Paddle SC

Learn to Paddle

Paddling in South Carolina is something that anyone can enjoy. We've made a list of tips and resources if you want to learn to kayak, canoe, or stand-up paddleboard (SUP). Plus, Paddle SC features lots of great paddling trips open to all skill levels. 

Tips for Getting Started

  • You don't need to buy a boat. Visit one of the many Outfitters and Guides to talk to knowledgeable staff, rent equipment, and learn from local experts. The S.C. Nature-Based Tourism Association lists its members and many are local outfitters and guides.
  • Learn from other paddlers. One of the best ways to learn is to connect with other paddlers in your area through paddling clubs and meet-ups. Someone might even have a boat you can borrow. 
  • Take a class. The American Canoe Association (ACA) is the premier paddle sports education organization. Find an ACA certified instructor near you. 
  • Do some research. Talk with a local outfitter about the waterways you want to paddle, and what equipment is required. REI Co-op has helpful articles online for getting started with a variety paddle sports. 
  • Paddle Smart, Paddle Safe. Be sure to read our Water Safety and Etiquette tips to make sure you have a safe and enjoyable paddling experience. 

Beginner Friendly Paddling Trips

South Carolina State Parks are great places to learn to canoe, kayak or SUP. Many South Carolina State Parks offer rentals and easy access to great beginner waterways. Park-and-Paddles, trips where you start and end at the same location, are good places to get your paddle wet for the first time. Check out some State Park and other Park-and-Paddle trips below. You can search for more State Park and Park-and-Paddle trips using the Paddling Adventure search option. 

Paddle SC is presented by
Upstate Forever
South Carolina Department of Natural Resources
South Carolina National Heritage Corridor
Rainey Foundation