One of the most beautiful creeks lined with waterfront restaurants and entertainment is Shem Creek. Shem Creek is positioned in Mount Pleasant across the Cooper River from Charlestons peninsula. Boaters flock to the creek because it is the closest experience to that of a tropical island getaway. When looking for a new boating adventure in Charleston, is docking at Shem Creek worth it?

What Is There To Do On Shem Creek By Boat

The biggest draw to Shem Creek is the dining. Five restaurants are accessible by boat, but in addition to dining, the creek winds through marshlands with beautiful coastal homes. 


Dinning on Shem Creek is a seafood lover’s dream. All restaurants serve up a local fresh catch, including shrimp, fish, oysters, and more. However, plenty of other options are on the menu for those who do not prefer food from the sea. 

The restaurants include Saltwater Cowboy, Red’s Ice House, Waters Edge, Vickery’s Bar & Grill, and Tavern & Table. Each of these has dockage space to tie up and grab a bite to eat.


The entrance to the creek from the Cooper River offers fantastic views of the Charleston skyline. As you venture further into the creek, you will not pass through the Coleman Bridge because all dining is before the bridge. 

Between the entrance and the bridge, enjoy the marshlands, waterfront homes, and dolphins as they swim and play in the creek. 

Is It Worth Docking At Shem Creek

For an escape by boat to enjoy live music, great food, endless entertainment, and a glimpse of dolphins, it is well worth docking at Shem Creek. 

Your interest in Shem Creek is shared by thousands of other boaters who live in the area, and as a result, the creek becomes crowded. While yes, it is worth it, understand the challenges faced.

What Are The Challenges Faced By Boaters Docking In Shem Creek

Docking in Shem Creek is challenging even for the most experienced boaters. The waterway is narrow, there is a substantial amount of boat traffic, and the currents are strong. These, in combination, can lead to a disastrous situation for unseasoned operators.

Boat Traffic

Boats can and have ping-ponged off each other while navigating the narrow waterway. Watercraft, particularly on weekends, are operating in and out of the creek like a major highway was rush hour.

On top of traffic, vessels are dock and undocking, leaving a chaotic mess of boats moving every which way.

We recommend avoiding boating in the creek on weekends. Weekdays are best to avoid the crowds and the trouble of finding dockage space. 

Narrow Passages

Measuring just 90 feet wide, Shem Creek is narrow. Little room is available for boats moving in or out of the waterway. Once the dockage space fills up, the channel becomes even more limited. 

While passing through the Coleman Street bridge is optional, it is not necessary when coming from Charleston. The channel between the spans is low in height clearance and narrow. 

Our advice is to allow a vessel with the current on its stern to pass through the bridge first. Overall, use caution when operating in Shem Creek due to its limited amount of space. 

Strong Currents

As if narrow waterways and heavy boat traffic aren’t enough of a challenge, add strong currents. The tidal changes move massive amounts of water and out, which causes rapid flow and further complicates navigation.

The current presents a problem for operators docking and when approaching the bridge. Boats are quickly set down on other vessels tied to the dock and bridge. 

We suggest leaving ample space to maneuver clear of the bridge and dock the boat with the bow into the current to maximize control. 

So Is It Worth Docking At Shem Creek

Yes, it is worth taking a boat in Shem Creek and docking for lunch or dinner. When possible avoid weekends which certainly can be challenging based on busy work schedules. Filling up the gas tank before hand will help with manuervering. Also, remember to take your time, no need to rush the docking process. A hurried up approach often leads to avoidable mistakes.