Kayaking In South Carolina

When life gets boring, and you need a bit of a break, why not look at one of the more relaxing water sports? Kayaking! It does take some effort, but the views and the absolute bliss that come with it are worth any amount of effort you might need to put in.

South Carolina is the perfect place to kayak, with many different lakes, rough rivers, and coastal inlets. The state has many different types of waterways, making it ideal for the experienced kayaker in some areas and perfect for a beginner in other places.

While there are many different areas where one can kayak in South Carolina it is important to find the location best suited to you and your skill level. If you’re traveling from out of state to have adventures in South Carolina, it would be best to know the regulations before you set out on your experience.

Kayaking In South Carolina

South Carolina boasts many different waterways to suit every need. If you are a less experienced kayaker or a beginner in the sport, you might need to start your kayaking adventure on a lake. Luckily South Carolina sports many lakes such as Lake Wateree, Lake Jocassee, and Lake Moultrie.

If you’re a more experienced kayaker and looking for a bit more of a challenge, don’t fret; South Carolina has got you covered too. Saluda River is one of your options, and Glendale shoals, preserve, and Lake Tugaloo. You should take your kayak with you for these more adventurous kayaking trips as there aren’t rentals.

If you’re serious about taking up kayaking as a sport or a hobby, then you might want to look into purchasing your kayak and relating equipment. If you’re new to kayaking, you would look at buying a lower-end kayak to get to know the sport and once you are comfortable purchasing a more expensive kayak.

You would need to purchase your kayak, either a one or two-person kayak, which you would select according to your preference whether you are planning to do kayaking as a solo sport or if you would like to do it with a partner. This would also determine how many paddles you would need to purchase.

When purchasing a single-person kayak, you would need to buy at least one paddle (which has two blades, one on either side) for the kayak. I would suggest purchasing an extra paddle as it could not hurt to have one if something happens to the original paddle and you would not want it to hinder you from continuing.

If you are purchasing a two-person kayak, you would need at least two paddles, but once again, I would suggest having at least one extra paddle to be prepared in case something happens to one of the other paddles. I would go as far as taking it along on kayaking adventures and leaving it in the car; you would also need life jackets.

Should Wear Life Jackets When Kayaking In South Carolina?

It is illegal to be operating a kayak in South Carolina without a life jacket. So if you’re only tagging along for the ride without a paddle insight, you can get away with not having a life jacket on; however, you are required to have one in the boat with you, so you might as well have it on.

If you’re using the paddles or steering the boat, you are by law required to have your life jacket on, not just with you in the boat. Children younger than 12 are required by law to have life jackets on while on the kayak regardless of whether they are operating it or just along for the ride.

Do You Need A Permit For A Kayak In South Carolina?

Kayaks don’t have to be registered in South Carolina unless they are motorized. If the kayaks are motorized, anyone under the age of 16 needs to be accompanied by an adult or have their own boating safety certificate. However, a non-motorized kayak does not require any license in South Carolina.

What To Wear When Kayaking?

It is essential to be dressed for the occasion when you go kayaking. The most important thing to wear when kayaking is your life jacket or personal floatation device, regardless of air or water temperature. This device could be the difference between surviving or not if you end up in a dire situation, so please wear it.

It is essential to consider the water temperature when preparing for your kayaking trip. When you go on a kayaking trip in icy water and capsize unexpectedly, hypothermia can be a real danger and something one should prepare to avoid; you can do this by wearing a thermal wet suit.

It is also important to take preventative measures against the sun by wearing sunscreen and a hat or cap as another thing to keep an eye out for is sunburn and sunstroke, which could complicate things on the water to a great extent. It is wise to rather be safe than sorry and stay hydrated and have extra water with you.

It is not wrong to kayak barefoot, but depending on the terrain you have decided to go kayaking on, it might be helpful to wear water shoes or rock shoes. If your kayak capsizes and you need to navigate the bottom of the ocean, lake, or river, it would be beneficial not to cut your feet on rocks in the process.


It is a fantastic sport and adventure to kayak, and it would be an excellent investment to have your own kayak, paddles, and lifejackets. In South Carolina, if you are the one operating the kayak, you are required by law to be wearing your life jacket, as are children under 12 who are on the kayak.

Suppose you are onboard the kayak but not operating it; you need to have a life jacket on board even though you don’t have to be wearing it. It could be a wise idea to wear it although it isn’t required by law you never know what things might happen and being prepared is always a good thing.

You don’t need a permit or a license for a kayak in South Carolina. Once dressed appropriately to keep you out of danger from hypothermia or sunstroke, you can be off to enjoy an incredible kayaking adventure.