Blackwater Swamp Kayak Tour

Kayaking through the cypress swamp
The Blackwater Cypress Swamp Kayak tour is currently available for booking  January 12th- June 11th 2017. Be sure to make your reservations, as these trips are kept to small group sizes and private excursions for larger groups. This tour is one of our most unique offerings and is perfect for any skill level paddler. We only offer this trip as a guided event.

*******UPDATE =  Bonus Swamp Season  May 1st- June 11th ***please read below

We have added additional dates to our Blackwater Cypress Swamp Season for 2017. The water levels are holding nicely, and its a gorgeous time to be in the swamp. The “bonus” swamp season can end at any time, as we will call it off once the water levels begin to get too low, and bugs become more of a factor. We may add another week or two if conditions allow.  If you book a trip during that time, and the swamp season ends before your outing, we will offer options to reschedule to another paddling area, or offer a full refund.

We’ve now enjoyed our second Blackwater Cypress Swamp tour and this time was just as magical and enjoyable as our first time! Will was our guide and his knowledge of Charleston history and the flora/fauna of the area was impressive. His passion was infectious. The swamp was beautiful unlike any other place you’ve been. You HAVE to make this a priority if you’re in the area.
Visited May 2016

When: 10am & 2pm Daily   January 12th-May 1st 2017  *Bonus Season Dates Added- May 2nd-June 11th

  • Very small group sizes for public trips, so advance reservations strongly recommended
  • Check out our special events for evening paddles in the swamp.
  • Other days & times may be available by advance request.

Rate: $65 per person.

  •  guide, gear, shuttle, and tax.
  • Kids 12 & under: $45
  • Families of 4 or more with at least 2 adults
  • We try to avoid mixing family groups, and paddlers exploring without kids to create the best environment for everyone. However, during peak seasons it is occasionally unavoidable. We will make every effort to notify parties in such cases.
  • Gratuity for guides is greatly appreciated when you feel the service has warranted.

Length:  2.5-3 hour event.

  • Includes the approximate 15 minute scenic shuttle drive to and from our meeting location to the launch site on the property.
  • No experience necessary. Although a bit longer commitment than our 2 hour trip, the paddling itself is very doable for just about anyone. Typically about 2.25 hrs on the water.

Where:  The Inn at Middleton Place  

  • 4290 Ashley River Rd 29414  Charleston, SC
  •  Lodge building at the Inn
  • Free gated parking
  • Restroom facilities
  • Storage locker

Group Size:  To maintain the quality of this tour and its intimate feel, we typically keep the open tours to a maximum of 6-8 participants. Average tour size 2-6 people. This is one of the things we feel sets our tours apart. For private groups, we can accommodate trips of almost any size.


  • Only 2 people required for a trip to depart
  • Individual paddlers can register but must have at least 2 registered for a trip to go
  •  Groups of more than 6 may arrange for a private tour when available
  • Parties with fewer than 6 participants may request a private tour at an additional cost.
  • We typically use tandem kayaks only on the swamp tour.
  • Singles may be available by advance requests, or on private tours & odd number parties


swampsmallThe Blackwater Cypress Swamp kayak tour at Middleton Place offers a unique opportunity to kayak in one of South Carolina’s most mysterious ecosystems. As you paddle beneath the 100ft+ canopy of Cypress and Tupelo trees, your naturalist guide will share knowledge about the human history, the plants, and the animals that make their home in this special environment. There seem to be fewer and fewer places that offer the kind of quite and solitude available on the swamp kayak tour. Migratory ducks, raptors, herons, woodpeckers, owls, white tail deer, and wild pigs are just a few of the animals that can be spotted while kayaking. These bottomland forests were an integral part of the early rice culture of South Carolina, and signs of this history are still evident.

Navigation can be tricky within the swamp, so we only offer this trip as a guided kayak tour (no self-guided access).   There are no currents, no wind exposure, and no crowds, so the paddling itself is very laid back and suitable for any experience level. However, the swamp can be shallow and the “trail” often narrow, so expect a pretty slow pace while kayaking through the trees. Our swamp is private access, which means you will not encounter any other people while kayaking, a true wilderness experience!  On those cold and windy days of winter and spring, the protection of the forest makes the swamp the perfect place to be. No day is “too cold” to paddle the swamp. The flooding of the forest is a seasonal event, and typically only takes place from December until early May, so be sure to book your spot while its still on. The start dates for the swamp kayak tour can be dependent on rainfall and other unpredictable factors, so some years the season start and finish date can vary.  This guided kayak tour departs from the National Historic Landmark property of Middleton Place, a short drive from downtown Charleston, South Carolina.

Evening In the Swamp...

SOLD OUT- all evening trips are currently sold-out

Join us for an extra special experience in the swamp during the evening hours. We will set off as the angled sun adds long shadows to the “swamp-scape”, and as we explore we will watch darkness overtake the swamp. The tree-frogs, cicada’s, and barred owls begin there nightly chorus, as we twist our way through the swamp. There are no particular night time “dangers”, but this trip is not for the faint of heart, as it definitely has a spooky element. But hey, that’s part of what makes it fun. We only offer an handful of evening trips, and space is particularly limited on these trips, so be sure to book your spot ahead of time. Usually departs about 1.5 hours prior to official sunset.  $74 per person, Adults only

*all images on this site are taken on location during actual outings in the areas we explore, and are the property of Charleston Kayak Company and its agents.