An easy and affordable way to get out on the water during your trip to Hilton Head Island is by going kayaking or paddle boarding. You don’t need your own equipment or to even be a pro at either to enjoy the experience. Read on to learn more about going for a peaceful paddle in the beautiful Lowcountry waterways.
When to Go
Hilton Head Island is an outdoor lover’s paradise, since almost all activities that we know and love in the summer, can be enjoyed year-round. It does get a little chilly in the winter, with January being the coldest month. Add a breeze and the potential to get splashed, those looking to stay nice and warm will want to avoid the winter. Kayaking is more popular year-round, but paddle boarding is the most popular during hot weather.
The best time to go kayaking or paddle boarding also depends on your skill level. If you’re a beginner, less populated waters will be a big help when trying to get the hang of things. Plan for the quieter months, or even earlier in the day during the summer, when there are fewer boats creating wakes or crossing your path. That being said, beginners will be in excellent hands of any tour guides, as they anticipate this and are great teachers!
Who Should Go
If you’re headed out on your own with your own equipment, chances are that you know the drill, and everyone in your group can handle their own kayak or paddle board. For visitors interested in renting or going on a guided tour, it’s best to check the company’s age requirements and weight limits.
Families with smaller children will want to opt for a kayak trip since tandem kayaks are a perfect way to include them in the activity. Still, minimum age requirements should be confirmed before reserving your equipment or spot on the trip. Even though life jackets will be worn either kayaking or paddle boarding, everyone should know how to swim. Families with pre-teens and teenagers might want to check out paddle boarding, but again, it all depends on the company’s age requirements.
One more thing: those who get seasick easily may want to pass on this outing.
Where to Go
Looking for the best places to go? Check out either Broad Creek, Skull Creek, or the Calibogue Sound.
Broad Creek is the largest creek, making water traffic common. Many tour companies will launch on this creek, simply because of how convenient it is, and the number of areas that allow for some great paddling for a chance to see wildlife.
Skull Creek is on the northern side of the island, allowing you to go explore the Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge. Because this creek connects to the Port Royal Sound, waves might be rough for beginners. Kayaking is the best option for Skull Creek.
If you’re hoping to see dolphins, you’ll want to head out to the Calibogue Sound. This waterway connects the Atlantic Ocean to many of the different inland creeks. This is a fun option for paddle boarders who have their own gear, but we recommend staying close to the shoreline to avoid any boat traffic.
What You’ll See
Speaking of dolphins, that is just one of the many different species of wildlife you’ll probably encounter while kayaking or paddle boarding. Within the creeks and lagoons, you’ll be able to spot jellyfish and other fish underwater and birdwatch as osprey, pelicans, herons, and more fly overhead.
Guided tours are great ways to not only learn more about the natural environment and ecosystems but also about the area in general. This will be a great experience to take in your surroundings and live in the moment. Trust us, you’ll want to take a ton of pictures, but unless your camera is waterproof, wait until you’re back on the dock or on dry land.