your paddlesports destination

Winyah Bay in South Carolina

Trip Overview

We began our trip on Thursday from the South Island Ferry boat ramp which is located at the very end of South Island Rd. There is plenty of parking and a store located not far from the landing that sells fishing licenses and gear. The boat ramp is located on the Intracoastal waterway and the tide is fairly strong here, this made for an easy paddle out to the bay.

Once in the bay the wind can get strong. Our destination, North Island, was on the opposite side of the bay. We hugged the right side of the bay until we came to a point, we began the cross of the bay then, headed towards the Georgetown lighthouse and pier. Make sure to cross at a diagonal, because due to the currents you will not be able to go straight across. Rip currents, swells, and wind can get very strong in the bay so we crossed as quickly as we could.

About 50 feet from the beach of North Island you will notice a very strong rip current that travels at 10-15 knots. Our intention was to camp on the Ocean side of the island. But too late we realized there were no dunes or trees to shelter our campsite from the wind. After a strong storm and a very windy sleepless night, we accepted defeat and retreated near the lighthouse where a campsite is marked by a tree stump on the beach decorated with hardhats and other pieces of trash found drifting in the ocean. This proved to be much better except for the mosquitoes.

The paddle is a total of 5-6 miles one way to the campsite.
Things we learned from this trip were:

  1. do not try to camp on the ocean side of the island - the wind is too strong and there is no sheltered areas to camp. We bushwhacked through the woods to the ocean one day and enjoyed the beach that way
  2. bring plenty of mosquito spray


large parking area at boat ramp, store a couple of miles from boat ramp with fishing licenses, gear, gas and other gas station merchandise.

Campsite on island is large with no facilities.


Perception Carolina 14.5 foot

Perception Shadow Sealion 16.5 foot


Permit required from the Tom Yawkey Wildlife Center


Take US-17 or US-17 Bypass South towards Georgetown

  • Cross the Great Pee Dee River (two bridges) before entering Georgetown
  • Enter Georgetown US-17 is called Church St.
  • At the McDonalds go Left onto N. Fraser St which is still Hwy-17.
  • Cross the Sampit River Bridge.
  • At Graham Funeral Home Turn Left onto Britt St.
  • Turn right onto S. Island Rd.
  • Go to the end of S. Island Rd. (about 8 miles) to the ferry crossing and boat ramp
  • Duration: 2-3 Day Trip
  • Sport/Activity: Kayaking, Canoeing
  • Skill Level: Advanced
  • Water Type: Open Water/Ocean
  • Group Rates: No

Locations on this Trip