Blackwater Cypress Swamp Kayak Tour

at The Woodlands Nature Preserve
Kayaking through the cypress swamp

The Blackwater Swamp season here! Booking available now for October 2nd 2019-May 14th 2020.


January 1st-February 13th

 Tues, Thursday, Saturday, & Sunday

 Tours at 12pm   *other times/dates may be available by request


 February 14th-May 14th

  Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday, & Sunday

 Tours at 10am-1pm         &       2pm-5pm


 Private outings available for custom days/times  *6 person minimum typically applies 

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

The Blackwater Cypress Swamp kayak tour at The Woodlands Nature Preserve 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. 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.

Difficulty: The swamp offers protections from any currents or wind, so the paddling is very laid back and generally suitable for an 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. Our swamp is private access, which means you will not encounter any other people while kayaking, a true wilderness experience!

Season: The flooding of the forest is a seasonal event, and typically only takes place from Fall through the spring (start and end dates may vary based on seasonal weather patterns), so be sure to book your spot while its still on.

Location: This guided kayak tour takes place at The Woodlands Nature Preserve, a 6,000 acre eco-paradise offering both public and private events for true nature immersion in Charleston’s backyard. Our exclusive access to the swamp ensures a real wilderness experience. The swamp tour meets and departs from the national historic landmark property at Middleton Place (specifically the Inn at Middleton Place), and we provide an approximately 10-15 minute shuttle on private dirt roads to access the swamp at Charleston Woodlands.

Accommodations:  On-site accommodations are available for a true low-country experience! Choose the award winning Inn at Middleton Place for a variety of options and packages at the hotel attached to Middleton Place. If camping is more your style, The Woodlands has options ranging from RV sites with full hook-ups, primitive camping overlooking one of the beautiful private lakes, and “glamping” in one of the platform screen houses. Enjoy access to designated hiking and biking trails along with kayaking, paddle boarding, and fishing on Lake Charleston and Fox Den Lake.


October 1st – May 31st

*Season end date may be adjusted based on seasonal water levels

Winter Schedule:

December 1st- February 13th

Tues, Thu, Fri, Sat, Sun 

Tour at 12pm-3pm  by reservation 

Spring 2020 Schedule:

February 14th-May 31st

Daily by reservation 

10am -1pm


  • Small group sizes for public trips, so advance reservations strongly recommended
  • Check out our special events for evening paddles in the swamp
  • Custom Times and dates may be available by request *minimums may apply


Rate: $74 per person.

  • Includes everything necessary to participate-  guide, kayak/gear, shuttle, and tax.
  • $54 per Child 12 & under – riding in double kayak with adult. Must have 2 people at full price to qualify for rate.
  • 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 (late march-Mid April). If this is particularly importance to you, feel free to reach out with questions.
  • Gratuity for guides is greatly appreciated when you feel the service has warranted. We take great pride in providing professional naturalist guides for our outings and want to do everything we can to keep them on their passion trail!

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- 2.25 hrs on the water.

Where:  Meets: The Inn at Middleton Place  

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

* Paddle takes place at The Woodlands Nature Preserve (Adjacent to Middleton Place)

Group Size:  

  • To maintain the quality of this tour and its intimate feel, we typically keep the open tours to a maximum of 6-9 participants.  This is one of the things we feel sets our tours apart from many experiences.
  • For private groups, we can accommodate groups of most any size.


  • Only 2 adults required for a trip to depart
  • Individual paddlers can register but must have at least 2 registered adults for a trip to go
  •  Groups of more than 6 may arrange for a private tour when available
  • We often recommend  use of  tandem kayaks on the swamp tour, but a certain number of  singles are  available by  request at the time of booking.

Stay at The Inn at Middleton Place

Group Camping on-site at Woodlands Nature Preserve

Charleston Bluegrass Fest - Special paddle events on site

*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.