Looking to see Charleston and the Lowcountry in a whole new wonderful way? Why not try joining us on a boat cruise to some of the most beautiful and interesting places around!
Welcome back to the blog, adventurers! Can you smell summer in the air? Now that the clocks have sprung forward, the Lowcountry and all of our favorite outdoor locations are looking more beautiful than ever! While the heat might not be for everyone, there is no doubt that summertime in Charleston is something special! Our last two blogs have been focusing on the world around us that we can explore by land. Just in time for the summer season to arrive, we are going to be talking about our boat tours today! There is nothing like exploring Charleston by boat, and many of the local areas that you can only reach by boat are once in a life time expeditions. These locations are protected by their location, conservation, and education done by naturalists and our amazing staff, and many other protective eyes. This protection allows them to remain wild and safe. Don’t forget that many of our tours are available all year round. No matter when you visit or when you’d like to go on your next adventure with us, a boat will be waiting. Let’s step on board for a different kind of adventure and talk about chartering a boat with Coastal Expedition!
First, we wanted to share our many boat tours with you and what you’ll experience with you come explore with us!
This is a very rare and special tour since Cape Romain is closed from dusk to dawn and there is no camping permitted on the refuge islands. Thanks to this, very few people get to experience sunrise at Boneyard Beach on Bulls Island. You will have the pleasure to stand on a pristine shoreline on a National Wildlife Refuge! The tour is timed so you will be able to see and take stunning photos of Boneyard Beach with a low tide at sunrise. It’s a favorite trip for nature lovers, beachcombers and seekers, birders, and photographers. It’s a wonderful trip to enjoy even when it’s cold and windy! Please note this tour often gets booked well in advance, so make your plans as quickly as possible!
This trip is also a rare experience, as it is only offered a few times a month when the tide is just right. This tour takes our guests to one of the most perfect beaches in the world to shell, swim, go birding, and much more. It starts with a tour through the saltmarsh estuary and landing at Bulls Island where guests have the freedom to explore at their own pace. A naturalist accompanies guests onto the beach to answer any questions you might have. Rare and endangered wildlife and animal life can be spotted, and it is an excellent tour for families and friends at any age. It is a great way to experience the longest stretch of underdeveloped coastline on the east coast!
This ecotour to Bulls Island takes about 30 minutes and can be filled with amazing sights of wildlife and plant life. You have the chance to take as many pictures as you wish. After an amazing boat ride, you will arrive on the pristine and untouched island, with 16 miles of trails and seven miles of sandy beach for you to explore. Everything about the island, including its beautiful trails, make it a very easy beach to explore on foot. The wild animals are more approachable and less likely to scare away because there are no cars on the island. Of course, the cherry on top of this adventure is Boneyard Beach, a forest stranded in the surf. We won’t go into too much detail, because you will just have to see it to believe it for yourself. This incredible view is made up of hundreds of oaks, cedars, and pines that have been left behind. They have been weathered by the salt and sun to create the amazing beach you will come to see yourself!
This very special trip has its own once-in-a-lifetime experiences, too. You’ll hop aboard towards the Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge and Lighthouse Island, home to two of the oldest lighthouses of their kind still standing in the US today. As you float around the island, a skilled naturalist will talk about all the flora and fauna that you will see, and be prepared to catch a glimpse of pelicans, osprey, bald eagles, oystercatchers, bottlenose dolphins, and more! It is a perfect blend of history and eco-learning fun!
This incredible ecotour exploring the salt marsh estuary created by the network of capillary creeks that lead from Hunting Island State Park near Beaufort, SC is an exploration you don’t want to miss! It is perfectly suited for families and individuals who want to learn more about the natural habitats and the animals that live on the Story River. While our tour will focus on dolphins, your guide will also point out and talk about all the wildlife living in the surrounding ecosystem. The Story River is home to pelicans, bald eagles, terns, herons, egrets, and almost 300 species of birds in total. Your Coastal Expedition naturalists will also share and talk about the human history connected to these waters dating back to prehistoric times and up to the first European settlers that arrived in the 17th century. We love this tour and we are proud to partner with the South Carolina State Parks to make it happen!
Escape to this beautiful National Natural landmark, and enjoy this amazing hidden getaway! This cruise is a naturalist lead ecotour along Story River, right to the top of the St. Phillips Island dock. A park ranger will meet and welcome you at the dock and you’ll board a tram to the beach! On the beach, you can spend your time enjoying a picnic, beach comb for shells or other treasures, and relax!
Today the Santee River is one of the wildest and scenic rivers in the south, but during the 18th and 19th centuries, it was incredibly busy and teamed with human activity and commerce. When you cruise with us, we will follow the great river as it flows and eventually opens up into the largest river delta on the East Coast! You will experience the transition of a wetland and ecosystem, see some amazing wildlife and plant life including; cedars, wildflowers, alligators, bald eagles, gulls, and bottlenose dolphins. When you arrive on Cedar Island, you can explore the untouched barrier island or just relax, you will have a few hours to enjoy it before we pick you back up!
This is the relaxing getaway cruise that you didn’t know you needed, with multiple experiences all in one. Relaxation, shelling, fossils and shark teeth, harbor views, enjoying the beach, and a boat cruise all in one are waiting for you on this expedition. Your naturalist-led cruise will begin the moment you step aboard, enjoying Shem Creek and into Charleston Harbor where you will see pelicans, dolphins, and maybe even a manatee! The views of the island, downtown, and other historical landmarks are unmatched. Once you reach the island, your naturalist will teach you how to hunt and spot fossils and shark teeth with plenty of time to relax and enjoy the beach until it’s time to head back!
This cruise is very near and dear to our hearts. It is a complementary tour so you and yours can help us share the important story of Crab Bank, and help continue to keep it safe and preserved. It is a critical nesting ground to many of our native birds and will help yield thousands of birds into wild populations as a result of our collective efforts. Your Coastal Expedition guild will show and share all the information specific to the Crab Bank efforts as a critical part of saving one of the only protected bird nesting islands on the South Carolina coast on your tour. The tours are made possible through a grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, and is perfect for all of your friends and family!
Now that you know a little more about what to expect on all of our boat tours and cruises, we wanted to share a few reasons why it is so special to explore the Lowcountry by water and not just by foot!
You get to be among the natural wildlife and plant life up close and in person. You’re not seeing anything from afar, or from behind glass at a zoo exhibit. You will be right in the middle of everything, seeing these amazing plants and animals in the wild and on their land!
You can see the city of Charleston in a whole new way. After you’ve spent time touring on foot, surrounded by its beauty, you can see the big picture and take it all in while touring by boat!
Just like our adventures into Congaree, you can access and see beautiful landscapes that are impossible to reach by land. This will let you be apart of a beautiful ecosystem that hardly gets visitors and is left alone to its own devices.
So much of the Lowcountry’s early history began on the water; from the first settlers arriving by boat, to dangerous pirates, commerce, and trade, all the way up to the first shots fired of the Civil War, everything began on the water. While most of these historical locations and landmarks can be visited on foot, there is nothing like seeing it as history tells it!
Water sports of all kinds like SUP, kayaking, canoeing, and all of our boat cruises are some of the most popular and the most fun you can have while in Charleston! They’re fun to enjoy all year round, and there is nothing like getting a cool splash from the ocean on a hot day!
Wanting to give your children an educational opportunity they won’t forget? Being on one of our kid’s tours or cruises is a wonderful way to bring their lessons and school books to life.
The Lowcountry is full of amazing fresh, salt, and brackish waters and intertwining waterways. The intercoastal waterway is another gem that makes its mark in Charleston too! It’s called America’s oldest highway and all of its rivers, canals, lagoons, and bays act as a highway for all traveling boaters who want to avoid the roads and head out on the water. It is a protected inland route that provides a very safe journey along the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico, so you don’t have to travel long distances on open water. Canals were big in the 1800’s, and the ICW that goes through the Lowcountry was approved in 1913. It travels from Beaufort, NC to Key West, FL!
It is a safe and very natural way to view the Lowcountry, its wildlife, and plant life without disturbing anything in its natural habitat. It also helps to cut down pollution and an overabundance of foot traffic in areas that need to remain quiet and protected for wildlife to live, thrive, and survive!
Why limit your explorations to the land when the water is calling out for you? Some fresh, some salty, and some brackish water can be found almost everywhere in the Lowcountry! No matter where your adventures might take you by water, there is always something unique and different to see. Come cruise the Lowcountry with Coastal Expeditions, see incredible sights, learn amazing things, see wildlife and plant life up close, and escape from the hustle and bustle. The water is calling adventurers, and we will be there when you decide to answer that call!