LifeTides Institute

Welcome to LifeTides Institute

Committed to Conservation, Exploration, Education, Active Learning & Service

Come join us as we explore the South Carolina Low Country's magnificent coastal land, river and seascapes, as we work to conserve and protect special areas, as we support a broad range of educational initiatives and as we sample this region's special cuisine!

Many of the LifeTides current programs are coordinated through the efforts of Road Scholar. Our Kayaking, BBQ and Birding programs are built with the goal to share the unique and natural setting of the South Carolina Lowcountry, striving to set the highest standards for stewardship and protection though the education and exploration of its bounty.

Through the power of education, the LifeTides Institute strives to preserve and protect South Carolina's low country. It supports adult continuing education and works with local schools and communities to support awareness and stewardship of this special coastal environment. As a charitable organization, LifeTides uses its proceeds to support education, land and habitat conservation and also supports local communities by contributing to a local food bank.

LifeTides is also committed in the Lowcountry region to help our nation’s wounded veterans who have given so much of themselves to our country— to help in providing them with the calm surroundings and respite of Palm Key and its environs, to promote wellness and healing and to provide continuing education to our veterans to support their independence.

The LifeTides Institute welcomes all those who want to learn, participate and give to make a genuine difference in a special region of our country. We invite you to browse our site to learn more about each of our activities and special offerings. For customized events for families and friends, or corporate events of 6 or more participants, contact us for details.”


If you want to learn to barbecue or just improve what you already know this is the program for you. Wonderful setting and facilities, caring group leader and the most outstanding instructor, JT Handy, that you can imagine. Meals were more than plentiful and delicious. I came away full, refreshed and motivated to put into practice what I'd learned. Also enjoyed the small group of participants. A totally fun week.


My husband and I just returned from the BarBQue Class taught by J.T. Handy. It was excellent! We learned so much. We came right home and bought a brisket to BarBQue ourselves. Excellent accommodations and delicious food! Do take this class! It was well worth it! Very well organized!


Well worth the time, money and effort- we traveled over 3000 miles each way to attend. Well organized, effective teaching and very good accommodations. (and the food was outstanding!- of course we cooked it so what else would you expect me to say?)


Birding the Low country was an outstanding program. We were novice birders and feel that our knowledge of birds increased exponentially on our trip. The program, instructors, accommodations, and meals all combined to exceed our expectations.


Our first Road Scholar trip has set the bar high. From the tranquil beauty of the Palm Key community to our well organized and friendly host, we felt immediately at ease. We shared scrumptious home cooked meals with great folks from all over. We were the least experienced of the group and everyone made us feel welcome including our terrific instructors. They taught us to look and listen. We came away encouraged and inspired. The entire adventure exceeded our expectations.


As a relatively novice birder, and a definite novice with shore birds, this was the perfect trip for me. The leaders were very encouraging and informative, and the other participants were all willing to share their varied knowledge and experience. A big plus for me was the accommodations in a somewhat secluded and extremely quiet and beautiful area on the edge of the marsh, nestled under live oaks and Spanish moss. And this trip should be subtitled, "with Low Country culture and cuisine." Every meal was outstanding and the additional presentations on Low Country art and culture were the perfect accompaniment to the birding.


This is a wonderful trip for active folks who enjoy kayaking in a variety of environments from salt water marshes to tidal rivers to evocative swamps. Great leaders who will give you a solid introduction to the low country, its birdlife and natural history, and its history and traditions. It's such a great experience that I've done this program four times!


The guides are most accommodating and consider weather and tidal variances each day to create a pleasant outing. They are extremely knowledgeable about the area and strive to vary the experiences to present a most educational program. Accommodations and meals were top-notch!


A wonderful kayaking trip.The area is well known to the guides and they are flexible in choosing the appropriate paddle for the weather, tides, wind etc. They are also very adept at making everyone feel welcome and included.The smaller size group allows the group to become better aquainted with one another. Both the accommodations and food were top notch.