on our paddle. We can chat about what we've seen and rest up a bit while munching on sandwiches, trail mix, and fruit. Today's blackwater river is a lot different from yesterday's saltwater creek!

Afternoon: More paddling after lunch: we'll retrace our route back to the van, seeing the blackwater in a different light. We'll notice that it's easier to avoid strainers when we're paddling against current than with it. The greens and yellows are brighter going back in the afternoon's sun. Be sure to stay hydrated--always keep your water bottle handy!

Dinner: At 6:00, we'll meet back for another lovely lowcountry meal. Swap stories about the day's adventures with your table-mates. Of course you’ll have a lovely green salad, but what else is on the menu?

Evening: This evening, join us our special program. The LifeTides Institute is known for its engaging presenters and interesting evening activities. We try to provide a sampling of programs to please every taste.

Kayak Local Waterways
Ridgeland, SC
LifeTides Institute's Community of Cottages

Activity note: Be prepared for another workout today: more paddling and more loading boats on the trailer! But our muscles are getting stronger as we improve our paddling technique this week. The trick is abs, not arms! This day's schedule is a likely one; because of tides and weather during your program, some changes may be necessary for the group's safety or convenience.

Breakfast: As always, be sure to fuel up with a delicious lowcountry breakfast, beginning at 8:00 am. Whether you are trying grits for the first time or slathering jelly on enormous biscuits, you'll be happy you woke up in time for this meal. Don't forget to pack your bag lunch--and save out a snack for the morning!

Morning: The morning brings an opportunity for more exploration of the lowcountry by kayak. If we've had enough rain over the season, then today it's off to Walnut Pond: a lovely cypress and tupelo swamp. We'll weave our way through a blackwater forest, sliding, pushing, and pulling ourselves over fallen logs and through low-hanging limbs. This is lowcountry kayaking at its best--we're exploring an environment very different than those we've seen on our previous two paddle trips. Listen out for the call of the Barred Owl, for splashes from deer running through the flooded forest, for whispers of awe from fellow paddlers. (If the rain didn't fill the swamp, we have a number of other amazing places to go in the Lowcountry--so don't worry--you will experience a place of genuine, rich-in-wildlife beauty wherever we go!)

Lunch: Once again, we'll enjoy a bag lunch. Sample the variety--peanut butter, turkey, black bean wraps, veggies, fruit, and of course a delicious freshly-baked cookie. You’ve earned it!

Afternoon: Our paddle continues this afternoon. Depending on time, we may make a side trip on the way home to Palm Key. Either way, we'll arrive back in time for some leisure time on site before supper.

Dinner: Will it be barbeque chicken with rice, or salmon with black-eyed pea salad? Whatever the menu, you're going to enjoy our delicious supper at 6:00 pm. Don’t forget to make your way all the way down the whole buffet—frequently there are special delights to be found at the very end.

Evening: You don't want to miss our engaging evening program. We pride ourselves in keeping you awake till bedtime!

Kayak in Beaufort Area, SC, Lowcountry, Old Sheldon Church
Ridgeland, SC
LifeTides Institute's Community of Cottages

Activity note: Today, we'll combine some of the best that the lowcountry has to offer: stately live oaks, local history, and kayaking! Come to breakfast prepared to paddle. This day's schedule is a likely one; because of tides and weather during your program, some changes may be necessary for the group's safety or convenience.

Breakfast: What will it be this morning? Ham and eggs? Oatmeal with the fixin's? Every day, you can have something different. But don't be late: breakfast begins at 8:00, and we have a busy day ahead! Allow time to prepare your bag lunch before making final preparations for a big day.

Morning: Bring your camera today—on the way to our paddle, we’re going to stop to visit one of the most lovely places you’re likely to experience around here—Old Sheldon Church, a ruined brick church serving as a reminder of wars past, now surrounded by dogwoods, live oaks, and an old cemetery. Wander the grounds, read the stones (some local notables are buried here), take photographs, breathe in the history and beauty. From there, we'll travel through the countryside to "beautiful Beaufort by the Sea," a waterfront town with lots of history, lovely antebellum homes, and open arms to greet visitors.

Lunch: We’ll gather for a picnic on our outing today, fueling up for our expedition. What treats did you stow in your bag lunch today? Almonds and craisins, hummus and chips? Don't forget to refill your water bottle before we go paddling!

Afternoon: Depending on the weather, we may launch from a sandy beach in nearby Port Royal, or we may head further inland to avoid wind--but we'll have a nice paddle this afternoon, that's for sure! We may see Osprey, Pelicans, or Oystercatchers, sailboats, or tugboats pushing barges as we paddle on the Intracoastal Waterway. The group reveals its easy teamwork when we load the boats back on the trailer one last time and turn the van homewards towards our cottages and much-needed showers.

Dinner: This delicious lowcountry dinner will be one to remember! We'll have a special treat for appetizers while the chef is preparing something extra-tasty in the kitchen. Now we can tell our stories of the day and swap email addresses with new friends.

Evening: After dinner, you won’t want to miss the wrap-up party. This is our last evening, and we can’t let it go by without doing something special. Everyone will find something to enjoy as we share highlights from the week over dessert (if you still have room). You don’t want to miss this--but to tell you more right now would be to spoil it!

Program Concludes
Ridgeland, SC

Activity note: Today we say good-bye to new friends and paddling partners. But perhaps we'll say "see you soon, or see you next time!" Scholars often return to see us and bring their friends, and we hope you will do the same. Please turn in your name tags and lanyards before you leave us, so we can use the materials again. Thanks so much for joining us for Kayak the Lowcountry!

Breakfast: Breakfast at 8:00, and your last chance for grits! If you haven’t tried them yet, you just have to have some today. And yes, you’ll find the usual delectable buffet of eggs, bacon or ham, fruit, delicious bread, oatmeal, cereal—whatever your stomach desires! You’ll want to eat hardily, as today you will be packing up and leaving us for wherever your road takes you.

Morning: This morning, after telling parting stories, asking questions, issuing invitations, or listening to one more joke from you-know-who (there's one in every crowd), it’s off to pack up and prepare for departure. We hope you’ll stay in the area and do some more exploring—and/or kayaking--ask the staff for recommendations and directions. We’d love to share more of South Carolina and the lowcountry with you!

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