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.
Program No. 12440RJ
6 days
Starts at

At a Glance

Discover the beauty and secrets of South Carolina’s Lowcountry waterways, home to Spanish moss, marsh grasses, blackwater and abundant wildlife. Paddle on salt creeks, blackwater rivers and woodland swamps as you study the culture of the Lowcountry and observe species of birds and wildflowers visible only from the water.
Activity Level
Varies by date
Varies by date. Outdoor: Spirited: Beginners and intermediate paddlers will kayak for 4 miles daily (about 3 hours) and lift kayaks and gear. Outdoor: Challenging: Experienced and fit paddlers will receive advanced instruction that assumes some knowledge of strokes and techniques. Paddling up to 12 miles daily, sitting in kayak up to 4 hours, carrying kayak and gear. Conditions may include light winds and opposing currents.
Small Group
Small Group
Love to learn and explore in a small-group setting? These adventures offer small, personal experiences with groups of 10 to 24 participants.

Best of all, you'll ...

  • Paddlers will explore history first-hand from the water, meandering through salt marshes, past cypress trees, or under stately live oaks.
  • Enjoy delicious contemporary takes on lowcountry fare like Lowcountry Boil or collards, prepared by a local chef!
  • Relax and learn with various evening activities: study SC by Map, meet a sweetgrass basket maker, or hear stories from the lowcountry--there's something different every night.

General Notes

The Retreat Difference: This unique, often basic and no-frills experience at a Road Scholar Retreat includes opportunities for early morning exercise, interaction with the local community for insight into local life, an authentic farm-to-table or locally sourced meal, a live performance or event, and a value-priced single room. Small group program limited to 13 participants. Due to the nature of this program, listening devices are not available.
Featured Expert
All Experts
Profile Image
Andy Smith
Andy is a whitewater instructor, attorney, gardener and river trip leader who lives in Mountain Rest, South Carolina with his wife Cina. Their farmstead is three miles from the Chattooga River, where he has been hosting paddlers since 1979. As an attorney, Andy dedicated twenty years to environmental protection and conservation. He has shucked oysters at a jazz club in New Orleans, managed a rustic fly-in resort on Crooked Island in The Bahamas and currently works at the Airey Law Firm in Seneca, South Carolina.

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

Profile Image
Andy Smith
View biography
<%= Bio %>
Profile Image
Cina Smith
View biography
<%= Bio %>
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
The Water is Wide
by Pat Conroy
Pat Conroy's memoir about teaching on Daufuskee Island in a one-room schoolhouse. The book was made into the movie Conrack, starring Jon Voight. Sense of place and people. Product Description from publisher: The island is nearly deserted, haunting, beautiful. Across a slip of ocean lies South Carolina. But for the handful of families on Yamacraw island, America is a world away. For years the people here lived proudly from the sea, but now its waters are not safe. Waste from industry threatens their very existence--unless, somehow, they can learn a new life. But they will learn nothing without someone to teach them, and their school has no teacher. Here is PAT CONROY'S extraordinary drama based on his own experience: the true story of a man who gave a year of his life to an island and the new life its people gave him.
Nature Guide to the Carolina Coast: Common Birds, Crabs, Shells, Fish, and other Entities of the Coastal Environment (2n...
by Peter Meyer
General, practical, and short. Readable, entertaining guide recently expanded, updated, and revised.
Looking for Longleaf: The Fall and Rise of an American Forest
by Lawrence S. Earley
Our naturalist Bill Hamel says this is the "best all around for naturalists and history lovers." Longleaf pine forests are a special ecosystem and home to the Red-Cockaded Woodpecker.
The Spirit of Sweetgrass
by Nicole Seitz
Seitz's main character is Essie Mae Laveau Jenkins, a Gullah sweetgrass basketmaker who weaves her magic on the roadside near Mt. Pleasant. With her special love baskets, she works to brings people together. Conflict ensues when her daughter wants her to go to a rest home, and the florist she's been trying to fix up turns out to be gay. Sweetgrass making, roadside basket sellers in the Charleston area, mystery, comedy, family relationships, friends.
"The Swamp Fox"
by Amy Crawford
Here's the link to this article about one of the most famous Revolutionary War heroes in SC, and one for whom counties and cities are named. Francis Marion used his knowledge of the swamps and woods of SC and his attention to details to outwit British troops and earn his nickname. A poor speller, he was nonetheless a great report-writer. www.smithsonianmag.com/history-archaeology/biography/fox.html
The Prince of Tides
by Pat Conroy
Pat Conroy's novel captures the beauty of the lowcountry as it moves from present to past and back again. Made into a movie by the same title starring Barbra Streisand and Nick Nolte. Narrated by Tom Wingo, the novel explores the relationships between members of a dysfunctional family as it moves between the lowcountry to Manhattan. Shrimping, good description of salt marshes.
Tideland Treasure
by Todd Balantine
Our naturalist Bill Hamel says this is "a bible around here." Hand-drawn illustrations enhance the explanations. Each page was once an article in the local paper. Written for regular folks, there's information to satisfy trained naturalists.
A Coast for All Seasons: A Naturalist's Guide to the Coast of South Carolina
by Miles O. Hayes, Jacqueline Michel and Joseph M. Holmes
Technical but readable discussions of beach erosion and our dynamic coastline. Beautifully illustrated with photos, drawings, and satellite images, this book will delight geology buffs and others drawn to the Carolina coast.
South Carolina Naturalists: An Anthology, 1700-1860
by David Taylor and Rudy Mancke
Hardcover. "This volume illuminates the wealth and significance of antebellum natural history studies in South Carolina and the state's natural diversity," says the product description; our Bill Hamel notes that it's "great all around for naturalists and history lovers."

Click here to provide website feedback
Website Feedback