Marsh at Middleton Place- Kayak Tours

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Kayak Tours on the Ashley
“Beautiful morning on the Ashley River!”

We could not have asked for a better experience kayaking on the Ashley river in the vicinity of Middleton Place than the one offered by Charleston Kayak Co. First off, the Middleton Inn is a quiet, natural and architecturally unique destination within walking access to the river and “boat launch”. Our guide was easy to contact and communicate with, making the set-up process a snap. Solid paddling skills introduction and quality equipment, including dry bags, were provided. The guide offered exceptional insight on the local flora/fauna and the history of the area while proceeding at a leisurely paddling pace.

Visited Sept 2018
Mitchell D

Escape the hustle and bustle of downtown and experience one of the best kayak tours in Charleston. The Ashley River is one of the most significant river systems to the history of Charleston, South Carolina, and it looks today much like it did hundreds of years ago. Our guided kayak tours depart from the banks of the Upper Ashley River at Middleton Place. This 2 hour tour offers views of the Middleton Place Grounds as we paddle past abandoned rice fields dating from the 1700s. Our location puts you right in the middle of a 22 mile stretch that makes up the lowcountry’s only waterway designated as a state scenic river corridor. This translates into a pristine feel on the water, with very little development or boat traffic. You will have a chance to explore some of the smaller tidal creeks that twist and turn away from the main channel.

No matter what time of year, the upper Ashley River can be home to abundant wildlife. Egrets, Herons, Raptors, Rails, and many more bird species can be spotted. Depending on the season, we also have the opportunity to see the occasional Bottlenose Dolphin, Mantee, or American Alligators!  These guided kayak tours are offered year round on a regularly scheduled basis, or can be arranged as a private tour. This trip is suitable for any skill level paddler, and stable yet nimble single or double kayaks are provided.

Ashley River at Middleton Place

2 hour Naturalist Guided Kayak Tour
Options available Daily am & pm


  • *Departure times vary occasionally based on tidal considerations
  • Available Year Round
  • Appx 2 hour event
  • $55 per person Adult 
  • No experience necessary
  • Single or Tandem Kayak(s) included
  • Professional Naturalist Guide
  • Other days and times not on schedule may be available by request, so just call or email for further options
This 2 hour naturalist guided tour departs from, and returns to our location at Middleton Place. Your guide will provide a basic orientation before helping everyone get fitted to their kayak and launched from our private landing. This stretch of the Ashley provides tidal brackish water (fresh and salt influence) paddling, with lots of little creeks and canals to explore along the way. Our passionate guides love to share  their knowledge of the history, ecology, and conservation issues relevant to the area.
Kayaking the Marsh

Twilight Marsh Adventure at Middleton 

 Available April-October

 Departure times vary based on sunset time  

  • groups of 1 or more may register. *requires at least 2 people for trip to depart
  • 2  hour event
  • $60 per person
  • Professional Naturalist Guide- Small group sizes
  • Sunday – Tuesday – Wednesday – Friday
  • Other days may be available by request 


End the day on a high note paddling the Ashley during the last couple hours of daylight. Take in the colors of the sky, and soak up all that makes the lowcountry a great place to be. Twilight trips are a summer favorite for our guides and guests alike. 

Sunset Kayaking

 Ashley River Blue Trail

3 hour Naturalist Guided Kayak Tour-  1 way shuttle trip

Custom days and times  available by request 4+ participants


  • 3-3.25 hr event  *includes 15 minute shuttle
  • One way paddle taking advantage of tides/currents
  • No experience necessary, but is a slightly longer trip requiring more paddling
  • Scheduled based around tidal conditions
  • Custom times available by request for groups of 4 or more
  • $69 per person, Single or Tandem Kayak(s)
  • All trips meet and depart from Inn at Middleton Place unless otherwise indicated

New open group dates coming soon for July-Dec

The Ashley Blue trail tour allows paddlers to experience a dynamic tidal river system from a small blackwater creek all the way down to the open salt- water of the Charleston Harbor. This approximately 3-3.25 hr tour explores the upper section of the Blue way river trail, from Bacons Bridge where it is not much more than a narrow blackwater creek, to the tidal brackish waters at historic Middleton Place. We begin all trips at the Inn at Middleton Place, and either paddle up to bacons bridge and shuttle back by vehicle, or shuttle from Middleton and begin at Bacons Bridge. Either way trips are designed to take advantage of the tides.
Middleton Place view
 Available Year Rounddaily by reservation.
  • Times may vary based on tide and seasonal weather conditions.
  • Check online calendar or call for specifics.
  • Summer Months of June-September, our regularly scheduled trips typically begin at 9:30am
  • For the summer months, afternoon trips are offered  but due to seasonal weather patterns morning is typically recommended.
  • If you don’t see a time/date that your looking for, don’t hesitate to ask, we can often accommodate custom departure times..

  • All  Adult rates are per person and include your choice of Single or Tandem Kayak
  • Child rates are for ages 12 and under when riding in a double kayak with an adult 
  • Family tours are typically arranged independent from groups without kids to ensure the best experience for everyone. However during peak seasons this may be unavoidable. Please inquire if this is important to you. 
  • Includes guide, gear, and tax.
  • Optional gratuity may be added at the conclusion of your trip if you feel your guide provided exceptional service.
  • No additional entrance fees or parking are required. *Access to the historic gardens does require additional fees if you want to visit the national historic landmark portion of the property

Length of tour
  • all listed times include basic orientation
  • All activities include basic safety briefing and paddle instruction
  • Can be tailored to suite the skill level of the group
  • Suitable for both beginners or seasoned paddlers.
  • Custom times and trip lengths can typically be arranged in advance (may require minimum group size) 

  • Begins at Lodge building at the Inn at Middleton Place.
  • Gated Parking, restrooms, storage locker and food& beverage service available
  • There are 2 entrances to Middleton Place, if coming from Charleston be sure to take the first entrance, labeled The Inn at Middleton Place, not the entrance for the plantation and gardens
  • We are a gated property, so advance reservations are required to gain access to the property

Group Size
 To maintain the quality of this tour and its intimate feel, we try and keep the tours to a range of 4-8 participants. There may be occasional exceptions during peak seasons.
  • Larger groups will be scheduled as a private tour
  • Small groups may request private trip, but additional cost may be associated.

We experience 4 to 7ft changes from high to low tide. The tidal current usually runs fairly mild, and is typically very manageable regardless of tide. Low-tide can sometimes provides more wildlife viewing opportunities, while high tide offers more options for exploring smaller tidal creeks. Both have there advantages, and the estuary has a very different look and feel on the different tidal conditions. Full moons sometimes require additional considerations, but we try and plan for that, so you don’t have to.  

Reservations are required for all of our programs.

  • We advise making reservations as far in advance as possible to ensure availability for the activity and time/date your interested in.
  • We do our best to accommodate last minute requests, but can not guarantee availability without a reservation.
  • You can book some programs on our online calendar, or give us a call or drop an email.

*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.