Worlds of Wonder: Top Waterway Excursions in Berkeley County

Boats, Bass, and Bathing Suits: Weekends on the Water in Berkeley County
Unbelievable Water-Centric Experiences in Berkeley County

People have been coursing the intricate and beautiful waterways of South Carolina’s Lowcountry, with its tall cypresses, sunken forests, and abundant wildlife, for thousands of years. These days, visitors flock to Berkeley County’s Blueway and Santee Cooper Lakes systems to paddle, swim, and sail through history—or just enjoy some good old-fashioned recreation. However you choose to play, unparalleled beauty and adventure await for explorers of all ages.

Boating, Paddling, and Kayaking, Oh My!

Berkeley Outdoor Life

Twenty-five distinct paddling trails over 235 miles of waterways make up the Berkeley County Blueway system, a hidden world of stunning natural splendor. Packed into this area—the largest paddling trail system in the Southeast—are kayaking and paddling opportunities for all different skill and difficulty levels. For more immersive family adventures, campgrounds are available with access to both the waterways and the 85+ miles of hiking and biking routes. 

Blueway Adventures

Newcomers and novices, don’t be shy—Blueway Adventures’ guided kayak and canoe tours make navigating the calm and beautiful waters a breeze. Glide through aquatic gardens full of water lilies, irises, and lotuses in the coves of Lake Moultrie and Lake Marion; or watch for ospreys, anhingas, and herons nesting in and around the canopy of Chimney Island. With two-, three-, and six-hour daily tour options, anyone can experience the waterways like a master naturalist.

Swimming Holes

The Hatchery

Locals sometimes call this place “Pinopolis Pool.” But whatever you call it, this 2,200-acre Waterfowl Management Area, nestled among a series of small islands and dikes, offers some of the best fishing and hunting in the region—and in summer months, it also makes for the perfect swimming hole. A walking path cuts through the shady forest, opening out onto a beautiful, sandy stretch surrounded by cypress trees where you can cool down or catch some rays.

The Lakes and Cooper River

 Lake Marion is the largest lake in South Carolina, populated with numerous islands and sandbars in paddling distance from points like Spiers Landing. For more traditional fun-and-sun with amenities, playgrounds, and picnic tables, try Overton Park on the shores of neighboring Lake Moultrie or the placid suds and sands of Bonneau Beach.

The clay and sandbanks along the Cooper River also offer many off-the-beaten-path swimming spots. Thrill-seekers can even tour the Cooper River Heritage Trail, an underwater diving trail that covers six sunken archaeological sites, including Revolutionary War-era shipwrecks.

Chartered Experiences

Fish Eagle Tours

History buffs will love the Historic Locks Trip from Fish Eagle Tours, which whisks passengers through the engineering marvel that is the Pinopolis Lock. At the time of its construction, this was the largest single-lift lock in the world. Today, you can experience this piece of American ingenuity up close while an experienced naturalist tells the story of the area’s cultural legacy. 

Southern Bliss Charters

Experience the full glory of the Cooper River in style with a guided private boat charter, all the way down to Charleston and back. Featuring iconic sights like the Pinopolis Dam and Santee Canal State Park, this tour offers exciting glimpses of local wildlife and unbeatable sunset views. Pack your binoculars and snap plenty of pictures during this two-hour journey through the Lowcountry.

Fishing at Santee Cooper Lakes

The Santee Cooper Lakes make up one of South Carolina’s largest and most beloved freshwater resources. Fishing here is among the best in the state, across the flats of Lake Marion to the open waters of Lake Moultrie. If you want to make the most of the abundant catfish, bass, and crappie fishing here, charter a professional from Santee Cooper Country’s fishing guide services—they’ll help you find all the sweet spots with ease.

Wet and Wild

The waters of Berkeley County, SC, have been a wellspring of natural beauty, culture, and adventure for millennia. Awaken your sense of adventure in these pristine waters—the Lowcountry is waiting for you at