Kayaking the Combahee River

Nestled along the borders of Beaufort and Colleton County, just a stone’s throw south of Charleston and north of Beaufort is the Combahee River. This magnificent river is the spot where Revolutionary War hero Colonel John Laurens died, and Civil War hero Harriet Tubman led over 750 slaves to freedom. Paddling a kayak through this historic estuary is an experience to be savored. The trip is ripe with anticipation of the natural wonders that will be revealed around each bend. The sights, sounds and scents of this Lowcountry paradise never disappoint its visitors.

This image shows evidence of former rice fields along the Combahee River. These fields, dikes and trunk systems are still maintained by landowners to attract wildlife to the area.

This nature enthusiast’s paradise is a part of the ACE Basin, one of the largest undeveloped estuaries along the Atlantic Coast. The best way to see this blackwater river is in a kayak. Whether you like to explore the river on your own or as a part of a tour, the Combahee has options for you. If you are the adventurous type, know how to read the tides, and have your own kayaks, Cuckhold’s Creek is a great option. If you would rather go with a guide that does all the heavy lifting, Sugar Hill Creek is the place for you. Both creeks provide stunning views of wildlife and evidence of historic rice cultivation.

Beaufort Kayak Tours leads a 2.5-hour excursion from Sugar Hill Landing. This spot is surrounded by former rice plantations just off River Road, via Highway 17.  Guides provide a narrated natural and cultural history tour along the scenic waterway which passes rice trunks, and slave-dug canals that were used to flood rice fields. The guides provide everything you need to have a safe and enjoyable journey. Kayaks, paddles, and life jackets are waiting when visitors arrive.

The tour proceeds down the creek and into the Combahee River. Historic rice fields are pointed out. Rice fields, dikes and trunk systems that were first built in the early 1700s are still maintained and in use as wildlife management and conservation areas. The formerly cultivated fields are prime habitats to attract all forms of birds and other wildlife species.

If you are of a more adventurous type and like to kayak without a guide, Cuckhold’s Creek is the perfect spot for you! This peaceful creek is travelled by many who launch from Cuckhold’s Landing at the intersection of White Hall and Combahee Roads. If you head upstream, you will travel under a bridge used in the filming of Forrest Gump. This creek also shows signs of former rice plantation days. The creek habitat is home to many flowering plants and wildlife.

The very bravest of Lowcountry kayakers enjoy launching from Cuckhold’s Landing and travel into the Combahee, through the rice canals and end the trip at the Steel Bridge Landing. This is a very long trip and not for the faint at heart, especially if the tide changes. Have someone pick you and your gear up from the Steel Bridge.

Springtime trips down the Combahee will reward you with floral beauties, including pontederia and rare spider lilies. Butterflies are also drawn to the beautiful blooms along the banks. Water lilies fill the canals and tributaries that branch from the river. Osprey, anhingas and double-breasted cormorants can be spotted in the trees. Egrets and herons can be found wading along the riverbanks. It’s always a good idea to bring along a camera to capture wildlife images. Keep it stowed away in a ziplock bag until you need it. Also, plenty of water and bug spray are also good to pack for the journey.

As you travel down the Combahee River and its tributaries, it’s important to reflect on the history of the area. It’s also noteworthy to look for any straight waterways that can be found throughout the estuary. These canals were hand dug by slave labor to supply water to the ancient rice fields. The rice trunks control the flow of this water. Harriet Tubman was stationed in Beaufort with the Union Army for a time during the Civil War. Under the direction of Colonel James Montgomery, she led a scouting party of eight soldiers up the Combahee River to gain intelligence for the union. They burned plantations and liberated over 750 slaves along the river.

Pick your path to Kayak the Combahee River.

Directions for Kayaking Cuckhold’s Creek

The best time launch is on the early falling tide. The landing is accessible via Highway 17. In the Green Pond area, turn onto White Hall Road. Take the first left off White Hall. Launch your canoes then have someone pick you up at the Steel Bridge Landing (Harriet Tubman Bridge). Spring kayakers can get up close and personal with flowering plants, including white spider lilies. The creek travels through historic rice fields of the former Combahee Plantation.

Several bends into the trip, the creek seems to split into different directions. Keep to the right. Just after you pass the White Hall landing, (1.5 miles into trip) the creek splits and forms Folly Creek. Stay to the right to continue on Cuckold’s Creek. The creek will spill into the Combahee River. Stay to the left to continue downstream. The river winds through the marsh. The Steel Bridge Landing will be on the right, just before the Harriet Tubman Bridge.

Both landings can be accessed from Highway 17. Sugar Hill Landing is just off River Road. Cuckhold’s Landing can be found at the intersection of White Hall and Combahee Roads.

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The Lowcountry & Resort Islands Region of South Carolina includes the four, southern-most counties in the state, Beaufort, Jasper, Hampton, and Colleton, which are bordered on the east by the Atlantic Ocean and on the west by the Savannah River and the state of Georgia.

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The shore gently recedes beneath the stunning Pawleys Island Pier. The unique island town, located about 25 miles south of Myrtle Beach and 70 miles north of Charleston, exudes laid-back, beachy vibes. Locals have definitely adopted an island state of mind and encourage visitors to as well. When you go, make sure to relax on the beach, explore the famous sand dunes, or fish in one of the many adjacent creeks.⏰ Best time of the day to visit: We guarantee that you’re going to want to spend a whole day here. We recommend getting to the beach at around 10am.🗓️ Best time of the year: Pawleys Island has the best weather during the spring and early summer months.🏖️ Things to do while there: Pawleys Island Nature Park, Pawleys Island Chapel, Hopsewee Plantation.🐠 Things to visit in the area: Brookgreen Gardens (brookgreen_gardens), take a walking ghost tour, Myrtle Beach (mymyrtlebeach), Harborwalk Marina, South Carolina Maritime Museum (southcarolinamaritimemuseum).🏨 Where to stay: The Oceanfront Litchfield Inn (oceanfrontlitchfieldinn), Litchfield Beach and Golf Resort (litchfieldbeachandgolf), Sea View Inn (seaviewinn), 620 Prince (620prince).Photo by qcphotographer
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Headed down the road....Edisto Island.  #edisto #sclowcountry #trees #endofday  #beauty #islandsofsc
Spanish moss drapes the live oak trees that are ubiquitous to the Edisto Island area. Did you know that Edisto gets its name from the native Edistow people? The Edistow Native Americans were a sub tribe of the Cusabo indians, a group of Native Americans who lived along the Atlantic coast in South Carolina.⏰ Best time of the day to visit: Stop by mid-morning. That way you can explore the island, grab lunch, and stay for the amazing sunset if you choose.🏖️ Things to do while there: Edisto Environmental Learning Center, Boneyard Beach, Scott Creek Inlet, Big Bay Creek, SeaCow Eatery.☀️ Things to visit in the area: Jungle Road Park, Bay Creek Park, Otter Islands, Spanish Mount Point.📆 Best time of the year to visit: For warmer weather come anywhere from March-August.🏨 Where to stay: Fripp Island Golf & Beach Resort (frippislandrsrt), Seabrook Island Club (seabrook_sc), The Sanctuary at Kiawah Island Golf Resort (kiawahresort), Charleston Kiawah Island/Andell Inn (andellinn).Photo by qcphotographer
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Reposted from coastaldiscoverymuseum Hilton Head Island has the second highest tidal range on the East Coast, second only to Canada’s Bay of Fundy. The average tidal range here is 7-9 feet between high and low tides.The Salt Marsh is one of our area’s most prominent features, not to mention an essential resource. Most coastal creatures depend partially or even fully on the Salt Marsh for survival as it serves as a nursery, as well as a water filter vital for the functioning of the entire coastal ecosystem.Explore the Lowcountry up close with a visit to the Coastal Discovery Museum and head out into the marsh via the Osprey Outlook floating dock on a self-guided tour or register for the weekly Salt Marsh Discovery program to learn from an expert how and why this particular environment is so important. (843) 689-6767 ext. 223 or coastaldiscovery.org.
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A visitor takes a leisurely stroke under a canopy of live oaks draped with Spanish moss in the Palmetto Bluff (palmettobluff) neighborhood of Bluffton, South Carolina. Palmetto Bluff is a picturesque community that sits in the heart of Lowcountry. Nestled along the May River, it’s abundant with beautiful walking trails, historic sites, and stunning views.⏰ Best time of the day to visit: There is no wrong time to visit Palmetto Bluff. However, we highly recommend sticking around for one of their spectacular sunsets.🛶 Things to do while there: Stop by Cole’s for some regionally inspired Southern fare, paddle board, kayak, or canoe along the May River, go saltwater fishing, take a tour at Bluffton Jack's Old Town Tours.🌊 Things to visit in the area: Palmetto Bluff Conservancy, Old Town Bluffton, Bluffton Oyster Factory Park, May River Sandbar, Heyward House Museum and Welcome Center (heywardhouse).📆 Best time of the year to visit: For the best weather, we recommend visiting between March and May or from September to November.🏨 Where to stay: The Montage Palmetto Bluff Resort (montagepalmettobluff) is the only resort in Palmetto Bluff. However, there are plenty of places to stay in the surrounding areas including: Old Town Bluffton Inn (oldtownblufftoninn), The Inn & Club at Harbour Town (theinnandclubatharbourtown), Sonesta Resort Hilton Head Island (sonestahhi).Photo by jpgriceoz
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It’s my last week in the Lowcountry. I will be incredibly happy to be back home, but I will sure miss these views. ☀️🌴[Image Description: a photo of a sun setting over the Lowcountry wetlands. The cloud in the sky are reflected on the water below.]
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Riding into the weekend like...Isn't this live oak tree tunnel beautiful? Live oak, draped in Spanish moss, is emblematic of South Carolina and many of the Southern states. We love these iconic trees, not only for their beauty, but their history as well. The average lifespan of a live oak is 300 years!Photo by qcphotographer
The tickets for our Decoration Day Gullah Campfire Supper with Stories and Songs are available now through our website, link in bio.We are Hipcamp hosts.  You can attend the event and stay over, extra spaces will be made available.  Contact us for more information.  Our Hipcamp listing name is Friendly Fowl Farm.This event will celebrate the United States Colored Troops in the Beaufort area and the establishment of the Grand Army Union Post and the Hall, it’s members and their mission.The guest speaker for this year is Rev. Dr. Elijah Washington, the current Commander of the Grand Army of the Republic whose historic hall is located at 706 Newcastle Street, Beaufort.Built in 1896, this meeting hall for the post is believed to be the only surviving building in South Carolina associated with the Grand Army of the Republic. The post hosted annual Decoration Day services at Beaufort National Cemetery and the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War continue that tradition. It is included in the Beaufort Historic District.
If you have period clothing please join your hosts amjones42 Tony and orbgtennis Belinda and dress the part.  Re-enactors are welcome.#decorationday #memorialday #unitedstatescoloredtroops #ushistory #history #travelandleisure #farmtotable #camping #unionarmy #uscoloredinfantry #historymakers #travelandlearn #gullah #gullahgeechee #blackhistory #grandarmyoftherepublic #grandarmyoftherepublic #robertsmalls #civilwarhistory #civilwarreenactment #sclowcountry #discoversc #campinglife #explore #getoutside #hipcamp #historicbeaufort
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