Lone small tree with no leaves reaches up out of a reedy marsh under a cloudy sky, seen on the Wild South Carolina Escape.
Pink roseate spoonbill bird with long beak & legs stands in glassy marsh seen on cruises out of Charleston South Carolina.
Pod of dolphins porpoises out of blue water with a small ship in the background, seen on Wild South Carolina Escape cruises.
Wild South Carolina Escape cruise travelers stand on deck & photograph something out of view, under a cloudy sky.
Giant oak trees draped with Spanish moss line a scenic dirt road in the sun, seen on cruises out of Charleston South Carolina.
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North America East Coast Cruise

Wild South Carolina Escape: Beaufort & The Barrier Islands

On these compact 6-day cruises out of Charleston, South Carolina, explore windswept islands, wildlife refuges and picturesque neighborhoods. Board the 62-guest Nat Geo Sea Lion to explore the Sea Islands, a string of barrier and tidal isles that carve South Carolina’s Low Country into a maze of waterways and wilderness. Sail among these islands during a short, enriching getaway, discovering sites that tell the history of South Carolina and exploring wetlands, wild beaches, dunes, and maritime forests in parks and refuges along the coast.   

Cross various highlights off the list on your Wild South Carolina Escape. Explore Beaufort, where opulent mansions and historic churches and schools tell stories of the past. Watch for birdlife, alligators and loggerhead turtles on St. Phillip’s Island, a pristine wilderness area once owned by conservationist Ted Turner. Venture to the ruins of historic plantations at Botany Bay Plantation Wildlife Management Area, and discover unspoiled beaches and coastal forests. Coast in a Zodiac along the shores of Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge. Enjoy a flexible itinerary, optimizing opportunities to encounter dolphins, storks, turtles and other species.

The small and nimble 62-guest National Geographic Sea Lion provides direct access to craggy coastlines, pristine islands, small bays and estuaries otherwise challenging or impossible to reach. Explore under the sure guidance of an expedition leader and five veteran naturalists, including a National Geographic certified photo instructor, plus a wellness specialist. The expedition staff’s knowledge and passion for South Carolina is the key to this enriching, active cruise experience.

Read on for details about these cruises out of Charleston, South Carolina, or learn more about AdventureSmith’s East Coast cruises.



Itinerary

Wild South Carolina Escape: Beaufort & The Barrier Islands Itinerary

These cruises out of Charleston, South Carolina conveniently operate round-trip, sailing south to Beaufort and Port Royal before cruising as far north as Francis Marion National Forest.

Route map of Wild South Carolina Escape cruises out of Charleston South Carolina with visits along the coast.
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Day 1
Embark Charleston, South Carolina

Arrive in Charleston and settle into your cabin aboard the ship. This evening, sail out of scenic Charleston harbor and follow the coast southwest, skirting the barrier islands that shelter the mainland.

Accommodations

National Geographic Sea Lion

Meals

dinner

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Day 2
Beaufort & Port Royal Island

Round Bay Point Island early this morning and enter the mouth of the Harbor River. Be on deck as the South Carolina coastline awakens. The ship will make her way along the coast of Port Royal Island to the historic town of Beaufort. This beautiful area was alternately settled—and sometimes fought over—by English, French and Spanish colonists as well as its original Native American inhabitants. Dive in to this diverse heritage today, visiting Old Sheldon Church; the Port Royal Museum; and the Penn Center, the first academic school for freed people. See opulent historic mansions and then head to Lady’s Island Oysters for a tasting of oysters raised in the nearby estuary.

Accommodations

National Geographic Sea Lion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 3
St. Phillips & Edisto Islands

Spend today exploring several of the barrier islands. On pristine St. Phillips Island, which was never developed and is now part of a state park, hike trails that weave from sand dunes to salt marshes to maritime forest. Keep an eye out for migrating warblers and roseate spoonbills in the quiet waterways, as well as alligators, loggerhead sea turtles and more. Watch for dolphins as the ship crosses St. Helena Sound. Conditions permitting, go ashore at Edisto Island to visit Botany Bay Plantation Wildlife Management Area. Originally two plantations that played a role during the Civil War, this protected area now comprises 4,600 acres of wild beach, pine forests and freshwater ponds, dotted with historic plantation ruins.

Accommodations

National Geographic Sea Lion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 4
Exploring Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge

Trace the coast north past Charleston to Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge, which spans 104 square miles from Bull Island in the south to Murphy Island in the north. Enjoy an entire day to explore the refuge and discover its wildlife and history. Hike one of the many trails, or cruise close to shore in a Zodiac, watching for dolphins and seabirds. Have the camera ready as the ship passes the Cape Romain Lighthouse.

Accommodations

National Geographic Sea Lion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 5
Francis Marion National Forest

Today set off into the waterways of Francis Marion National Forest. Dotted with towering old-growth bald cypress trees, this black water region draws all manner of wildlife, from nesting birds to sunning reptiles, and insects humming among the reeds.

Accommodations

National Geographic Sea Lion

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 6
Disembark Charleston, South Carolina

This morning, the ship arrives in Charleston for passenger disembarkation followed by a transfer to the airport for flights home.

Accommodations

n/a

Meals

breakfast

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Details
Inclusions, Terms & Notes

Included

All accommodations aboard ship per itinerary; all meals as indicated; excursions; services of expedition leader, naturalist staff and expert guides; use of equipment; expedition fees; all port charges, service taxes and airport transfers to and from ship.

Exclusions

Immigration fees (if applicable); air transportation; extensions; personal items such as emails, laundry, voyage DVD, etc.; and insurance of any kind. Gratuities and alcoholic beverages excluded, except for all departures of National Geographic Explorer, Orion, Endurance, Resolution, Sea Cloud, Jahan and Lord of the Glens.

Payment & Cancellation

In order to confirm this trip, a deposit of $750 is required per person at time of booking. The balance of the trip price is due 90 days before the departure date. Special holiday payment and cancellation terms may apply. Guests who must cancel their trip for any reason must do so in writing. Standard cancellations are subject to the following per-person penalties, based on number of days prior to departure:
120 or more days – $350 of deposit retained (may be applied to future trip by trip operator)
119 to 90 days – 100% of deposit
89 to 60 days – 25% of total trip cost
59 to 45 days – 50% of total trip cost
44 to 0 days – 100% of total trip cost

Terms & Conditions

This trip is subject to AdventureSmith Explorations Terms and Conditions. Please read this information carefully and call us if you have any questions. A Traveler Information Form, which includes a release of liability, must be completed and signed by all travelers. Your Adventure Specialist will send you a unique link to complete this form along with a packing list and extensive pre-departure and travel insurance information upon booking confirmation.

Vaccination Requirement
To join this trip, all eligible guests must provide proof of being fully vaccinated (at least 14 days after your final COVID-19 vaccine shot), including a booster shot for those eligible. There may also be COVID-19 testing or other requirements to participate; your Adventure Specialist will provide details of current policies upon booking.

Arrival & Departure

The Wild South Carolina Escape cruise begins and ends in Charleston, South Carolina (CHS). We highly recommend arriving one day prior to your trip start date in case of any flight delay, cancellation or lost luggage issues. Consult your Adventure Specialist for arrival and departure flight recommendations.

Activities

Whether you are looking for light activity options or more challenging outdoor pursuits, the ship’s crew can tailor most excursions to suit your skill level. Adventure activities may include historic site visits, an oyster tasting, hiking, walking tours, kayaking, inflatable boat/skiff excursions, photography and wildlife observation.

Room Configuration

In addition to listed Solo cabin rates, select double-occupancy cabins may be available for single occupancy with a single supplement fee. If you would like to share accommodations with another guest of the same gender, we will be happy to try to accommodate you in select cabin categories. This program allows you to pay the per person double-occupancy rate whether or not a roommate is found. Contact AdventureSmith for further details and availability.

Families & Children

Children under the age of 18 at time of travel save $500 off the double occupancy rate. Skilled staff members trained with National Geographic Education organize activities that inspire curiosity in young people of all ages. Programming for kids may include activities like photo workshops, journaling, scavenger hunts, Zodiac-driving lessons, hands-on nature and science programming and kid-friendly menu options.

Travel Insurance

Protect your travel investment with insurance. Our partners at Travelex Insurance offer a variety of plans and policies to fit every trip and budget. Coverage for a pre-existing medical condition is also available if you purchase the Travel Select plan within 15 days of the initial trip payment; refer to plan details. Learn more about travel insurance or get a free quote.

Itinerary Notes

Use the itinerary as a guide only. Itineraries may be altered due to weather, wildlife, national park regulation or at the captain’s discretion. The ability to be flexible makes this type of small ship cruising unique.

Rates & Dates

Cruise Rates & Dates

Rates are variable per remaining availability and are subject to change. Please contact AdventureSmith for the most up-to-date pricing.

Nov 22 - Nov 27, 2022
National Geographic Sea Lion • 6 days
From $3990USD
Per Person
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Apr 29 - May 04, 2023
National Geographic Sea Lion • 6 days
From $4190USD
Per Person
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May 04 - May 09, 2023
National Geographic Sea Lion • 6 days
From $4110USD
Per Person
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May 09 - May 14, 2023
National Geographic Sea Lion • 6 days
From $4110USD
Per Person
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May 14 - May 19, 2023
National Geographic Sea Lion • 6 days
From $4110USD
Per Person
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May 19 - May 24, 2023
National Geographic Sea Lion • 6 days
From $4110USD
Per Person
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Nov 23 - Nov 28, 2023
National Geographic Sea Lion • 6 days
From $4110USD
Per Person
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Accommodation

Learn About the Small Ship on Your Itinerary

Expedition Ship
National Geographic Sea Lion

National Geographic Sea Lion is a tried and true educational-based 62-guest expedition ship. Onboard experts from National Geographic make this ship, and its twin the National Geographic Sea Bird, unique.

Deals

Current Deals on This Trip

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Offer expires June 30th, 2022
4th Person Travels Free on Select National Geographic Cruises

The fourth person travels for free when booking with three full-paying guests on select departures of National Geographic cruises in the Arctic, Baja, Belize, Costa Rica, Panama and the Galapagos.

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Offer expires January 31st, 2023
Save 10% On Two Consecutive National Geographic Expeditions

Save 10% when you book two consecutive cruises aboard a National Geographic expedition ship.

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Offer expires October 31st, 2022
Cruise Both U.S. Coasts With National Geographic & Save 20%

Book your 2022 U.S. West Coast cruise and receive 20% off any U.S. East Coast cruise in 2022 or 2023.

Book with the confidence that comes from experience.

100+ combined years of experience, 7 continents explored, decades of expedition cruising around the world & here to help you find & book your dream trip.

Extend Your Trip

Additional Travel Options Before or After Your Cruise

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8 Day Cruise
Exploring The Low Country: Cumberland Island to Charleston Cruise

Board 62-guest Nat Geo Sea Lion to cruise The Low Country between South Carolina and Florida. Along the way, enjoy coastal lagoons, West African-influenced culture, birding opportunities, walking tours and learning about conservation efforts.

Special Offer
From $5760USD
Apr
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6 Day Cruise
Wild Chesapeake Bay Escape: Waterways, Watermen & Wildlife

On these 6-day Chesapeake Bay overnight cruises, explore the remote coves and islands of America’s largest estuary, with 62-guest Nat Geo Sea Lion as your home base.

Special Offer
From $4110USD
May Jun
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On this 8-day Bahamas small ship cruise, go beyond the all-inclusive resorts to some of the archipelago's most far-flung islands. Board 62-guest National Geographic Sea Lion for a unique journey into the islands' remarkable culture & wildness, including blue holes, thick mangrove forests, coral reefs and spectacular beaches.

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New York City to Cape Cod: Whales, Great White Sharks & Seafaring History

Embark the 62-guest Nat Geo Sea Lion to explore New York City, Long Island Sound, Cape Cod and beyond on this 8-day cruise. Visit New England's only national marine sanctuary, take in maritime history and watch for whales and great white sharks.

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6 - 8 Day Cruise
Wild Maine Escape: Exploring Coastal Maine

Escape to timeless fishing villages and rugged Acadia National Park on these 6- or 8-day Maine overnight cruises aboard 62-guest Nat Geo Sea Lion. Soak up the art, photograph lighthouses, seek whales and savor a special dinner at an organic farm or lobster boil on the beach.

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Wild South Carolina Escape: Beaufort & The Barrier Islands

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