Justin Lappin is a South Carolina native who enjoys spending time camping with his family year-round. In the following article, Justin Lappin details the best places to set up a tent (or RV) in South Carolina.
The only thing better than experiencing the great outdoors is experiencing them in South Carolina.
How’s that for camping inspiration? South Carolina is home to more than 3,000 campgrounds, including beaches and secluded Appalachian forests.
Justin Lappin says South Carolina has the slogan “Come Out & Play” for a reason. Check out these ready-made spots for campers to pitch tents and unroll sleeping bags.
Frances Marion and Sumter National Forests
There are 10 campgrounds in these popular forests midway between Greenville and Columbia that also offer fishing, horseback riding, biking, and boating.
Justin Lappin says campers can spend the day on a paddle trip through the lowland wilderness where some of the 2,600 reptiles that live in the forest ecosystems can be spotted before setting up shop for the night.
The forests also offer a handful of campsites scattered within the forest along with designated camping spaces.
Andrew Jackson State Park
Speaking of canoeing, Andrew Jackson State Park in Lancaster, south of Charlotte, NC, and just across the border from South Carolina, is home to a beautiful 18-acre lake that’s also a perfect spot for bird watching or for stroll its Garden of the Waxhaws 1 mile loop trail.
Justin Lappin says there are educational opportunities here too, as it also has a museum dedicated to its namesake, the seventh president of the United States.
Calhoun Falls State Park
Campers will want to find just the right spot overlooking Russell Lake for an unforgettable sunset at Calhoun Falls State Park in northwest South Carolina on the Georgia border.
Three campgrounds around the 26,650-acre Russell Lake are favorites of locals and visitors alike, as is a hike on the Cedar Bluff Nature Trail, a 1.75-mile loop. Justin Lappin reports that there are 86 standard pitches with water and electricity, as well as 14 walk-in camping areas.
Edisto Beach State Park
Four South Carolina state parks front the ocean, and Edisto Beach is arguably the most popular (and most beautiful). There are over 100 RV and tent campsites in the park, as well as some charming rustic cabins.
But it’s the wildlife of the marshes that is the real attraction. Justin Lappin explains that it’s a nesting area for iconic sea turtles, and it’s easy to spot herons, raccoons, deer, and more. Campers can experience it all on the park’s seven biking and hiking trails filled with Spanish moss, American Indian shell piles, and maritime forests.
Pirateland Camping Resort
Camping in Myrtle Beach? Yes, that’s one thing.
Away from the waterfront and tourist attractions lies this oasis on the south end of the city by the ocean. There are RV and shaded tent campsites along with vacation rentals with access to about a half-mile of Atlantic Ocean shoreline.
Roughing is an option for campers, but Justin Lappin says so is the summer season water park complete with a lazy river. And fall through spring there are big savings on extended stays.
Congaree National Park
Two words: firefly watching. Every spring thousands of people visit the park near Gadsden to observe the different species of fireflies and their unique patterns. The park’s species are among the few in the world to synchronize their flashes.
Justin Lappin says that’s not Congaree’s only draw for campers, they have two large campgrounds and backcountry campgrounds to choose from. Canoeing and kayaking on Cedar Creek are popular, and hikers can get an up-close look at one of the tallest and oldest forests east of the Mississippi River.
James Island National Park
Those visiting Charleston can find their camping accommodations at this 643-acre retreat campground. Everything from fishing in the park’s freshwater lakes to exploring open meadows to biking and paddle boating is available. There is also a dog park.
The peaceful campground includes 10 cottages and 124 campsites along the Stono River.
Croft State Park
This 7,000-acre park in Spartanburg used to be a U.S. Army training base for 250,000 soldiers, but now houses 50 campsites with convenient electrical hookups and access to hot showers.
Justin Lappin says a number of trails dot the park, which includes Fairforest Creek and Lake Craig, and wildlife ranging from white-tailed deer to foxes. Canoe and kayak rentals are available, as are fishing boats for those looking to catch catfish or smallmouth bass.
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