There are many great things about living in Aiken and one that I take advantage of often is our proximity to so many incredible destinations! Less than three hours in the car can get you to the mountains, to some of the east coast’s finest beaches, or to some of South Carolina's thriving metropolitan areas.
Although more and more, I find my car pointed toward South Carolina’s Lowcountry, especially when I'm looking for an adventure. There are the usual things that make a trip into Charleston special; culinary delights, fantastic shopping, stunning architecture, beautiful beaches and history.
In addition to those “typical” Charleston offerings, there are amazing adventures to be had if you know where to look. A few years ago my path crossed with Coastal Expeditions, the Lowcountry’s original outdoor outfitter. Little did I know that a short kayak tour around Shem Creek to get some exercise and see some dolphins would be my gateway to adventure.
My next outing with Coastal was the Bulls Island Paddle and Hike, several notches up on the adventure scale. After a moderately vigorous paddle through the saltwater estuary that makes up the Cape Romain Natural Wildlife Refuge, we hiked across the uninhabited barrier island to Boneyard Beach. The beach is sprinkled with the bleached-out remains of shoreline trees that have fallen from the eroding maritime forest and it is spectacular. Wildlife is abundant on Bulls Island and includes almost three hundred species of birds, fox squirrels, bobcats, and approximately 1,200 alligators. After four trips to the island, I’ve seen a fair few of them.
My biggest low-country adventure to date was the Santee to Sea Paddle & Hike Camping Trip. We paddled through the black water of the Echaw Creek in the Francis Marion Forest on day one and camped along the Santee River. The next day was a long paddle from the Santee to Wambaw Creek and a new campsite that was ready and waiting for us along with a delicious meal. We spent our final day hiking Bulls Island.
Fall is perhaps the best time to adventure in the Lowcountry as the temperature cools and the bugs are less of a nuisance. If you are interested in exploring Bulls Island but could do with a little less adventure, Coastal Expeditions offers a ferry and a beach drop. Stick to the beach if you want to avoid the gators. However you get there, the experience will be an adventure to remember!