• Activities:

    Camping, Kayaking, Hiking

  • Skill Level:


  • Season:

    Spring, Summer, Autumn

  • Trail Type:


  • RT Distance:

    8 Miles


Explore the water, trails, and beaches of this beautiful coastal island minutes from Charleston, South Carolina.

Enjoy a relaxing adventure by paddling to Capers Island for a day trip or overnight. Located across the Copahee Sound just North of Charleston, South Carolina, Capers Island is located on the Atlantic Ocean next to Dewees Island. If you don't have your own kayak, you can rent one from Nature Adventures Outfitters. Park at the Gadsdenville Public Boat Landing at the end of Gadsdenville Road off of Rt. 17. There is limited parking at the boat landing. Be sure not to block the launching area when parking. If staying overnight, don't leave any valuables in your car, as there has been occasions of cars being broken into.

Launch your kayak into the narrow channel that weaves through grassy trails on the north side of the Copahee Sound. Be sure to look behind you to identify land marks of the rocky island and houses on either side of the boat landing in order to navigate your way back later. As you paddle through the maze of grassy trails, you will see power lines in the distance that go from Dewees Island to Capers Island. This is your destination. Eventually you will cross the inter-coastal waterway and in no time at all, you will see a boat dock on your left and the South end of Capers Island. Paddling distance to the island is approximately 4 miles from the boat landing (8 mile round trip). Be sure to launch just after high tide so that you can ride the tide out towards the ocean when going to the island. When returning to the main land from the island, be sure to launch after low tide, so that you can ride the rising tidal water back to the boat landing. Consult the tide charts for the North Dewees Island/ Capers Inlet section.

Once on the island, explore around by hiking along the beach. Hike through the "Bone Yard", a stand of decaying palmetto trees on the East side of the island. You can also hike inland through several forest trails. One footpath on the Southern part of the island leads to a large fresh water impoundment, which is a great place to catch a glimpse of a sun-bathing alligator. A large 16 foot gator has been seen several times in this section.

Camping is permitted only in designated sections of the island, essentially on the Southern and Norther tips of the island. Make sure to obtain a camping permit before spending the night. South Carolina DNR officers occasionally patrol the island to make sure campers are in the designated areas. If camping, be sure to bring enough water with you for your stay. Be sure to get up early to catch the amazing sunrise while camping on the beach!

Pack List

  • Kayak
  • Sandals
  • Permit Required for Camping
  • Tent
  • Sleeping Bag
  • Sleeping Pad
  • Dry Bags
  • Pack-in Water
  • Tidal Chart
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If you are planning on doing this trip, you MUST follow the tide suggestions. We left the boat landing at very low tide and ended up dragging our kayak through pluff mud and then got lost in the marsh, adding about 2 miles to the trip. Do NOT go out into Copahee or Bullyard Sound. It is very choppy and difficult to paddle, and without a compass we would've had no idea where we were. Low tide uncovers a lot of oyster beds and marsh grass that create a maze of inlets. The way back, however was MUCH easier as we left during high tide. Take Toomer's Creek back to the Sound and the boat landing is visible, as you're a good 5 feet above all the grass. The island is beautiful and we camped on the north side. Boneyard beach is a great walk to do at sunrise. The bugs were really bad, so take lots of bug spray. We were lucky and saw a pod of bottle nose Dolphins, and even a family of raccoons (they stole our breakfast, so hang your food where it can't be reached). I'd love to do it again, but only at high tide and only through Toomer's Creek.

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

Jason Erdman

A native Pennsylvanian, I have been an outdoor professional for over 15 years. I currently run the Outdoor Adventure program @ the University of Pennsylvania. You can find me climbing, hiking, paddling or skiing for work or play.

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