Take the Bulls Island Ferry on a half-hour ride from Garris Landing in Awendaw to this barrier island with seven miles of pristine, undeveloped beach, as well as alligators, migratory birds, and bobcats. Coastal Expeditions provides naturalist guides and ferry transport for day trips to this jewel of the Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge. Kayak tours are also available.
Ferry Schedule: Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, & Saturday; departs at 9 a.m. & 12:30 p.m., returns noon & 4 p.m. $40; $20 child under 13.
Kayak Tours: Days & times vary. $85; $55 for child 13 & under. (843) 881-4582, www.bullsislandferry.com
For a milder, more urban adventure, hop around the harbor on the Charleston Water Taxi and take in views of the city, the bridge, birds on Castle Pinckney, and dolphins passing by.
Taxi Schedule: Daily, 9 a.m.-8 p.m. $10 day pass. (843) 330-2989, www.charlestonwatertaxi.com
Grab your friends, a bunch of tubes, a cooler, and some canned beverages and head to the Edisto for a festive three-mile float down the blackwater river. For this day trip, you’ll need at least two cars: park one at Messervy Landing in Ridgeville (about an hour from Charleston) and drive on to Givhans Ferry State Park, where you’ll put in for a four- to six-hour drift (depending on the river depth). Be sure to bring lots of water and SPF, as well as life jackets for the little ones.
Givhans Ferry State Park: 746 Givhans Ferry Rd., Ridgeville. Daily, 9 a.m.-9 p.m. $2; $1.25 senior; free for child under 16. (843) 873-0692, www.southcarolinaparks.com. Messervy Landing: Boat Landing Rd., Ridgeville
Prefer to paddle? Call the good folks at Carolina Heritage Outfitters, who’ll get you set up with all the equipment and a ride to the launch site for a relaxing 10-mile canoe trip under live oaks, bald cypress, and water tupelos.
Carolina Heritage Outfitters: Hwy. 15, Canadys. $30/person in two-person canoes. (843) 563-5051, www.canoesc.com
Catch Some Air.
Fly over the harbor while your friends hoot, holler, and wait their turn from a tiki hut-bedecked pontoon boat. For flyboarding, a seemingly daredevil activity, a Jet Ski channels a powerful gush of water through hoses to the wakeboard-like “flyboard,” allowing riders to hover up to 50 feet above the water. The pros at Hydrofly Watersports say that while it may look intimidating, most of their guests are up on it in minutes—so it can be fun for all ages and skill levels.
Hydrofly Watersports: 185 Lockwood Dr. Days & times vary. $110-$1,200. (843) 410-8918, www.hydroflynow.com