Paddling Shem Creek

Paddle Shem Creek & Crab Bank Island Preserve

Paddle Shem Creek Around Crab Bank Island Preserve (Mt. Pleasant): An easy paddle out Shem Creek and around Crab Bank Island in the Charleston Harbor with great views of Fort Sumter, Ravenel Bridge, Patriot’s Point, and Sullivan’s Island. Crab Bank Island is home to thousands of nesting shorebirds and is not meant to be disturbed. In other words, it’s illegal to walk on the island. There is a very accessible self put-in right at Shem Creek with rentals available at Nature Adventure Outfitters.

Shem Creek Paddling Guide: Charleston’s Hidden Gem

Adventure Overview

Shem Creek in Mount Pleasant offers an unparalleled kayaking and paddleboarding experience right in downtown Charleston’s backyard. With its close proximity to the Arthur Ravenel Bridge, this destination offers a unique blend of natural and cultural attractions. From serene marsh views to rustic shrimping boats and splendid ocean vistas, Shem Creek has it all. Don’t miss the chance to unwind at one of the creek-side bars post-adventure for a quintessential gin and tonic.

What Makes it Great

Diverse Ecosystem: The marshland’s natural beauty might be the initial draw, but the real treat could be having dolphins as your paddling companions.

Accessible Launch Point: Shem Creek landing, just off Coleman Blvd, is the perfect start point. Heading left towards the ocean leads you through marshland into a vibrant area lined with restaurants and bars—ideal for a mid or post-paddle break.

Scenic Attractions: On one side, witness the charm of shrimping boats and gull colonies; on the other, the open ocean and Cat Island beckon for further exploration.

Who’s Going to Love It

This paddling excursion caters to all—from novices to seasoned paddlers. The beauty and diversity of Shem Creek ensure a memorable experience for everyone. However, be mindful of boat traffic, and don’t forget essentials like water, bug spray, and a hat, especially during summertime. Embark on a paddling journey through Shem Creek and experience the best of Charleston’s natural landscapes and vibrant cultural scene. Whether you’re in for the adventure or the serene beauty, Shem Creek promises an unforgettable experience.

Did You Know?

Shem Creek’s history is deeply intertwined with Charleston’s maritime and culinary heritage. Once the heart of the local shrimping industry, the creek has evolved into a recreational hotspot while retaining its historical charm. It serves as a living reminder of the area’s rich ecosystem and cultural legacy, making it more than just a paddling destination.

Adventure Details

Directions: From downtown Charleston, cross the Ravenel Bridge via East Bay Street, keep right towards Coleman Blvd, and then take a left on Mill Street after about 2 miles. The launch point is at the end of Mill Street.

Parking: Navigate the parking signs carefully to avoid towing. Additional parking available around the loop past the put-in.

Hours: Open from dawn to dusk.

The Adventure Collective

The Adventure Collective publishes a series of outdoor adventure sports guides to adventures in Asheville, Boone, Brevard, Chattanooga, Charleston and The Great Smoky Mountains.

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