South Carolina
Kayak More of the Lowcountry
Discover natural wonders and traditional cuisine in South Carolina’s Lowcountry, where you’ll kayak challenging waterways with experts to learn the region’s distinctly Southern story.
Rating (5)
Program No. 21344RJ
6 days
Starts at
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6 days
5 nights
14 meals
5 B 4 L 5 D
Getting There
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Check-in, Registration, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
Palm Key community of cottages
Palm Key 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 the meal.

Afternoon: Arrive at Palm Key's community of cottages between 4:00-5:00 pm to check in and pick up program materials. Meet your group leaders, have a brief introduction to the site, and find your cottage. 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, join us at the Community Cottage for appetizers and a little gathering before dinner.

Dinner: You are probably hungry after traveling, so enjoy the first of our many sumptuous lowcountry suppers, 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. Our private chefs have worked to create a delicious, healthy fare with local flavor. Join other scholars at the table to compare notes about previous programs and follow up on earlier conversations. Don't miss the dessert!

Evening: After supper, it's time to talk more formally about the week's activities and fun! 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 with the group your kayak experience, 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!!

Paddle on Broad River, Safety Talk
Palm Key community of cottages
Palm Key community of cottages

Activity note: Be prepared for a big day! For a while this morning, we'll discuss equipment, techniques, and safety. Then it’s off to explore the Lowcountry by kayak. After supper, enjoy an interactive evening program. Because this is an active outdoor program, our itinerary is a model one. We try to take advantage of changes in weather and tides to show you the best variety of kayaking locales that the lowcountry has to offer. Day-to-day changes may be made for the group’s safety or convenience.

Breakfast: Breakfast served at 8:00 am. Fuel up on our sumptuous lowcountry breakfast--you'll have an active day! Have oatmeal, eggs; you'll find something you like. Come dressed for paddling, and don't forget to prepare your bag lunch from the delectable variety of options provided. Put an extra snack in your pocket in case you get the mid-morning munchies.

Morning: We’ll have a short review of equipment and safety. Then you’ll be fitted for a PFD (which you’ll keep all week), and we’ll take a look at the types of kayaks we'll be using. We offer a variety of solo boats, and you’ll get a chance to try several over the course of the week. Throughout the program, we’ll discuss ways to make kayak outings more convenient and safe, and we’ll share techniques to help you paddle more efficiently. But right now, once we've loaded those boats on the trailer, off we go to a nearby saltwater river. See Wood Storks fly overhead as you paddle and chat with your fellow Scholars.

Lunch: Lunch is out and about today; we'll find a place to pull over if we can and enjoy those delicious sandwiches and treats we prepared at breakfast. Hold out a snack for later-- your lunch calories might need reinforcement through the afternoon.

Afternoon: We’ll continue our exploration of the salt creek environment. Here, we become acquainted with the gooey pluff mud (it’s everywhere), the local cord grass, Spartina alternaflora, and the many birds who thrive in this environment. Meet the periwinkles, the fiddler crabs, and the blue crabs.

Dinner: Back on site and cleaned up, enjoy a glass of iced tea along with your leisurely lowcountry dinner, served at 6:30 pm. The menu’s created to please us, and it always does. Tonight, what’s for supper? Will it be Chicken Bog? Or black-eyed peas and collard greens? Always check out what's at the end of the buffet, so you can save room for what's to come.

Evening: 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 environment, boating activities, and locale. Topics for presentations may include Port Royal Sound and Estuaries, Why Knot? Shore Birds of the Lowcountry, The Haunted South, A Prowl with the Owls, Sweetgrass Baskets, Camping by Kayak, Legends and Fairy Tales of the Lowcountry, and more.

Kayak Cuckold Creek
Palm Key community of cottages
Palm Key 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! We paddle today in the ACE Basin, known worldwide for its abundant wildlife and natural beauty. You'll see why.

Breakfast: Start the morning out right with a delicious lowcountry 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 day. Save out a snack for later in the morning.

Morning: As we did yesterday, 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--salt water, brackish water, blackwater.) On our way to the put-in, we may stop at a local historical plantation house where you'll enjoy the atmosphere as well as have the opportunity to purchase a souvenir of the lowcountry. Take group photos beneath the stately live oaks, or check out the remains of old earthworks behind the house. After the visit to Frampton Plantation, we'll travel into the ACE Basin to the tiny landing at Cuckold Creek, where we will launch our colorful boats and begin exploring. Cuckold Creek is blackwater, and we’ll see how its flora and fauna differ from those of a salt marsh. Today, we’re seeing cypress knees, turtles, and Spanish moss. We’ll explore the remains of rice-fields, paddling through the 90-degree turns connecting one channel to the next. We’ll learn about old rice trunks, or gates, by which fresh water was lifted into the fields by the tide.

Lunch: Once again, we'll picnic while on our paddle. We can chat about our paddling and rest up a bit while enjoying our sandwiches, trail mix, and fruit. Keep out a snack for extra fuel during the afternoon.

Afternoon: More paddling--after all, this program offers MORE of a good thing: more paddling, more scenery, more wildlife and saltwater breezes. Be sure to stay hydrated--always keep your water bottle handy! Once on the water, startled herons, surprised to see us, swoop from tree to tree along the river ahead of our kayaks. In the distance, alligators quietly sink beneath the water’s surface to avoid us.

Dinner: At 6:30, we'll meet once again 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? Maybe Hoppin’ John? Look for the delicious Lemonade Pie on the dessert table. It won’t matter what we have--it’s all good!

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.

Paddle at Walnut Pond & Corner Lake
Palm Key community of cottages
Palm Key community of cottages

Activity note: Note: Today is very special--we’re visiting a cypress-tupelo swamp, accessible only if there’s been enough rain in the area. We’ll paddle single-file between trees and over floating logs, transported into another world.

Breakfast: What will it be this morning? Ham and eggs? Homemade bread? Or maybe a bowl of fruit? 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. Save a snack out for later.

Morning: This is a special day, and we’re all excited: our trip into a cypress swamp! Walnut Pond is a challenging, mysterious place. We’ll thread our way single file past cypress knees, tupelo trees, and waving muscadine vines, scooting over fallen logs in our way. We’ll look out for Ibis and other birds. Besides birds, a variety of wildlife can be found here--deer, pigs, armadillo, crawfish, and more. But it’s water and the forest--the reflections--that move us and draw us in.

Lunch: Once again, we enjoy a bag lunch. Sample the variety--peanut butter, turkey, black bean wraps, veggies, fruit, and of course a delicious cookie. You’ve earned it! Be sure to save out a snack for later.

Afternoon: Our paddle in the swamp continues after lunch as we turn and paddle back. Could you find your way back to our landing? The route isn’t always clear in the trees, but your instructors can find their way. Once back, we'll see how fast we can get that trailer loaded, as more fun awaits us back at Palm Key!

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 6:30 pm. You'll find special delights no matter where you look!

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

Coosawhatchie River to Dawson’s Landing
Palm Key community of cottages
Palm Key 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!

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. We’re kayaking MORE today, for sure! Our plan is to paddle from a small blackwater river down to wide, open saltwater. In blackwater, we’ll see warblers flitting in the trees, maples swaying above us, and fishing holes where the locals try their luck. Once on the saltwater section, we’ll likely notice buoys marking crab pots, hear Clapper Rails applauding, and see cormorants drying their wings.

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? Have you tried the homemade hummus?

Afternoon: Our paddle continues this afternoon. Though you’re surrounded by water when you’re paddling, it’s easy to become dehydrated—so always keep your water bottle handy. There's nowhere to get out of the boats onto the dark, sticky pluff mud, so be prepared to sit in your kayak even during our snack break. But it won't be too long till you're back at Palm Key and ready to dive into some supper and participate in our evening program. 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! Enjoy local oysters as an appetizer, and learn how to shuck them from people who know how. Meanwhile, the kitchen crew is preparing something extra-tasty in the kitchen. During supper, we can share 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 and reminisce about our adventures. Perhaps we'll plan to meet here again sometime. You don’t want to miss the party--but to tell you more right now would be to spoil it!

Program Concludes
Palm Key community of cottages

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 MORE of 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, 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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