Click for Asheville, North Carolina Forecast Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge, SC
(Capers Island)



Character: Protected tidal sea kayak trip
Scenery: Tidal marsh, lightly forested barrier island
Distance from Downtown Asheville: Five hours to put-in (275 miles)
Length: 11 mile round trip; day trip, overnight and multi-day options
Season: All year (Spring and Fall best weather/bug combination)
Other sections: Bull Island, Cape's Point Loop, Lighthouse Loop, Murphy's Island
Put-in: Isle of Palms Marina ($5 per car per day parking fee;  pay at the Marina office)
Take-out: Same as put-in for round trip;  see the text below for a suggested point-to-point trip of approximately the same length as the Capers Island round trip
Directions from Asheville (to take-out): Take I-26 South approximately 250 miles to Exit 212B-C (I-526 to Savannah / Mt Pleasant).  Take I-526 12 miles to the Exit for US 17 North (to Georgetown).  Turn left onto US 17 / US 701 (Georgetown Highway) and drive 1.4 miles to a right onto SC 517 (Isle of Palms Connector).  Once on Isle of Palms (about four miles), turn left onto Palm Boulevard  (SC 703) and drive to about two miles to 41st Avenue.  Turn left onto 41st Avenue (you'll actually have no choice).  The Isle of Palms Marina is on your right at the end of the 41st Avenue.  Click here to view a map showing the route from I-26 to the Isle of Palms Marina.
Shuttle: To run the shuttle for the Capers Island to Bull Island to Moore's Landing point-to-point trip, re-trace steps to US 17 / US 701 (Georgetown Highway).  Turn right onto US 17 / US 701 and drive North to Sewee Road (about 9.5 miles).  Turn right onto Sewee Road, then right again approximately 3.2 miles later onto Bull Island Road.  The landing is at the end of Bull Island Road.  Click here to view a map showing the route from Isle of Palms to Sewee and Bull Island Roads (you'll have to do a re-centering click or two to follow the route).
Other access points: Moore's Landing (see Bull Island).  Can only be used two hours before and after high tide without dragging boat through thick mud.  Predicted tides for:  Moore's Landing, Sewee Bay.
Camping: The best camping is on the ocean-side of the island.  It is by permit only;  call the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources at (843) 762-5042 or 762-5062 to obtain a permit.
Gradient: NA
  Online: SC DNR's Capers Island Heritage PreserveGORP's Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge
  Print: Coastal Expeditions Maps (well yes, technically a map, but includes put-ins and take-outs, camping areas, etc. . . in other words, much of what you'd be looking for in a guidebook);  James Bannon and Morrison Giffen's Sea Kayaking the Carolinas
Maps: TopoZone Isle of Palms to Capers Island (and Bull Island / Moore's Landing)
USGS 7.5 Quads: Fort Moultrie, SC 1:24,000 Capers Inlet, SC 1:24,000 Sewee Bay, SC 1:24,000 Bull Island, SC 1:24,000
Photos: Tours Gallery
Other: Predicted Tides (easiest to paddle in slack water or going with the tide.  Slack water occurs ___ hours before to ___ hours after a high / low tide):

Old Capers Landing, Santee Pass, Capers Island
Moore's Landing, Sewee Bay
Bulls Bay, Wharf Creek Entrance

Tides are predicted for eight locations between the Moore's Landing and Isle of Palms Marina;  the predictions are generally within 20 minutes of each other.  For additional predictions, visit, SC, Winyah Bay



Though Capers Island is not actually part of Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge, it is right next door and the only place to camp close enough to the Refuge to serve as a basecamp.

Approximately three miles in length and one mile in width, Capers Island was hit hard by Hurricane Hugo in 1989.  It is recovering, but is still lightly forested.  It encompasses 850 acres of maritime uplands, 214 acres of front beach, 1,090 acres of salt marsh and over 100 acres of brackish water impoundments. Wildlife habitat diversity is outstanding. One can observe alligators, white-tailed deer, raccoons, loggerhead sea turtles, and numerous birds, such as herons, egrets, ibises, bitterns, waterfowl, etc. Each year ospreys nest on Capers near the front beach. Eagles can also be seen soaring over the island from time to time. The creeks and marshes adjacent to Capers are alive with oysters, shrimp, hard clams, crabs and many species of finfish such as sea trout, red drum, flounder, black drum, king whiting, spot, pompano and croaker.

A point-to-point trip that includes a paddle by both Capers and Bull Island can be arranged by taking out at Moore's Landing.  The Isle of Palms to Moore's landing trip is approximately the same length as the round-trip from the Isle of Palms Marina to Capers Island.  Options for multi-day trips include day trips from Capers Island to Bull Island, circumnavigating Bull and Capers Islands and exploring Sewee and Bull Bays.

There are no amenities or stores on the island;  be sure to bring enough food and water (approximately one gallon per person per day).  Keep an eye on the tide;  paddling out to the island when the tide is coming in or back from the island when the tide is going out can be a real struggle.  Keep an eye out too for other watercraft;  much of the paddle is on the heavily traveled Intercoastal Waterway.


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Copyright 2000-2003 [Chris Bell, Asheville, NC].
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Revised: November 12, 2003.

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