As we move into Charleston’s fall season, it’s truly the best time to plan an outdoor adventure. The temperatures are cooler, and there’s a crispness in the air just begging you to spend some quality time in nature.
Ben-Jamin Toy of Nature Adventures on Shem Creek in Mount Pleasant says this is one of his favorite times to get out on the water with a kayak or a stand-up paddleboard. Through Nature Adventures, choose a two- or three-hour kayak tour of Shem Creek to learn about the history of this working creek as a mainstay for fishermen and shrimp boats. Paddle under the sprawling live oak trees and access the tidal salt marshes.
Beginning in mid-October, visitors can book a tour to Crab Bank Island and search for shark’s teeth. Or take a guided day trip or overnight camping trip to Capers Island, one of the area’s most pristine and natural stretches of beach.
This fall, Nature Adventures is debuting walking tours of Shem Creek Park in Mount Pleasant. Tours are 45 minutes to an hour and take visitors along Shem Creek Park’s 2,200-foot boardwalk that stretches from Coleman Boulevard to the mouth of the creek at Charleston harbor. This tour, Toy said, is perfect for days when it’s a little chilly or when high winds prohibit kayak or paddleboard tours.
It’s also a good alternative for visitors who might not want to paddle for two hours. “We cover the same material, but on foot and with the same types of views,” he said.
Also check out Nature Adventure’s sister company, On Purpose Adventures for scavenger hunts and a host of activities for team building, family reunions, bachelor/bachelorette parties and more.
Another great tour company is Barrier Island Eco-Tours, which offers naturalist-guided excursions to the salt marshes and islands near Charleston. Visit Capers Island and its “boneyard beach” filled with tree skeletons and stumps bleached by the sun.
Book a family fun day and charter a boat for a guided tour of the salt marshes and barrier islands. The kids will love making memories learning how to fish, pull crab traps, throw a cast net or spot dolphins playing in the water.
You might want to end the day with a Dolphin Discovery Sunset Cruise, a 2.5-hour boat excursion to encounter the fascinating bottlenose dolphin and loggerhead sea turtle.
If you’d rather be high in the air than floating on the water, check out Wild Blue Ropes Adventure Park on James Island. Just a short drive from downtown Charleston, this ropes and challenge course is great for everyone from beginners to experts. Experience 72 suspended obstacles up to 35 feet in the air. Open Friday-Sunday and check the website for seasonal events.
Another favorite high-flying activity is Charleston Zipline Adventures, located just north of Mount Pleasant. This is the only zip line canopy tour in the Charleston area where you can fly through the trees. Start your adventure zipping from a 65-foot tower through the trees on seven zip line cables between tree platforms. Make your way across three swinging bridges before the grand finale zip of 750 feet. A kids’ zip line course is available for ages 5-13 and zip line beginners.
For those who love adventure on two wheels, hit the Wannamaker North Trail located north of Charleston. The trail offers nearly 15 miles of biking (and hiking) trails that stretch into the northern portion of Wannamaker County Park. Park and access the trail in Goose Creek near Westview Boulevard.
The Wannamaker North Trail is designed for mountain bicyclists of all experience levels, as well as hikers. It features bare soil trails that were created by clearing out roots and reshaping existing dirt mounds, while keeping most of the tract’s large-diameter trees intact. The trail is open daily from sunrise to sunset and admission is $1 per person.