The summer season is here, and it’s time to embrace the great outdoors and embark on a kayaking adventure around Kiawah Island! Spanning 10,000 acres of untouched landscapes between the Atlantic coastline and the wild Kiawah River, this island is a hidden gem waiting to be explored. With miles of interconnected waterways winding through unique ecosystems, it’s the ideal playground for water sports enthusiasts and paddle adventurers.
While Kiawah Island boasts beautiful beaches, top-notch golf courses, and miles of nature trails for birdwatching and wildlife viewing, some of its most scenic spots can only be accessed through a coastal expedition on our local waterways. To truly experience the island from a new perspective, hop on a kayak or stand-up paddleboard and get out on the water.
Whether you prefer a solitary paddle at sunset or a guided kayak or SUP tour led by a naturalist guide, we’ve got you covered. Here’s our comprehensive guide to kayak and SUP tour options and rentals on Kiawah Island.
Kiawah Island Kayak & SUP Tours & Rental Options
When kayaking on Kiawah Island, it’s essential to understand how the tides will affect your trip. With up to a three-foot difference in water levels, navigating the island’s tides can be challenging. That’s why we highly recommend taking a tour with a local guide who possesses extensive knowledge of the area. Not only will they ensure your safety, but they will also share fascinating stories about the island’s history, wildlife, and diverse ecosystems.
- Heron Park Nature Center: Located at Mingo Point, the heart of Kiawah Island Golf Resort’s nature program, Heron Park Nature Center offers a variety of activities and experiences suitable for every age and adventure level. Launching from Mingo Point, you can explore the scenic Kiawah River on single or tandem marsh kayaks. They also offer family-friendly tours like the Pluff Mud Paddle and Tidal Trip and Dip, as well as teen kayaking adventures. For those seeking a romantic experience, consider a tandem adult twilight paddle into the sunset. If you prefer solo adventures, you can rent single kayaks, double kayaks, or marsh and ocean stand-up paddleboards.
Tidal Trails: Join the experienced guides at Tidal Trails for a “nature walk on water” around Kiawah Island. They offer guided 2-hour scenic kayak safaris through saltwater creeks, fun low-tide Pluff Mud Paddle and Plunge sessions for kids, SUP tours with lessons, personalized paddle experiences, and boat cruises perfect for sunsets and cocktails. If you have prior experience, you can rent single and double kayaks, stand-up paddleboards, and even surf kayaks for some Atlantic Ocean playtime!
Water Dog Paddle Co.: The Kiawah River, also known as the “Dolphin Highway,” is a must-explore on Kiawah Island. Water Dog Paddle Co. offers guided kayak and stand-up paddleboard eco-tours that launch from the Kiawah Island bridge. Suitable for all ages and adventure levels, these tours provide an exclusive experience led by Water Dog’s lead guide, who possesses an intimate knowledge of the island’s nature and wildlife. You can even paddle with your furry friend! Kayak and SUP rentals are also available at their Bohicket Marina location.
St Johns Kayaks & Boat Tours: Escape to the Lowcountry landscapes with St Johns kayak tours, which offer a unique perspective from the waters of Bohicket Creek. You can reserve a single kayak, double kayak, or stand-up paddleboard rental for unlimited use on the Lowcountry waterways. Alternatively, join a guided eco-tour of Bohicket Creek on a kayak or SUP. St Johns Bohicket Creek boat tours include dolphin encounters, shelling expeditions, crabbing tours, fishing charters, sunset cruises, and private oyster tours coming in 2023!
Charleston Paddle Company: While not directly located on Kiawah Island, Charleston Paddle Company offers an array of paddleboard and kayak tours. They operate locally from the Kiawah Island Bridge, but their bucket-list paddle tour of Charleston Harbor is a must-try. Experience Charleston’s famous and historic attractions from the water as you paddle past national monuments, colorful waterside parks, and breathtaking, undisturbed views of one of the top-ranked cities in the US. They also provide kayak and paddleboard rentals, delivering the gear to your vacation rental on Kiawah Island for added convenience.
Kiawah Island Public Launch Sites
If you’re an experienced kayaker who feels confident navigating our Lowcountry waterways, there are several boat ramps and launch sites open to the public on Kiawah Island.
Vanderhorst Plantation: Located within Vanderhorst Plantation, there are three kayak launch points accessible through the second sets of security gates. These include Rhett’s Bluff private boat landing by Bass Pond, Eagle Point Landing, and the exceptionally scenic Cinder Creek kayak launch on Bass Creek. From Cinder Creek, you can paddle through the island’s secluded creeks or head out to meet the Stono and Kiawah Rivers.
Mingo Point: Situated on the west end of the island, Mingo Point is not only the departure point for Kiawah Island Golf Resort’s Nature Program tours, but it’s also the most popular launching point for self-guided paddle adventures. You can paddle the Kiawah River to witness dolphins strand feeding at Captain Sams Inlet, explore the creeks through Seabrook Island, or enjoy some of the best kayak fishing in the Lowcountry. Parking is ample, but a pass is required to launch at Mingo Point. Please note that Mingo Point is only open seasonally, so plan your adventures accordingly.
Inlet Cove Cottages: Situated on the banks of the Kiawah River just south of Mingo Point, Inlet Cove is a private enclave of charming cottages that offer direct access to the water. With a secluded walkway to the beach, a deepwater dock, and luxurious amenities, Inlet Cove is the perfect destination for your paddle adventures.
Whether you’re a seasoned angler or a beginner, Kiawah Island offers a wide range of fishing experiences. From inshore charter fishing to epic shark fishing in the channels and creeks, or even full-day deep-sea adventures, you’ll find the perfect fishing excursion to match your level of adventure. Check out our Exclusives Guide to discover the best fishing charters on Kiawah Island.
Vacation Homes & Villas with Water Access
No matter where you choose to stay on Kiawah Island, you can rest assured that a kayaking spot is just a short walk or drive away. Our exclusive collection of 110+ vacation rentals includes luxury homes near the ponds in Vanderhorst, private cottages on the Kiawah River, and lagoon-front villas that offer direct water access from the comfort of your own home.
Inlet Cove Cottages: These 2-3 bedroom cottages are nestled among the trees on the banks of the Kiawah River, providing an idyllic retreat for water lovers. With a private deepwater dock for fishing, an Olympic-sized swimming pool for sunbathing and dolphin spotting, and a secluded walkway to Beachwalker Park, Inlet Cove is the perfect location for your SUP and kayaking adventures on Kiawah.
Parkside Villa: This waterfront Parkside Villa is located in the heart of Night Heron Park and offers luxury interiors, a sunny lagoon-front screened porch and deck, and a private dock on the water. Water lovers in your family will rejoice in the comfort and convenience of this Night Heron villa rental, with the added bonus of being just a short walk to the beach.
Whether you’re looking for a vacation rental, planning a kayaking adventure, or seeking local tips to enhance your experience on Kiawah Island, our knowledgeable experts are here to assist you. With just a click or phone call, your dream Kiawah Island experience is within reach.
Discover the beauty and serenity of Kiawah Island through kayaking, and immerse yourself in the captivating natural surroundings that make this destination truly spectacular.
To learn more about kayaking options and plan your adventure, visit UpStreamPaddle.