Mount Pleasant is almost completely surrounded by water. The Atlantic Ocean and Intracoastal Waterway hug the east while the Charleston Harbor connects to the Wando River wrapping around the northwestern rim all the way to North Highway 17 near Seewee. We have rivers, tidal creeks, the deep sea, inlets, marshes and sounds. We often admire the water as landlubbers while crossing bridges, sitting in beach chairs and dining at waterfront restaurants. But, you really haven’t experienced Mount Pleasant until you’ve seen it from the water. We’re a harbor town, so climb aboard a vessel and enjoy the area on the water.
KAYAK AND PADDLEBOARD RENTALS
Shem Creek offers one of the most diverse places to paddleboard and kayak. Explore historic Shem Creek Shrimping Village and a Sea Island Bird Sanctuary called Crab Bank Island. Frequented by dolphins and home to thousands of eastern shorebirds, you’ll see the best of the tidal salt marsh life Mount Pleasant has to offer. Shem Creek kayak and paddleboard rentals and tours are available through Nature Adventures. Cost varies by length of rental and tour.
COASTAL EXPEDITIONS RENTALS
Whether you’re looking to experience the shrimping history and playful dolphins of Shem Creek or are seeking a quiet escape behind Isle of Palms, Coastal Expeditions has what you need to get out there and explore. Single kayak, double kayak and paddleboard rentals include all gear and instruction. Coastal Expeditions outpost locations are on Shem Creek and Isle of Palms. Kayak, paddleboard, boat and canoe tours are also available. Cost varies by length of rental and tour.
CHARLESTON WATER TAXI
The Charleston Water Taxi may be the cheapest way to get out on the water. With the $12 all-day pass, you can hop on and off the water taxi at four places — Mount Pleasant’s Patriots Point, Charleston Harbor Resort & Marina, Charleston’s Waterfront and the Aquarium Wharf and Maritime Center — while relaxing and enjoying views of the Ravenel Bridge, dolphins, pelicans and the Charleston skyline. The water taxi runs a continuous loop from 9 a.m.-8 p.m.
PALMETTO BREEZE CATAMARAN SAILS
Climb on Palmetto Breeze, the ultimate sailing catamaran, at Shem Creek in front of Tavern & Table. Charleston Harbor cruises include dolphin sails, sunset sails, historic cruises and private charters. During the summer, set sail for Mermaid Monday, 2 for Tuesday, 3 for Thursday Wine Tasting, Firefly Friday and Sangria Sunday. Cost of each sail varies.
COASTAL EXPEDITIONS CRUISES
Coastal Expeditions offers the Shem Creek Charleston Harbor Cruise every Tuesday, Friday and Saturday from 3-5 p.m. The Bulls Island Tours showcase a 66,000-acre wildlife refuse and a chance to see the Lowcountry in a whole new light. Cost varies depending on the trip.
ISLE OF PALMS MARINA BOAT RENTALS
Spend a day on the waters surrounding IOP from one of many boat rentals available at the IOP Marina. Their fleet of boats range from 16 to 24 feet and can fit between five and 10 people depending on the model. Boat rentals can be made by the hour, half day or full day. Rates vary based on the length of time and the vessel. The marina also offers custom guided excursions for groups of six including dolphin watching, sunset cruises, tarpon/shark fishing and adventures to Capers Island and Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuse.
CHARLESTON HARBOR TOUR
Stroll aboard the 80-foot Carolina Belle to enjoy the beauty of the Charleston Harbor and learn the rich history of the Holy City. During the scenic and relaxing 90-minute tour, you will see over 75 landmarks and points of interest. There are four departures daily, and the cost is $28.
CHARLESTON HARBOR HISTORY TOUR
Learn fascinating Charleston history while cruising the gentle waves of the Charleston Harbor on this 90-minute cruise. You will see notable American landmarks, such as Fort Sumter, the USS Yorktown, The Battery, the Ravenel Bridge and Castle Pinckney. A snack bar, cold beer and restrooms are available on board. There are five departures daily from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The cost is $16 for children, $24 for seniors and $26 for adults.
LOWCOUNTRY CRUISE ON THE CAROLINA GIRL
The Lowcountry Cruise is perfect for a date night, birthday celebration or get-together between friends or co-workers. Experience panoramic views of the Charleston area on this premier luxury yacht that comfortably accommodates 15 people. The cruise ventures out from 6:30-8 p.m. every other Wednesday. Tickets are $35.
BLUES & BARBECUE HARBOR CRUISES
Cruise the Charleston Harbor while listening to blues music and enjoying a Barbecue buffet. It doesn’t get much better than that. Join Shrimp City Slim, Swig & Swine and the helpful crew for this seasonal favorite on the water. The buffet includes pulled pork, smoked chicken, mac & cheese, coleslaw, buns, sauces, tea and water. You’ll get close-up sunset views of the Holy City’s most famous and charming sights. A cash bar is available. This cruise takes place 7-9 p.m. Thursdays and first Fridays, with tickets at a price of $47 on Thursdays and $49 on Fridays.
SPIRITLINE SUNSET DINNER CRUISE
Aboard the Spirit of Carolina, you’ll enjoy a three- or four-course dinner made to order from local seasonal ingredients. As you dine, the Spirit of Carolina will cruise through the beautiful Charleston Harbor, past Fort Sumter, along the Battery and beneath the Ravenel Bridge. Pair that with live music, sunset views and full-service bars, and you have the makings for an unforgettable evening on the water. The dinner cruise takes place 7-9:30 p.m. seven days a week. On Fridays, there’s a special sunset cruise to Fort Sumter featuring a Southern barbecue dinner. The cost is $60.60-$65.60 per person, depending on the day.
OTHER WAYS TO GET ON THE WATER
• Fishing charters.
• Sailing charters.
• Speed-boat adventures.
• Schooner Pride 3-mast tall ship.
By Tonya McGue