Special Issues » Summer Guide 2008

Outdoors

Eco-Tours, Deep Sea Fishing, and Camping

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Breaking the Barrier
Eco-Tours will learn you good

Barrier Island Eco-Tours
50 41st Avenue
Charleston
(843) 886-5000
www.nature-tours.com

So you've been to the beach, the aquarium, and the children's museum countless times already this year. In fact, if you go one more time, you just might freak out in public and do something really nutty, like, strip down to your skivvies and run up and down the streets singing "I'm a little teapot, short and stout, here is my handle, here is my spout" before ultimately relieving yourself on a South of Broad handbag fur baby. Fortunately for you, there's Barrier Island Eco Tours; this is one adventure company that offers a truly head-spinning variety of fresh outdoor excursions to keep you and the fam busy for days.

Shane Ziegler started Eco-Tours the year after graduating, and now he and his wife Morgan have a small fleet on Barrier Island.

All excursions stop off at Capers Island and feature a guide to answer all questions; there's also a touch tank on board for your little lampreys.

"You're gonna learn on all the trips we offer," says owner Morgan Ziegler.

On the Capers Island Wildlife Exploration Trip, Ziegler says that cruisers will get to see what lives on the bottom of the marsh while bird lovers will be able to spot some oyster catchers and egrets.

And if the idea of getting a little edumacation ain't enough for you, passengers are allowed to bring wine and beer aboard all excursions, particularly on the couple-friendly Dolphin Discovery Sunset Cruise, which is offered every summer night and follows the bottle-nosed dolphin and loggerhead turtle around Charleston.

The Blue Crabbing Clinic is a chance for passengers to give the good old-fashioned crabbing technique a spin, using nothing but a stick with string on it and, as Ziegler explains, "the gross parts of the chicken people won't normally eat" as the bait.

"[Blue crabs are] scavengers that will eat anything kind of dead and smelly," says Ziegler. Ahh. Of course.

The blue crab tour ends with a beach side crab boil compliments of Raul's Seafood Shack.

A cookout is also included at the finish of the All Inclusive Island Fun Package while a Lowcountry boil is a popular way to wrap up a Create Your Own Excursion package, where you choose the boat and the educational focus and seat up to 40 people.

Last but not least is the Creek Fishing Trip and the Marine Biology Day Camp, a four-hour education excursion for the kids. —Gervase Caycedo

50 41st Avenue
Charleston
(843) 886-5000
www.nature-tours.com

Take an Eco-Tour

Capers Island Wildlife Exploration
Recommended length, 3.5 hours
$36/adults; $26/children under 12

Dolphin Discovery Sunset to Capers Island
$30/adults; $22/children 12 and under

Crabbing Clinic
$38/adults; $28/children under 12

All Inclusive Island Fun
$70/adults; $55/children 12 and under

Creek Fishing Trip
$80/adults; $70/children under 12

Marine Biology Day Camp
Children 5-12; $40 without lunch, $48 with lunch

Create Your Own Excursion
Prices vary


Deep Sea Drinking
Shock your system with a 40-pounder and a 12-pack

Who doesn't love waking up at 2:30 a.m. to spend the next three hours being mercilessly jostled by a not-quite-big-enough-for-six-foot-seas boat cutting its way 70 miles out into the ocean? Nothing like a good hurl before sunrise, especially if you've been out the night before downing Jägerbombs, Irish car bombs, and wussy-tinis. When you get to your "destination," (as the sun just begins to peek just over the 70-miles-closer-to-Africa horizon) you'll spend the next six hours putting around and waiting. And when it's all over, you get that three hour ride home.

But.

And that "but" is a really big "but."

Why? Simply put, there's no sensation in the world like reeling in a 40-pound mahi mahi. The adrenaline rush of fighting a big monster of the sea is unparalleled. Big game hunting can't compare — "Holy cow, there's a lion!" Bang. And ... you're done.

When the rod snaps down while trolling offshore, the man-versus-nature battle is just beginning. Sure, you've got the advantage of a 500 horsepower motor pulling with you to wear the bugger out, but if you've never tried to land a giant fish, you'll learn about arm muscles you didn't know existed, tucked up in all that bone and tissue. The fish will swerve, tug, maybe even dive, but letting go is not an option. For one, that's a $1,500 rod and reel you're holding, and regardless, this is dinner. For the next two weeks.

Take your pictures quick once you get that fish on board. Rigor mortis will set in, and those bright greens, blues, and yellows won't stay vibrant for long. Half of catching a big fish is bragging rights, anyway, so start snapping.

So now it's 7 a.m. and you've already had more excitement in a day than an evening with the Griswolds. Time for beer. Crush about 10 of them, and by noon (when nothing's bitten in four hours), it's time to bottom fish. Every good captain knows that pulling up a few red snapper or amber jack at the end of the day is good for morale, even if you don't keep them because they're full of worms. Once everyone's bored with that, head back landward and enjoy the jostle. Who even cares? You're drunk. —Stratton Lawrence

Teaser2
Captain Mark Brown
Shem Creek
(843) 881-9735
www.charlestonfishing.net

Affinity Charters
1741 Lady Cooper St.
James Island
(843) 762-0295

Atlantic Offshore
1413 Shrimp Boat Lane
Shem Creek
(843) 8847586

Captain Ivan's Water Excursions
Bohicket and Edisto Marinas
(843) 762-2020
www.captainivan.com

Hot Shot Charters
4 Dunoon Drive
Charleston
(843) 209-1630

Knot at Work Fishing Charters
2111 Marsh Flower Lane
Charleston
(843) 442-7724
www.knotatworkfishing.com

Shem Creek Charters
100 Church St., Shem Creek
(843) 856-4090
Mt. Pleasant

Teaser2
Captain Mark Brown
Shem Creek
(843) 881-9735
www.charlestonfishing.net


When Nature Calls
Finding a cabin or a campsite to call your home

So let's say that you're a former state elected official doing time for dabbling in drugs — purportedly because your parents divorced — and you've just escaped from the federal pen. Exactly where do you escape to?

Why, the great outdoors, silly rabbit.

And fortunately for you, South Carolina boasts thousands of campsites and hiking spots where you can hide from the authorities.

Whether you plan to spend the night in an oceanfront cabin or tenting on a nearby deserted island, camping in the Lowcountry can range from gritty to pretty.

Do you prefer to be isolated in the woods, one with mother earth, or do you want to sleep in a queen size bed with freshly washed linens after a night of watching TV? (In your case, gritty is probably best. It'll better prepare you for what's in store once you've been recaptured and sent back to Pound Yer Ass Prison.)

Whatever you're in the mood for, there are plenty of trails to hike and spots to set up a fire and roast a marshmallow or two.—Alison Sher

Huntington Beach State Park

Enjoy long stretches of beaches, camping with an ocean breeze, fishing, two trails, boardwalks, and bird watching. Costs range from $10 per night for group camping to $28 for camp sites with sewers, electricity, and water.

Reservations requested
16148 Ocean Hwy.
Murrells Inlet
(843) 237-4440

Edisto Beach State Park

Enjoy a walk down Edisto's palmetto-lined beach just 50 miles outside Charleston. Edisto State Park also features the state's longest handicapped-friendly bike and hiking trails and an environmental education center. Cabins, villas, and cottages with air-conditioning and other utilities, as well as campsites with water and electricity. Prices range from $17 per site per night to $124 for the three-bedroom cabin.

8337 State Cabin Rd.
Edisto Island
(843) 869-2756

Hunting Island State Park

South Carolina's most popular state park features a variety of wildlife, five miles of beach, acres of marsh, tidal creeks, forests, lagoons, and ocean inlets. Luxury cabins range from $89-$172 per night. There is a minimum rate of $10 for group camping and up to $25 a night to stay at a designated campsite with electricity and water.

Reservations required
2555 Sea Island Pkwy.
Hunting Island
(843) 838-2011

Myrtle Beach State Park

Sleep at the campground in the oceanfront maritime forest after spending a day picnicking or fishing for flounder on the Atlantic Ocean pier. Visitors can walk the "Sculptured Oak Nature Trail" and visit the saltwater aquarium and outdoor wildlife habitat complete with a butterfly garden. The nightly rate for three bedroom cabins is $99-124. Apartments with a variety of bedrooms range from $54-$99 a night. The campground, 300 yards from the beach, costs from $17 per site per night to $25 for a site with electricity and water.

Reservations required
4401 South Kings Hwy.
Myrtle Beach
(843) 238-5325

Capers Island

If you want to leave the laundry facilities and vending machines behind, make the trek from Isle of Palms to Capers Island for a primitive camping experience. Located about 15 miles north of Charleston, this three-mile long island filled with driftwood beaches is one of the best examples of wildlife diversity in the area. With alligators, raccoons, herons, and creeks and marshes filled with fish like sea trout and red drum, you will need a permit to spend the night at Capers. There are no facilities on the island, so come prepared!

S.C. Department of Natural Resources
Heritage Trust Program
(843) 953-9300
(843) 953-9360 for permit information

Colleton State Park

Headquarters of the Edisto Canoe and Kayak trail 48 miles from Charleston, this park is a great site for gung-ho paddlers to spend a day on a 23-mile river adventure. There are picnic areas and shelters for reservation, as well as a .3 mile "interpretive" walking trail. Tent and RV camping is also available and each packed sand site has electricity. Camping reservations must be made for a minimum of two nights. Fees range between $10-$12.50 per site per night. Group camping with picnic tables, fire rings, and restrooms are also available.

147 Wayside Ln.
Canadys
(843) 538-8206
For a full listing of all of South Carolina's State Parks, visit www.southcarolinaparks.com.

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