BLACKWATER CYPRESS SWAMP KAYAK TOUR
2023 Spring Season Begins March 1st! On-line booking open!
The Blackwater Cypress Swamp kayak tour at The Woodlands Nature Reserve offers a unique opportunity to kayak in one of South Carolina’s most mysterious and enchanting ecosystems. Kayak under the towering canopy of cypress trees, as your guide helps to navigate the narrow and winding blackwater trail. Our guides are passionate about sharing a wealth of information about the unique plants, animals, and history of the bottomland forest. The swamp kayak tour offers a quite and solitude that can be hard to find these days. Due to its setting on the private nature reserve, we enjoy exclusive access which helps to ensure a true wilderness experience. Migratory ducks, raptors, herons, woodpeckers, owls, turtles white tail deer, wild pigs, and the occasional alligator are just a few of the animals that can be spotted while kayaking.
The flooding of the forest is a seasonal event, and typically only takes place from Fall through the spring. The start/end date can vary based on seasonal conditions, so be sure to book your spot while its still on. Schedule may vary slightly so be sure to check our calendar, or inquire about custom experiences.
OCT 1ST-NOV 30TH
Daily @ 10am & 1:30pm
DEC 1ST-FEB 12TH
Thursday- Saturday -Sunday
*Other days by request
FEB 13TH- JUNE 1ST
Daily @ 10am & 1:30pm
*Times may vary depending on guide availability and participation
*Exact end date depends on conditions
18+ years old Choice of Single or Double Kayaks
13-17 years old Choice of Single or Double Kayak. Must have adult chaperone on trip
7-12 years. Must ride in double kayak with adult. Younger children permitted on private trips.
$79pp with $474 or 6 person minimum
Subject to availability. All ages
*minimum rate subject to seasonal changes
WHERE DOES THIS TRIP TAKE PLACE?
This trip takes place on the Woodlands Nature Reserve, a 5000+ acre private conservation easement. We have exclusive access to this private Blackwater oasis, and the trip includes a scenic shuttle through the property. Upon booking the trip you will receive email confirmation with directions to our location at the Woodlands Nature Reserve where we begin the tour.
*for returning guests, please take note we no longer meet at the Inn at Middleton Place
IS THIS A GUIDED OR SELF-GUIDED TRIP?
We only offer this as a guided tour for a variety of reasons, but primarily because navigation and keeping your bearings can be quite difficult in the flooded cypress forest. Guided trips also allow us to share our passion and knowledge about all the things that make these swamps special. Don't worry though, we take a pretty laid back approach and try to tailor things to your style.
WHATS THE DEAL WITH THE SHUTTLE?
This trip takes place on a part of the nature preserve that they do not allow private vehicles to access, so our shuttle van is the only way in and out. Its a 10-15 minute scenic ride across the nature preserve from our meeting location on the property, to the paddle area. After completion of the paddle, we shuttle back to our meeting location. Sometimes the drive can get a bit "sporty" on the dirt roads, especially after a rain, but that is part of the adventure to access this true wilderness area!
WHAT IS THE DIFFICULTY LEVEL?
A laid back meander through the woods. The swamp offers protections from any currents or wind, so the kayaking is a mellow pace, and generally suitable for any experience level. However, the swamp can be quite shallow and the “trail” often narrow, so expect a pretty slow pace while kayaking through the trees and cypress knees. You should budget 3 hours from start time to finish, but that does include the shuttle and logistics, so typically 2-2.25 hours on the water.
DO YOU RECOMMEND SINGLES OR DOUBLE KAYAKS
Maybe a personality question more than anything else? If you really like to do your own thing, and not worry about anyone else in the boat, than a single is probably your boat. If you don't mind letting go a bit, we actually recommend the tandems as a great option in the swamp. This trip is all about taking in the scenery and sounds of the swamp, so the tandems are a nice option for folks to be able to take turns spacing out and taking it all in. We have a set number of singles and tandems available for each trip, so be sure to indicate at time of booking your preference, if you have one.
The per person rates are all inclusive of naturalist guide, equipment rentals, shuttle(s), and parking. Gratuity for outstanding service by your guide helps us continue to support our professional team of naturalist. Gratuity can be added to payments already made after a trip, by cash, or venmo. *Note, our activities at Middleton Place meet at the Inn at Middleton and do not require any additional admission fees to access kayaking, but it does not include access to the gardens should you like to visit that part of the property.
WHAT ARE THE GROUP SIZES?
Our swamp trips range from as few as 2 people, up to 10 participants maximum for public trips. Small trips sizes help to ensure a more intimate and personal experience on the water. Private trips can be arranged for groups of any size, with minimum base rate applied.
WHAT ARE THE FACILITIES AVAILABLE?
We are fortunate to have a partnership with the amazing property at the Woodlands Nature Reserve. Our activities meet at "Bailey's Field" at the Nature Reserve, where we have private parking, restrooms(porta-potty), and picnic area. We suggest stopping on the way for drinks and snacks as we do not have any concessions. Once we begin our shuttle to the swamp, there will be no more access to plumbing, just a "loo" with a view (AKA a tree)!
Make a weekend of it and stay on-site at the Woodlands Nature Reserve with options ranging from tent camping, RV area, Glamping platforms, and tiny houses for rent, all with scenic views of freshwater lakes and access to a host of amenities.