Get to know our guides and captains! One of these professional naturalists will be leading you on your next adventure. All of our staff strive to provide safe, fun, and unforgettable adventures. Like someone in particular? They love to be requested!
Captain Joe Lotts
After 16 years of experience, Joe branched off to start Charleston Outdoor Adventures. Despite running the business since 2009, you can frequently find him leading trips on the water. Once you meet him it is no surprise that he has been guiding since the young age of fifteen. After discovering his passion for the outdoors, Joe obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in Wilderness Leadership & Experiential Education from Brevard College. Living in the mountains of North Carolina, Joe sharpened his kayaking and guiding skills in whitewater rivers and mountain creeks. After moving to Charleston, Joe worked in the industry mastering the skills needed to provide the best guiding service in the region.
Captain Tripp Copeland III
From Winton, NC, Tripp discovered his love of the outdoors at an early age. Spending his summers in the Outer Banks, he grew an appreciation of the East Coast and especially its waters. Tripp followed his passion to Brevard College, where he graduated with a degree in Wilderness Leadership and Experiential Education. He started guiding kayak eco tours in 2003 in Beaufort, N.C. From there, he moved to Charleston where he has been guiding ever since. He has since developed great enthusiasm and knowledge of Lowcountry estuaries. Tripp’s vast experience and laid back attitude make him a cherished member of the COA team.
Captain Luke Levanchy
Luke is a native of New Jersey and has lived in the Lowcountry for 9 years. He left the corporate world after realizing that he wanted to enjoy his work every day and be outdoors. After six years of guiding for COA, he is one of our most passionate, knowledgeable captains. Luke enjoys providing fun, educational tours for locals and visitors alike. Luke is a lover of all things water and you can frequently find him surfing on Folly Beach when he is not guiding.
Cade was born in South Carolina where he grew up kayaking, fishing, and exploring in the creeks and marshes of the Lowcountry. His passion carried into an educational setting, studying marine biology and ecology in high school and into higher education at the College of Charleston. Cade is our go-to guide for anything paleontological, with a depth of information on South Carolina’s rich fossil history. His passion for the ecosystem and everything in it is evident in his attitude here on Bowens Island.
Captain Josh Coleman
A South Carolina native, Josh was raised in the tidal waters of Charleston. Always being an outdoor enthusiast, he quickly became passionate about preserving fragile ecosystems. During his time in the United States Marine Corps, Josh was fortunate to visit many exotic places where his love for conservation grew. Now, as an eco-tour guide, his desire is to instill that very same passion into others. When he is not guiding, Josh enjoys hiking and reading about American History. He can often be found at concerts – especially if his idol, Dave Matthews, is playing near Charleston!
Alex was born and raised in Charlotte, North Carolina. Her love of the outdoors began while attending summer camp in the Blue Ridge Mountains. While pursuing degrees in Spanish and Environmental Studies at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, she spent summers working as a camp counselor and expedition leader on the Outer Banks. She loves paddling, gardening, and anything that connects her to the natural world. When she is not on the water, you can find Alex in the COA office, helping you book your upcoming adventure!
Josh “JB” Butler
Growing up in the backwoods of Landrum, South Carolina, Josh found a passion for the wildlife and mountain streams of the Southern Appalachia. Josh would go on to the College of Charleston to obtain a degree in Biology in order to make a living out of his love for the outdoors. Inspired by the likes of Steve Irwin and David Attenborough, Josh uses his platform as a guide to get people excited about ecology and the importance of conservation. When not out on the water, you can find him playing bass with bands downtown or in the woods flipping logs looking for critters.
Originally from Knoxville, TN, Alison grew up exploring the mountains and valley of her home. Alison found her love for the Lowcountry when she came to the area to attend the College of Charleston. She recently graduated with a major in Urban Studies & concentration in sustainability. As an eco tour guide she is enthusiastic about preserving the environment, connecting people with nature, and enjoying the outdoors. Off the water Alison spends her time practicing yoga, loving dogs & traveling.
Casten’s passion for the outdoors brought her to COA, in search of a new career in tourism & fitness. Born in Ohio, Casten moved to Virginia Beach at a young age & fell in love with the ocean, sunshine, animals & their way of life. She played Division 1 field hockey & majored in Business Management at Appalachian State University in Boone, NC where she loved exploring the Blue Ridge Mountains. Casten brings a unique perspective to COA. When she is not at work you can find her teaching fitness classes at Crunch Fitness, fishing for big reds, and relaxing by the pool with friends.
Brice grew up in San Diego, CA where she spent most of her time hiking, camping and exploring the local beaches. She studied Sustainability before moving to Charleston to teach Environmental Education. Here at COA, Brice is able to nourish her love of the outdoors and share a bit of the lowcountry with others. When not on the water or in the office at COA, you can find her gardening, reading and doing Pilates.
Katie is originally from south Florida but moved to Greenville, SC as a kid. She graduated from The College of Charleston with a degree in Marine Biology in 2018. Katie is very dynamic here at COA and can help out in lots of different areas! Katie has a strong passion for marine mammals and is a volunteer for the South Carolina Marine Mammal Stranding Network and Lowcountry Marine Mammal Network. In her free time you can find Katie working out at the gym, enjoying the water, or photographing our local dolphins.
Captain Dallas Baker
Dallas Baker is a native of the greater Charleston area- growing up in and around the local waterways. As a year round swimmer, passionate surfer, avid whitewater kayaker, professional sea kayaker, and boat captain, Dallas is no stranger to the water-world. He also specializes in Ornithology, so be sure to ask him everything he knows about birds. When he’s not on the water you can find him playing in his beach driven bluegrass band Dallas Baker & Friends or enjoying all the beauty Charleston has to offer with his Fiancé, and cat Carol.
Captain Ryan Hammer
Growing up, Ryan had quite a nomadic life living in Arkansas, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Iowa, and now South Carolina. His love for wildlife and the outdoors started as a child by spending hours on end watching Animal Planet. He graduated from Allegheny College with a double major in Biology and Environmental Science. After spending the last year on fishing vessels in the Bering Sea of Alaska, Ryan is thrilled to lead tours on much calmer waters. When he’s not out paddling, Ryan enjoys exploring local breweries, playing paintball, and admiring all the cute dogs Charleston has to offer.
Captain Craig Burke
Craig recently moved to Charleston after spending the last 5 years in Minnesota, where he graduated from Macalester College with a degree in environmental studies. Originally from Connecticut, Craig grew up exploring the forests of his hometown, and quickly developed a curiosity for the abundance of life around him. After spending a few summers conducting invasive plant research in college, he solidified his passion to work outdoors and continue to explore the interconnectedness of nature. In his free time, Craig loves to bike, ski, climb, camp, or find any other excuse to get out, travel, and explore the outdoors.
Raised in North Carolina, Leaf moved to Charleston before high school and joined the COA team shortly after. Currently in his 4th season, now as a guide, Leaf’s quick wit and relaxed manner make him a beloved guide and team member. Leaf grew up exploring the outdoors-camping, cycling and paddling, and recently took a cross country road trip to explore various national parks. When Leaf is not on water at COA, he spends his time playing soccer, listening to music and training his adorable pup, Sage.
Hanah, born and raised in the Lowcountry, grew up loving the water and anything outside. After spending some time hiking in Colorado and working on a ropes course this past year, Hanah is psyched to get back on the water and spend the summer sharing her passion for the local ecosystems of Charleston on kayak tours. Hanah’s go to’s during their free time are photography and being at the beach.
Michael, aka Ibis, is entering his 5th season here at COA. Originally from Michigan, Michael has called the Lowcountry home for almost a decade. He went to school for art, and continues to work as an artist, cartoonist & screen printer. Michael’s love for food has created deep connection in the food & beverage worlds of Folly Beach, James Island & downtown Charleston. Make sure to get his recommendations! Michael is a creative soul who loves exploring, sharing nature with others & enjoying great food with great friends.
Originally from Annapolis, MD, Cullen is no stranger to the water. He arrived in Charleston as a student, pursuing a degree in Business Administration at the College of Charleston. A recent graduate, he is excited to join the COA’s office team, learning the ins and outs of a small, local business. Cullen is passionate about all kinds of travel & had spent time backpacking in Europe and roundtripping across the US, visiting National Parks, climbing, and enjoying nature. With an interest in sustainability, Cullen is also excited to learn more about our local ecosystem through training as a kayak guide.