Away from the tourists and hustle of downtown Charleston is the opportunity to engross yourself in nature and enjoy the remote beauty .of the local estuaries hidden in forests and creeks of North Mount Pleasant. The serene beauty of the Lowcountry can be truly witnessed, and picturesque waterways largely seem untouched. Interested in exploring a bit off the beaten trail? There are some excellent spots to launch and enjoy a paddle or ride to experience South Carolina’s quiet, natural habitat.
Awendaw Canoe Creek Launch
How to Get There: Take Highway 17 North to Rosa Green Road. Turn right on Rosa Green Road. The trailhead is on the left where the paved road ends.
What to Expect: Deep in the Francis Marion National Forest on a peaceful and scenic creek is the Awendaw Canoe Creek Launch. A floating wooden dock greets visitors and leads them to inky blackwater that moves upstream through the marshes. The creek runs adjacent to the Palmetto Trail, running about four miles between the canoe launch and Buck Hall Recreation Area.
How to Get There: Take Highway 17 North, turn right onto Sewee Road, go northeast 3.4 miles, and then turn right onto Bull Island Road.
What to Expect: Owned and maintained by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Garris Landing is the perfect site to take your boat out or enjoy a day at the pier. It is located on the intracoastal waterway, where a ferry services enthusiastic patrons to Bull Island. For the landlubbers in the family, the landing’s long dock allows you to get more than 100 yards out into the salt marshes and mudflats.
How to Get There: Go to the end of Gadsdenville Road, off of Highway 17 North.
What to Expect: Met by a gravel landing at the end of an old road, visitors can launch small water crafts into the narrow channel that weaves through a maze of grassy trails on the north side of the Copahee Sound. The landing is about two miles to Capers Island.
Buck Hall Boat Landing
How to Get There: Go six miles southeast of the town of McClellanville to Buck Hall Landing Road.
What to Expect: The Buck Hall Recreation Area in the Francis Marion National Forest is at the southeastern end of the previously mentioned Palmetto Trail. Here, enjoy a campground that overlooks the intracoastal waterway and salt marsh, where you will also find a three-lane boat ramp, two courtesy docks, a picnic area and paved parking. This McClellanville landing provides some of the best access to Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge.
Paradise Island Boat Landing
How to Get There: Go to the end of Chandler Road off of Highway 17 North, on the Wando River.
What to Expect: Situated on the banks of the Wando River in Awendaw is beautiful Paradise Island. After only three miles of paved road from Highway 17 at the end of Chandler Road, you’ll find a community boat landing. It is an especially great launch for smaller water crafts such as kayaks and canoes.