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Places to Paddle, Kayak, Canoe in South Carolina

Kayaking & Canoeing in South Carolina - Kayaking, Canoeing

Click on the links below to find some of the best places to kayak, canoe and paddle in South Carolina.

Kayaking and canoeing paddling locations include South Carolina State Parks, the Berkeley County Blueways, Congaree National Park and the Congaree Blue Trail.

Paddling locations are on rivers, lakes, creeks, bays and canals.

Here is a list of South Carolina State Parks that allow canoeing and kayaking. Many have paddling trails. Some do not allow private boats on parks lakes but several offer kayak and canoe rentals.

Before you go, check with the state park you are interested in paddling. Some parks charge admission fees or boat fees. You will also need to make sure their boating policies have not changed.

Oconee State Park, Mountain Rest, SC

This historic park is located in the Blue Ridge foothills. Private boats are not allowed on the park lake, but canoes and kayaks are available for rent.

According to their website, the 60 acre lake is a good beginner lake for kayaking or canoeing.

Sesquicentennial State Park, Columbia, SC

Sesquicentennial State Park is situated in the middle of the Sandhills region. Kayak and canoes are allowed on the 30 acre lake and available to rent. There is no boat ramp so you will need to carry our boat to the lake to launch.

Woods Bay State Natural Area, Olanta, SC

Private boats are not allowed in the bay. Canoe rentals are available.

According to their website, there is an easy one mile paddle through Woods Bay State Natural Area. The marked trail is accessible for most of the year. Wildlife that can be seen are, alligators, herons, egrets and osprey. This is an opportunity to explore one of the last remaining Carolina Bays in the Coastal Plain.

The canoe trail is subject to changing water levels. At times the water level is too low to paddle. You will need to contact the park to check current conditions.

Cheraw State Park, Cheraw, SC

Private boats are allowed on Lake Juniper. They also offer canoe and kayak rentals.

Hickory Knob State Resort Park, McCormick, SC

Private boats are allowed on Strom Thurmond Lake. Kayak rentals are also available. There is an admission fee for the boat ramp area for day use visitors.

Kings Mountain State Park, Blacksburg, SC

Private boats are not allowed in the park lakes. Canoe rentals are available on Lake Crawford.

Little Pee Dee State Park, Dillon, SC

Private boats are allowed on the 54 acre Lake Norton. Canoe and kayaks are available for rent.

Paris Mountain State Park, Greenville, SC

Private boats are not allowed on the 15-acre Lake Placid. Canoe & kayaks are rentals are available.

Table Rock State Park, Pickens, SC

There is a boat ramp for canoes, rafts and small boats for floating the Raystown Branch of the Juniata River. Boating or rafting is recommended during spring or late fall. The water level of the river is usually too shallow for summer.

Aiken State Natural Area, Windsor, SC

Private boats are allowed on the South Fork of the Edisto River. River access is available at the state park boat landing.

There is a 1.7 mile canoe trail at this park. You can paddle your own canoe or kayak and rentals are also available.

Goodale State Park, Camden, SC

This park has a 3 mile cypress canoe trail. Canoes and kayaks are allowed on the 140 acre lake. Kayak and canoes are also available for rent.

Hunting Island State Park, Hunting Island, SC

Public boat access is available at the south end of the park. There is a boat ramp that provides access to Harbor River and Fripp Inlet.

Landsford Canal State Park, Catawba, SC

Canoe access to the Catawba River is available at a drop off area. Below is information that you will need to paddle this river:

Before you begin this trail you should contact the park to check on the water level. If the water is low, you may not be able to navigate the river and if the water is high, the normally Class I rapids can approach Class II or III. This river trail is 7.4 miles.

Givhans Ferry State Park, Ridgeville, SC

This park is part of the 56 mile long Edisto river canoe and kayak trail. It is at the end of a popular 21 mile downstream paddle from Colleton State Park.

According to the website, the canoe trail between Colleton and Givhans Ferry is 23 miles by river (15 miles by highway). Seven to nine hours of paddling time is required for the full distance. This is also depending on the current.

Click here for South Carolina State Parks

The Berkeley County Blueways paddling trail system offers over 175 miles of paddling from 23 trails with mostly flat water.

Below are the lakes, rivers, creeks and canals included in the Berkeley County Blueway:

Lake Moultrie:

There are many trails for kayaking and canoeing on Lake Moultrie. Lake Moultrie consists of North Moultrie, East Moultrie, The Hatchery and the Duck Pond.

North Moultrie:

You can paddle the Santee Canal. There is a two and a half mile section of the canal that can be accessed by canoe or kayak. North Moultrie also has Sandy Beach Wildlife Refuge or Russellville Flats which has several islands to explore, two swamps and numerous shallow bays.

East Moultrie:

The Jungle is an enclosed tupelo swamp; Dennisís Pasture, consists of several small islands and open bays and Coon Island, which has a beach and high ground for camping.

The Hatchery:

The Hatchery is an area largely enclosed by dikes and containing many small islands as well as canals along much of the dike.

The Duck Pond:

The Duck Pond has large enclosed bays opens onto smaller areas of a cypress swamp.

Santee River:

There are 63 miles of the Blueway is on the Santee River. There are four sections of the Santee River for paddling.

The other paddling trails on the Blueway are, Goose Creek Reservoir, Huger Quimby Creek, Wambaw Creek, Wadboo Creek, Echaw Creek, Chicken Creek, Durham Creek - Back River, Foster Creek, Old Santee Canal Park and Spiers Landing (Lake Marion).

Click here for Berkeley County Blueways

Congaree National Park:

Cedar Creek is the largest channel that flows through the floodplain. There is a marked canoe trail for paddling. Private kayaks and canoes are allowed. There is also a ranger guided canoe paddle. According to their website, the ranger guided program is ideal for beginners. Paddling Cedar Creek is a good way to experience the floodplain forest of Congaree National Park.

Congaree River Blue Trail:

More experienced paddlers might want to paddle the Congaree River Blue Trail. The Congaree River Blue Trail is a 50-mile designated recreational paddling trail. Starting in Columbia and go through to the Congaree National Park.

Click here for Columbia: Congaree National Park

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