Places to go and things to do and see on your rental boat. No matter where you decide to go on your boating adventure, you will see wildlife. Enjoy the view respectfully!
Wappoo Creek/Stono River: 4 – 6 Hour Scenic Cruise
The Stono River, named for the Stono Indians and noted for the Stono Slave Rebellion of 1739, is a tidal channel that runs through the Intracoastal Waterway. Cruise east by the City Marina and bear right between the channel markers into Wappoo Creek under the James Island Connector. Most of this is no wake as there are beautiful homes and docks on the water. The Charleston Crab House is on the left just after you go under the Wappoo Bridge. Continue idling through the creek and into the seawall pass. At this point you can go straight for about thirty minutes to the Chip Limehouse Bridge and Wolf Island. Once under the bridge there is a sandbar on the right perfect for swimming. A little farther on, take the first creek to the right to Wolf Island for an anchor and picnic beach site among beautiful, ancient live oaks. Wear water shoes as there can be stumps in the water and broken glass on the beach.
For a longer cruise and a beautiful beach to picnic and swim, choose Sandy Point Beach at the end of Kiawah. Make a left out of the seawall pass from the Wappoo and cruise by the St. John’s Marina and under the Stono Bridge. Between the sea wall and the Stono Bridge there are numerous shallows and sand bars so watch your depth and stay in the channel. Continue east for approximately 6 miles. The cruise will take about an hour. Sandy Point is at the last channel marker and on the right.
Drum Island: 2 – 4 Hour Scenic Cruise Through the Charleston Harbor
Drum Island is uninhabited and is nestled under the Ravenel Bridge. It has not always been there as it has been created by the spoils of dredging the Cooper River. Cruise past City Marina at idle speed then on through the harbor past historical Battery Park and Rainbow Row on the left. Heed the warning signs and watch your depth as there are some shallows. Continue in the channel bearing left toward the bridge and into the Cooper River. Drum Island is on your right. This is a great anchor spot. Wade to shore and look for sharks teeth and fossils. The trestle across the water is a popular fishing hole.
Wando River: 2 – 4 Hour Scenic Cruise
The Wando River is one of the three main rivers that make up the Charleston Harbor. Follow the channel past City Marina at idle speed and enjoy the view of Charleston Battery and Rainbow Row on the left. Heed the warning signs and watch your depth as there are some shallows. Continue in the channel bearing left toward the Ravenel Bridge. On your right you will see the famous Yorktown Battleship and Patriots Point. Continue cruising under the Ravenel with Drum Island on your left. The Wando River Bridge is ahead, Daniel Island is on the left, and the State Port is on the right.
Charleston Harbor: 2 Hour Scenic Cruise
The site of the first successful submarine attack in history, the Charleston Harbor boasts several points of interest: the Battery on the Charleston peninsula side (built in the 1830’s as a seawall and promenade), Castle Pinckney (originally built in 1797 and used as P.O.W. camp and artillery position in Civil War), USS Yorktown, (launched in 1936 and sunk in 1942 in the Battle of Midway), the Ravenel Bridge (3rd longest cable-stayed bridge in Western Hemisphere and built in 2005), and Fort Sumter (historic sea fort from where the first shots of the Civil War were fired in 1861).
The Sullivan’s Island Lighthouse and Morris Island Lighthouse are visible from just about anywhere in the harbor. Built in 1962, the triangular Sullivan’s Island Lighthouse can withstand winds up to 125 miles per hour and is 163 feet tall. Its beacon can be seen from 26 miles out and it boasts a million candlepower. Upon the Sullivan’s Island Lighthouse’s commission, the Morris Island Lighthouse was decommissioned. Built in 1876, the structure now stands 300 yards off shore, completely surrounded by water.
Intracoastal Waterway: 2-4 Hour Scenic Cruise
Originally conceived in the late 1800’s for purposes of commerce, the Intracoastal Waterway is used today for recreation. It stretches from Massachusetts to Florida. Follow the channel through the harbor past City Marina at idle speed and enjoy the view of Charleston Battery and Rainbow Row on the left. Heed the warning signs and watch your depth as there are some shallows. Keep Castle Pinckney on your left and head towards Fort Sumter. Travel across the harbor away from the fort and towards Sullivan’s Island. The Intracoastal Waterway begins at the tip of Sullivan’s Island. Most of the waterway is no-wake as there are homes and docks but it is a lovely, slow cruise under several bridges, past two marinas, and right past Edgar Allen Poe’s famous Gold-Bug Island located just past the Ben Sawyer Bridge on your left. The Isle of Palms Marina is your stopping point, but before you turn around to head back, check out the Morgan Creek Grill for a delicious meal. Gas up at the dock if you need to before cruising back.
Shem Creek: 2-4 hour Scenic Cruise
Go to the creek! Shem Creek is a cozy community of restaurants, water activities, fishing piers and docks as well as the home base of most of the shrimp boats in the area. Follow the channel through the harbor past City Marina at idle speed and enjoy the view of Charleston Battery and Rainbow Row on the left. Heed the warning signs and watch your depth as there are some shallows. Keep Castle Pinckney on your left and head towards Fort Sumter. A bird sanctuary called Crab Bank stretches almost the length of the channel from Patriots Point to Sullivan’s Island right in front of the entrance to Shem Creek so WATCH YOUR DEPTH! Enjoy the sights here like dolphin, paddle boarders, kayakers, and (rumor has it) manatee.
Ashley River: 2 – 4 Hour Scenic, Calm Water Cruise
The Ashley River is a 30 mile long, blackwater river that feeds into the Charleston Harbor. From the harbor, headed west you can cruise past Dolphin Cove Marina, under I-26 to Three Rivers Marina under Hwy 526 and on to the Railroad Trestle. Once under the trestle continue cruising the scenic river keeping an eye out for dolphin, pelicans, and osprey along with egrets and herons. On the left, about an hour into your cruise, the river narrows and you can see Magnolia Plantation. Another ten minutes and Drayton Hall will be on your left. Continue fifteen minutes and Middleton Plantation will be on your left.
Cooper River: 2 – 4 Hour Scenic Cruise
Grab your bait and tackle and go fishing!
The Cooper River is one of three main rivers off the Charleston Harbor. Follow the channel through the harbor past City Marina at idle speed and enjoy the view to your right of Charleston Battery and Rainbow Row. Heed the warning signs and watch your depth as there are some shallows. Continue in the channel bearing left toward the Ravenel Bridge. On your right you will see the famous Yorktown Battleship and Patriots Point. Continue cruising bearing left under the Ravenel with Drum Island on your right. Bear left into the Cooper once you pass Drum Island. Continue in the channel where you will see ships of all sizes on the left and around the curve the Don Holt Bridge.