From the safety of a boat cruise to the adventure of a water-based obstacle course, here’s how to make the water work for you this summer

Blues & BBQ Harbor Cruise

Dates through November, boarding at 6:30 p.m.


17 Lockwood Drive, Downtown

(843) 722-1112.

With Thursday (and First Friday) cruises extending well through November, Charleston Harbor Tours & Events are giving you every opportunity to spend your summer filling your stomachs with pulled pork and refreshing, salty air. Shrimp City Slim and Swing & Swine are behind the magic on this two-hour locals adventure. Boarding at 6:30 p.m. and serving you live blues through the night, you can grab a ticket for $46.95 per person. Don’t take any chances, advanced booking is recommended for this groovy ride.

Jam on the Water Concert Cruise

Dates through November, boarding at 6:30 p.m.


17 Lockwood Drive, Downtown

Nothing beats hearing local talent cover some of your favorite bands, all while floating down the Cooper River on The Carolina Queen. Mark off your July calendars, because Follywood Productions and Charleston Harbor Tours are bringing you a pre-cruise gathering at Salty Mike’s from 5-6:30 p.m. followed by a two-hour sunset ride that is ever-changing. Age is 21+ and tickets are $25 per person. Grab em’ and jam to some oldies.

Nature Adventures

1 Shrimp Boat Lane, Mt. Pleasant

(843) 568-3222.

If your leather car seat is too much to handle this sweaty summer, consider getting around in a kayak. Rentals for kayaks and paddleboards are available seven days a week via Nature Adventures — and if you’re not confident in yourself, lessons are offered to all. A two-hour kayak tour starts at $45, while a three-hour tour starts at $59. If you’re looking for something a little more adventurous and educational, sign up for a two-hour paddleboarding tour starting at $45 and surround yourself with manatees. There are certainly worse views.

Coastal Expeditions

514 Mill St. Mt. Pleasant

(843) 884-7684.

There’s no shortage of great watersport companies in the area, but Coastal Expeditions is always at the top of our list. With a Shem Creek flagship location and outposts on IOP, Folly Beach, and Bulls Island, there’s no excuse to not find an on-the-water activity that works for you. From kayak tours to canoe tours (get those arm muscles working, y’all) to boat tours, this company offers it all. And the best part is that Coastal Expeditions works hard to educate people on the importance of keeping our coastal waterways clean and safe for sea creatures. The Coastal Expeditions Foundation coordinated the Save Crab Bank Paddle, among other conservation efforts. (You can donate online!)

Charleston Aqua Park

3050 Marlin Road, Johns Island

One of the area’s newest attractions, the Charleston Aqua Park, lcoated at Trophy Lakes, features floating devices on which you can display your parkour skills. No joking, this is some American Ninja Warrior stuff. You can now head online to book your one hour session ($18/hour) and let loose on the floats. You will be provided with a vest and helmet for your safety.

Bonus: Waterparks a-plenty

Splashzone Waterpark

Weekdays & weekends: 10 a.m.- 6 p.m.

$11.99/general, $9.99/under 48″, $6.99/seniors, Free/children two and under

James Island County Park, 871 Riverland Drive. James Island

(843) 795-4386.

If you’re looking to enjoy a park on a budget, head to the gates after 3 p.m. Mon-Fri for $7.99 admission. If you’re bringing the whole family, group rates vary and range from $7.99- $9.99 a person. Here’s to no one being left behind.

Whirlin’ Waters Adventure Waterpark

Weekdays & weekends: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

$21.99/general, $16.99/under 48″, $11.99/seniors, Free/children two and under

Wannamaker County Park, 8888 University Blvd. North Charleston

(843) 762-5585.

15-acres of water play sounds like a plan to us. Head to North Charleston after 3 p.m. Mon-Fri and get in for $12.99, with group rates ranging from $14.99-$16.99 a person. Relax on the Rollin’ River if you’re feeling lazy, or grab a tube and hold your breath on The Washout. There’s a little something for everyone this summer.

Splash Island Waterpark

Weekdays & weekends: 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

$7.99/general, $6.99/under 48″, $4.99/seniors, Free/children two and under

Palmetto Islands County Park, 444 Needlerush Parkway. Mt. Pleasant

(843) 795-4386.

Nothing can cool you off quite like a 16-foot otter slide. If you’re in Mt. Pleasant after 3.p.m. Mon-Fri, you can experience it for $5.99. Group rates range from $4.99-$6.99 a person.