South Carolina State Parks
Aiken State Park
Aiken State Park is a very popular destination thanks mainly to the four spring-fed lakes and the South Edista River which meanders through the park. This park is a unique combination of river swamp, hardwood forest and sandhill pine forest. The park is spread over 1067 acres and is full of varied plant and animal life. Many people come to this park for birding and nature study.
Andrew Jackson State Park
The park was established to honour former President Andrew Jackson. It is a relatively small park at 360 acres and it houses a museum which highlights life in the South Carolina backcountry from 1767 to 1784. The recreational opportunities inside the park include nature trails, campground, fishing lake and picnic shelters.
Baker Creek State Park
The Baker Creek State Park was primarily established to offer the best public access on Lake Thurmond. There is ample water recreational opportunities near the beautiful and scenic lakeside campsites. The pavilion in front of the lake can easily accommodate large group gatherings. There is a 10 mile long mountain bike trail lets you enjoy the scenic surroundings, the Piedmont forest and the wildlife including wild turkey. If you are looking for recreation among undisturbed natural resources then Baker Creek State Park is the perfect place for you.
Barnwell State Park
Located in a rural region near Blackville, the Barnwell State Park features a pond which is surrounded by areas designated for picnics. There is also a nature trail that takes you on an interesting journey round the pond. The place has become very popular for fishing and at certain times of the year, one can see a bit of plant life in the pond. The main facilities available here are boat rental, a fully developed campground, cabins and, of course, fishing.
Caesars Head State Park
The Caesars Head State Park offers one of the most fascinating mountain-overlooks in the state. There are more than 50 miles of hiking trails through the rugged mountainous terrain and a number of camping areas, albeit primitive, are available along the trails. If you are ready for a 2 mile hike then you will reach the Raven Cliff Falls, where the suspension bridge gives you a wonderful overlook to the falls.
Calhoun Falls State Park
The Cahoun Falls State Park bears its importance to the fact that it provides an access to the Savannah River Lake and the park itself offers a wide variety of recreational facilities like hiking, a seasonal swimming area, camping facilities and a tennis court. The beautiful views of the surrounding forest area and the lake is another highlight of this place. If you are into angling then you would be happy to note that the lake has an abundance of crappie, catfish, bass and bream.
Charles Towne Landing State Historic Site
When you come to the Charles Towne Landing State Historic Site you will get to witness the site of the 1st permanent English settlement in the state. This site now houses a nature preserve, numerous trails, an indoor museum that depicts the life of the early settlers and a reasonably good animal forest. The latest addition to this state park is a full scale replica of a 17th century wooden ship known as Adventure.
Cheraw State Park
Located in the SE corner of the state of South Carolina, the Cheraw State Park has a golf course, a driving range, a huge 332 acre lake and a number of hiking trails. I the upper end of the lake you will come across a number of Cypress trees. Camping facilities, vacation cabins and equestrian campsites are readily available.
Chester State Park
Lying in the quiet hills of South Carolina Piedmont, the Chester State Park has offered recreational facilities and retreat for many generations over the years. Spread over 523 acres, the park includes a lake (160 acres) that is surrounded by a 2 mile nature trail, boat rental facilities, archery, camping and picnicking spots. You would love to come down here if you are looking for a secluded place with a placid setting.
Colleton State Park
The Colleton State Park is basically a stop-over for travellers on Interstate 95 but, over the years, the park has become popular as people enjoy the sheer diversity of wildlife on offer and the calm and relaxing atmosphere near the Edisto River. It is interesting to note that one portion of the river has been designated as a kayak and canoe trail. There is also a nature trail right next to the swamp.
Colonial Dorchester State Historic Site
Source: Jason AG/Flickr
The Colonial Dorchester State Historic Site was occupied the settlers till the 1780s. It has a number of well-preserved tabby structures. The tabby fort of Colonial Dorchester site was built in the 1750s. The other remaining structures here include a cemetery, church and other houses of relatively less importance. Visitors are encouraged to help with the archaeological digs.
Croft State Park
The Croft State Park is one of the largest parks in South Carolina. With more than 7000 acres of land at disposal, this natural area offers a plethora of activities and facilities for boating, fishing, horse trails, hiking trails and a skeet shooting range. The other facilities on offer in the park are picnic tables, playground, access to Palmetto Trail and boat rental.
Devil’s Fork State Park
The Devils Fork State Park is very popular with families, fishermen and scuba divers. The sparsely crowded setting and the beautiful scenery attracts the true nature enthusiasts. The best part is that the lake is as beautiful as advertised. However, the park is a bit confusing as it is not properly laid out.
Dreher Island State Park
Located on Lake Murray, the Dreher Island State Park is actually made up of as many as three islands and they are all connected to the mainland by a causeway and a couple of bridges. There are 12 miles of shoreline that offer immense opportunities for camping, fishing and hiking. The park of the lake that is away from Colombia is very beautiful and serene in nature.
Edisto Beach State Park
The Edisto Beach State Park is a very popular park that can be visited anytime of the year. The beach can be directly accessed from the park and one can enjoy the spectacular views of the tidal marshes. There are a few vacation cabins and a couple of camping areas here. The main facilities of the park include boat ramp, fishing, swimming area and picnic tables.
Givhans Ferry State Park
Located along the Edisto River, the Givhans Ferry State Park has a designated kayak and canoe trail. The river is full of wildlife that includes turtles, water fowl, water snakes and egrets. There is a yearly event every March in this park wherein workshops are held along with canoe trips and crafts.
Goodale State Park
The Goodale State Park is spread across 763 acres and is a very popular getaway for the area residents. The park lake was a former mill pond and today it features Cypress trees, variety of plant life and innumerable species of birds. The regional state park also offers facilities like picnicking, seasonal boating and fishing.
H. Cooper Black Jr. Memorial Field Trial and Recreation Area
The H. Cooper Black Jr. Memorial Field Trial and Recreation Area is the place where national level retriever competitions are held. The park is spread across 7000 acres of pine fields and the main facilities of the park include stables, waterfowl ponds, campgrounds and kitchen cum meeting hall. There are also equestrian trails and sand roads apart from a championship golf course.
Hamilton Branch State Park
The Hamilton Branch State Park has world-class facilities for boating, fishing and jet-skiing. Hamilton Branch offers a unique experience that you will never get in any of the other state parks – you feel secluded in your own individual camp area. There is wildlife in the park such as grey squirrels, white-tailed deer and turkey.
Hampton Plantation State Historic Site
Located in the lowland of South Carolina, the Hampton Plantation State Historic Site was the place where a famed rice plantation used to exist. There is plenty of wildlife around the Hampton Plantation area such as red-cockaded woodpeckers and wild boar. The mansion that sits here was built in the Gregorian style architecture.
Hickory Knob State Resort Park
If you love golf then you must come down to Hickory Knob State Resort Park which has 18 holes of lakeside championship golf, tennis, skeet shooting and a swimming pool for the guests of the lodge. This is the only full service resort the rests on the wooded shoreline along the Strom Thurmond Reservoir. The main amenities of the park include boat ramp, mountain biking trails and campgrounds.
Hunting Island State Park
The Hunting Island State Park comprises of the famous Hunting Island and is a popular family friendly destination that earned quite a reputation in recent years. This is the most visited park in South Carolina but this 5000 acre underdeveloped island does feel a bit lonely sometimes. Even on the busy summer days it is not uncommon to find a solitary stretch of sand.
Huntington Beach State Park
Hunting Beach State park is one of the finest places for bird-watching. It is visited by more than 500,000 visitors per year and people come here to see the Atalaya which is a castle at Huntington Beach State Park. It is a Spanish style home and people who come here can view the indoor/outdoor studios and the living quarters. There is a birding program in the park wherein youngsters can learn all about bird-watching.
Jones Gap State Park
The Jones Gap State Park is one of the most parks in South Carolina. It is a mountainous park that spreads over 10,000 acres. It is home to some of the most exotic species of animals like the native brook trout, the rare wood frog, multiple reptiles and migratory birds. One will also come across the Middle Saluda River which is the 1st designated scenic river in the state.
Keowee-Toxaway State Park
The Keowee-Toxaway State Park in Pickens County was created along the shores of Lake Keowee. The park has several picnic shelters, fishing facilities and boating access to the adjacent lake. The 5 km long Raven Rock Hiking Trail is popular with the hikers and the park also paved campsites and cabin lodging.
Kings Mountain State Park
The Kings Mountain State Park encourages a lot of activities within its premises. The park is known for its multiple hiking trails in the hilly terrain and there is also a Living History Farm that has a huge collection of timber structures such as a carpenter ship, a barn and a cotton gin. One can go for fishing and/or boating on the ponds of the park.
Lake Greenwood State Park
When you enter the Lake Greenwood State Park, it is not difficult to understand what the main attraction inside the park is. The mammoth 11,400 acre reservoir is the single most reason why the park receives so many visitors throughout the year. This 914 acre park also has a couple of boat ramps that provides the boaters and the anglers easy access to the waters.
Lake Hartwell State Park
The Lake Hartwell State Park is a unique park as it is mainly focussed on fishing. The 56,000 acre Lake Hartwell has garnered widespread reputation of being a perfect place for anglers as the waters have large quantities of catfish, hybrid bass and largemouth. There is also a park store, one-roomed camping cabins and campground facilities. The information centre in the park has good quality vintage fishing equipment.
Lake Warren State Park
The prominent features of the Lake Warren State Park include a 200 acre lake, picnic facilities and a community building. This huge park supports as many as four species of pines and large tracts of wetlands that support diverse types of plants and animals. The other facilities in the park include hiking trail, swimming beach and boat launch ramps.
Lake Wateree State Park
Lake Wateree State Park is one of the premier boating and fishing destinations in the State of South Carolina. The park enjoys a serene setting alongside the lake and the Rock Hill areas are just a drive away from the park. The 238 acre park has a public boat ramp, park store and the lake that has become a popular fishing spot for striped bass, crappie and bream.
Landsford Canal State Park
The Landsford Canal State Park is a 19th century South Carolina river canal that has been preserved well over the years. This canal was used by boats in earlier days to bypass rapids during the transportation of goods. This park has historically important ruins of canal –culverts, a historic mill site and stone bridges. The visitors to this park are treated to abundance of natural beauty.
Lee State Park
Like many other state parks in South Carolina, the Lee State Park was built in the 1930s as a part of a project. The park spreads across 3000 acres and sits idly along the Lynches River. There is only one cabin inside the park located near the primitive campsites but they are not suitable for overnight stays. There is also an equestrian centre with stables and equestrian trails.
Little Pee Dee State Park
The Little Pee Dee River, after which the state park is named, offers a tranquil setting so that the guests can relax and enjoy to the fullest. The river is easily accessible from the park for fishing. The diverse ecosystems in the park offer an excellent habit for a wide variety of flora and fauna. The park also houses a campground, a picnic area and a nature trail.
Musgrove Mill State Historic Site
The Musgrove Mill State Historic Site was the site of the famous Battle of Musgrove’s Mill. The site plays a very important role in the history of revolutionary War. During summer there are guided tours every weekend and the visitor’s centre provides a wonderful opportunity to learn all about the American Revolutionary War.
Myrtle Beach State Park
If you are looking for great things to do on Myrtle Beach then you must come down to Myrtle Beach State Park. This 312 acre park comprises of beaches, undisturbed maritime forests and modern conveniences like nature centre, a fishing pier and a camping ground. There are oceanfront picnic shelters and hiking trails that will keep the adventurous folks busy.
Oconee State Park
The famous Oconee State Park is located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The park is spread over 1165 acres and is home to two mountain lakes and different types of recreational activities that people can enjoy like hiking trails, campgrounds and cabins. The park also acts as the western terminus for the Foothills Trail.
Oconee Station State Historic Site
The oldest building in the Oconee County is located within the Oconee Station State Historic Site. The stone structure acted as an Indian trading post when William Richards moved to the area in 1795. There is a huge diversity in the type of plants available here such as walking fern.
Paris Mountain State Park
The Paris Mountain State Park is a 15 minute drive from downtown Greenville and families love coming here as they can enjoy an array of activities here such as hiking trails, camping, fishing, biking and canoeing. There are 39 paved camping sites within the park and the park can accommodate RVs up to 40 ft. Fishing is popular here and people come here mainly to catch catfish, bass and beam.
Poinsett State Park
The Poinsett State Park is located in the Sumter county of South Carolina. The park is known for its botanical oddities and the whole area has been described as the most beautiful part of the county. There are no admission fees but there is a small charge for renting a cabin and camping here for the night.
Redcliffe Plantation State Historic Site
The Redcliffe Plantation State Historic Site houses a plantation home that was completed in 1859. There is a lane of magnolia trees that are around 145 years old and easily the landmark site of this region. The visitors can explore the slave quarters, take a look at the heirloom garden or simply arrange a picnic on the lush green lawn.
Rivers Bridge State Historic Site
The Rivers Bridge State Historic Site is the only historic site in the State of South Carolina that has successfully preserved a Civil War battlefield. The Memorial Grounds are situated within the premises of the site.
Rose Hill Plantation State Historic Site
The Rose Hills Plantation State Historic Site offers a deep insight into the cotton plantation of William Henry Gist. The house of Gist, the surrounding gardens and the outbuildings document all the changes experienced by the Gist family. There is a picnic shelter and a hiking trail which takes you to the Tyger River. There is no admission fee and there are no mansion tours on Christmas Day.
Sadlers Creek State Park
The Sadlers Creek State Park is spread across 395 acres wherein the most popular recreational activities include wildlife observation and outdoor water recreation. The main features of the state park include a campground by the lakeside along with facilities for fishing, hiking and boat access for the lake. The pleasurable surroundings make it a great stop over for travellers.
Santee State Park
Located near Interstate 95 and 26, the Santee State Park is regarded as headquarters for outdoor enthusiasts. In 1949 the 2500 acre park opened its doors to the general public and one can see the flooded forest of Lake Marion just across the park. This is a natural attraction that makes the park a big hit among the visitors and bird watchers.
Sesquicentennial State Park
Since Sesquicentennial State Park is very close to Colombia, it attracts a lot of people among tourists and residents. This park is often the preferred site for family reunions and group campouts. The Retreat Centre is popular among those who are looking for overnight facilities. The park also has a 2 storey log house that is said to be the oldest building in Richland County.
Table Rock State Park
The Table Rock State Park was one of the 16 parks that were built in South Carolina by Civilian Conservation Corps. The structures inside the park include the dams, the Pinnacle Lake and the Table Rock Restaurant. The park looks beautiful in the morning although it is not that popular among the residents or the tourists.
Woods Bay State Park
The Woods Bay State Park offers a very close look at the unique geology of the bays of Carolina. It is a great opportunity to explore the diverse ecology of the region. The main habitats at the State Park include oak-hickory forest, marsh, sand hills and a shrub bog. Wildlife in this region includes more than 70 species of amphibians, mammals and reptiles and more than 150 species of seasonal birds. Visitors to the park can enjoy a host of facilities such as nature trail, canoe trail, hiking on the boardwalk and fishing.