On the Water
Kayaking and Canoeing
Details for each destination are in their dedicated chapters. Some key kayaking/canoeing areas in the Charleston area are Cape Romaine National Wildlife Refuge, Shem Creek, Isle of Palms, Charleston Harbor, and the Stono River. The best outfitter and tour operator in the area is Coastal Expeditions (843/884-7684, www.coastalexpeditions.com).
Farther south in the Lowcountry are the Ashepoo, Combahee, and Edisto blackwater rivers, which combine to form the ACE Basin. Next is Port Royal Sound near Beaufort. A good outfitter and tour operator in this area is Carolina Heritage Outfitters (Hwy. 15, Canadys, S.C., 843/563-5051, www.canoesc.com).
The Hilton Head/Bluffton area have good kayaking opportunities at Hilton Head’s Calibogue Creek and Bluffton’s May River. The best outfitter and tour operator here is Outside Hilton Head (843/686-6996, www.outsidehiltonhead.com).
The Savannah area has rich kayaking/canoeing at Tybee Island, Skidaway Island, and the blackwater Ebenezer Creek. The best local outfitter and tour operator in this area is Sea Kayak Georgia (1102 Hwy. 80, 888/529-2542, www.seakayakgeorgia.com).
Farther south down the Georgia coast, the richest kayaking/canoeing area is in the Altamaha River estuary, a hybrid blackwater/alluvial river. Good kayaking can be found in the St. Simons Island area. The best outfitter and tour operator in the area is SouthEast Adventures (313 Mallory St., 912/638-6732, www.southeastadventure.com).
Kayaking to Cumberland Island is a special experience; contact Up the Creek Xpeditions (111 Osborne St., 912/882-0911, www.upthecreektrips.com) in St. Marys.
Fishing and Boating
Because of the large number of islands and wide area of salt marsh, life on the water is largely inseparable from life on the land in the Lowcountry and Georgia coast. Fishing and boating are very common pursuits here, with species of fish including spotted sea trout, channel bass, flounder, grouper, mackerel, sailfish, whiting, shark, amberjack, and tarpon. Farther inshore you’ll find largemouth bass, bream, catfish, and crappie, among many more. While entire books can be and are devoted to each, here is an overview:
It’s easy to fish on piers, lakes, and streams, but if you’re over 16 years old you’ll need to get a nonresident fishing license from the state. These are inexpensive and available in hardware stores, marinas, and tackle shops anywhere.
In Georgia, a regular license is $9, a one-day license $3.50. A separate license is required for trout fishing. Go to http://georgiawildlife.dnr.state.ga.us for more information or to purchase a license online.
In South Carolina, a nonresident seven-day license is $11. Go to www.dnr.sc.gov for more information or to purchase a license online.
The most popular places for casual anglers are the various public piers throughout the area. There are public fishing piers at Folly Beach, Hunting Island, Tybee Island, St. Simons Island, and Jekyll Island. Two nice little public docks are at the North Charleston Riverfront Park on the grounds of the old Charleston Navy Yard, and the Bluffton public landing on the May River. Many fishermen cast off of abandoned bridges unless signage dictates otherwise.
Fishing charters and marinas are ample throughout the region, for both inshore and offshore trips. Details for each destination are in their dedicated chapters.
© Jim Morekis from Moon Charleston & Savannah, 4th Edition