Kayak, swim and stunt hunt with Jocassee Wild Child this summer
If you would like to have a swim this summer in one of the most beautiful places in South Carolina, then a kayaking tour with Jocassee Wild Child should be on your list. They invited us to try one of the tours so we could do this press review and we are grateful for the opportunity!
There are few places I would rather be in South Carolina than Lake Jocassee, the picturesque crystal clear lake in the middle of the Jocassee Gorge about an hour and twenty minutes from Greenville. I have been kayaking all around the lake and my kids and I love to swim and take in the natural beauty. Jocassee Lake Tours is the lake’s premier outfitter offering kayak and pontoon boat tours, wild river adventures, rentals, and shuttles. Their Kids Kayak Clinic is a new offering and is done through Jocassee Wild Child Outdoor Education, a great non-profit organization that seeks to connect children to nature. I made them Visit of the wild child and oh my god that was amazing.
So when I had the opportunity to do a kayaking clinic with Kerry, who also runs Wild Child, I jumped at the chance. Kerry McKenzie, if you’re reading my Wild Child review, is an expert naturalist and kayaking instructor. She not only knows the lake and its history, its plants, flowers and animals, but she is so kind and caring, especially with children. I enjoyed learning all kinds of interesting things from her, but my kids love her. She has a special way of interacting with children, making them feel free and fiery in nature, encouraging them to explore and try new things.
Kerry was our guide for the kids kayaking clinic, which was a four hour adventure on Lake Jocassee. Of all the times I’ve been to Lake Jocassee, this time I’ve been there. We could have stayed there for several more hours without even realizing it!
Experience not required
The Kids Kayak Clinic is run by Kerry and caters for kids ages 7 and up. Older children can have their own kayaks and younger ones can go tandem with their parents or guardians. My 10 year old daughter had her own kayak and my youngest was with me in the tandem.
If you’ve never been kayaking before, don’t even worry. Kerry will teach you how to hold the paddle, the proper movements and how to feel comfortable in the boat. It’s super easy and Kerry is a great instructor.
You will have life jackets and a paddle and you will want to bring water and snacks as you can stop for lunch on an island or a waterfall.
Adventure is encouraged
The lake is filled with many small coves, beaches and islands. We headed to a special little island about a 15 minute paddle ride. We learned a bit more about the Cherokee tribe originally from this area and how they might have lived back then. We learned how the lake was flooded by Duke Energy and blanketed a town in the valley (everyone got out, don’t worry). And we learned a bit more about the different birds and plants we saw along the way.
Once on the island the kids immediately found a rock to start jumping on and we the adults explored the surroundings a bit. Kerry pointed out that sassafras grew there, which you can make tea. And hey, if you were stuck there there were blueberries growing and you could make a little shelter from the oak leaves. Always think ahead!
The kids loved this part and the beauty of the surrounding mountains never gets old. We stayed there for a bit while the kids jumped off the rocks into the lake and swam. We finally made them leave with the promise of lunch and a stunt.
Bad Creek Falls
The closest waterfall to the Devils Fork State Park dock where we are staying is Bad Creek Falls, a smaller waterfall at the end of a beautiful cove with teal and green water. I still think the water in Lake Jocassee is wrong. I mean, these colors can’t be real, right? They are and they are simply breathtaking.
Ok the waterfall is beautiful and although small there is a pool at the bottom where the kids tried to catch fish. We didn’t have a rod. Or a line. They tried to grab them with their bare hands. It didn’t work out but they had fun.
We swam there for a bit, found centipedes and salamanders, then attempted to get into the kayak in the water where we couldn’t stand. Well, I didn’t. My daughter did it after some instructions from Kerry. She nailed it. I was honestly impressed. I’m not sure I could have done this.
Never a dull moment on Lake Jocassee
The weather that day was alternately cloudy and sunny but no wind and very calm water. It was beautiful. But the Gorges de la Jocassee is a temperate rainforest, which by its name means it rains a lot. Never kayaked in the rain but that changed that day.
We were about halfway there when we heard the rain pounding over the nearby mountains and saw the clouds coming over us. Then he overflowed. It was awesome. It was a hot day and the rain made the water so cool that large drops were splashing all around us. There were no waves and it was over quickly but it was such a great experience.
Make sure you bring a change of clothes so you can put on dry clothes for the ride home.
What to bring to the Children’s Kayak Clinic
Be sure to bring on your kayaking excursion:
- Solar cream
- A towel
- A life jacket if you have one (if not, you will be provided with one)
- The water
- A change of clothes
What to wear:
- Swimsuit with rashguard if desired
- Water shoes or shoes that you don’t mind getting wet (not flip flops)
- A cap
Booking your kayak clinic visit
I think kayaking on Lake Jocassee is one of the best ways to not only see the lake but also experience it up close. Taking a tour with Jocassee Wild Child is such a fun and unique experience and something I would recommend for some real quality time with your children.
Visits to the children’s kayak clinic take place every second Tuesday from June 8, 2021 to September 31, 2021 from 10:30 am to 2:30 pm A single kayak costs $ 50 and a tandem (two people) costs $ 100 and the tours are intended for children aged 7 and over.
You can book your kayak clinic online.
In addition, Jocassee Wild Child Outdoor Education offers family camps this summer a daylong adventure. The family camps will take place from 10 am to 2 pm every Friday from June 18, 2021 to August 27, 2021. The camps will focus on fun for the whole family and will revolve around the crystal-clear water for which Lake Jocassee is famous. Campers will be able to visit waterfalls, hidden coves and participate in hands-on activities highlighting the diversity of the Gorges’ wildlife and landscape.