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26 Best State and National Parks in South Carolina

26 Best State and National Parks in South Carolina

When it comes to state parks, South Carolina has no shortage of amazing options. From the beaches and coastal forests of the Grand Strand to the mountains and waterfalls of Upstate South Carolina, there’s something for everyone in this state park system.

South Carolina is a state located in the southeastern region of the United States. North Carolina borders the state to the north, Georgia to the west, and the Atlantic Ocean to the east. 

The state has a diverse landscape that includes mountains, forests, beaches, and wetlands.

The state parks offer something for everyone. Hiking, biking, and fishing are just some of the activities enjoyed at these parks. Several parks offer canoeing, kayaking, and rafting opportunities.

In addition, many of the state parks offer camping facilities for those who want to spend a night or two under the stars.

Whether you are looking for a place to hike, camp, fish, or enjoy the outdoors, South Carolina has a state park that suits your needs. Below is a list of some of the best state parks in South Carolina:

Best Nationaal and State Parks in South Carolina

South Carolina’s state parks come in all shapes and sizes. Read on to see which ones appeal to you!

1. Myrtle Beach State Park

Myrtle Beach State Park Pathway
image by danielle.golon is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Myrtle Beach State Park is a nature lover’s paradise, home to various plant and animal life. Myrtle Beach State Park also offers visitors the opportunity to fish, swim, hike, and camp.

Myrtle Beach State Park is one of the most popular state parks in South Carolina and receives over two million visitors each year. It is home to various plant and animal life, including over 60 species of birds, 25 species of mammals, 15 species of reptiles, and ten species of amphibians.

Myrtle Beach State Park also offers a variety of recreational activities for visitors, including fishing, swimming, hiking, picnicking, and camping. It is an excellent place to enjoy the outdoors and experience all that nature offers.

There are many hotels in Myrtle Beach State Park, including the Coral Beach Resort Hotel & Suites, the Marriott Resort, and the North Shore Oceanfront Resort Hotel.

2. Caesars Head State Park

Ocean View at Caesars Head State Park
image by dougandme is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Caesars Head State Park is one of the most popular travel destinations in the Blue Ridge Mountains and one of the best South Carolina state parks. The park offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. The state park is home to diverse wildlife, including black bears and deers.

Caesars Head State Park is also a great place to hike, camp, and fish. There are several hiking trails of varying difficulty levels, and the park also has a campground with RV hookups. Caesars Head State Park is a lovely place and is worth visiting if you’re ever in the area.

If you’re looking for a place to stay while you’re visiting Caesars Head State Park, there are plenty of nearby rentals available such as A Cabin In The Woods and this Large Mountain Home.

See Related: Best Vacations for a Group of Friends

3. Congaree National Park

Lake and Trees in Congaree National Park
image by naturenps is licensed under CC BY 2.0.
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True, it’s a National Park, but it’s don’t to be missed!

Congaree National Park is a nature lover’s paradise with its sprawling forests, meandering rivers, and abundant wildlife.

It’s the largest protected area of old-growth bottomland hardwood forest in the United States. This park is also home to various plant and animal life, making it a great place to hike, camp, and go bird watching.

Congaree National Park offers visitors the chance to see rare and endangered species of plants and animals, including the red-cockaded woodpecker, Carolina parakeet, and American eel. The park is also home to an impressive array of rare trees, including bald cypress, water tupelo, loblolly pine, and sweetgum.

There are plenty of great places to stay near Congaree National Park, whether you’re looking for a campsite, hotel, or something in between. One option is the state park itself, which offers both camping and cabins for visitors such as Gypsy Camper and Cottage Tree house.

4. Hunting Island State Park

Lighthouse in Hunting Island State Park

Hunting Island State Park is one of the most popular state parks in South Carolina, and it’s easy to see why. The park is home to five miles of pristine beaches and a variety of saltwater and freshwater marshes. It’s also a great place to fish, crab, and kayak.

In addition to its natural beauty, Hunting Island State Park is also a great place to learn about the history and culture of the Lowcountry.

The park has a variety of exhibits and programs that focus on the region’s history, art, and ecology. Whether you’re looking for a place to relax or an adventure, Hunting Island State Park will disappoint.

If you’re looking for a place to stay near Hunting Island State Park, there are plenty of great options nearby. The Hampton Inn Beaufort is a great choice if you’re looking for a comfortable and affordable place to stay. It’s just a few minutes away from the state park and offers all the amenities you could need.

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5. Devils Fork State Park

Devils Fork State Park is a beautiful spot to enjoy nature at its finest. The park is home to Lake Jocassee, a popular spot for fishing, swimming, and kayaking. Numerous hiking trails wind through the mountains, providing stunning views of the lake and surrounding forests.

Camping is also available, and several cabins can be rented for a more comfortable stay. Devils Fork State Park is the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life and enjoy some time in the great outdoors.

There are many hotels near Devils Fork State Park, making it a convenient place to stay when visiting the park. Some of the nearby hotels include the Hampton Inn & Suites Pigeon Forge, Quality Inn & Suites Pigeon Forge, and the Holiday Inn Express & Suites Pigeon Forge.

6. Jones Gap State Park

Flowing Water in Jones Gap State Park
Image by Cody Ryan Reigle is licensed under CC BY 2.0.
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Jones Gap State Park is one of the most popular state parks and a park in the Mountain Bridge Wilderness Area. The park is located in the scenic mountains of Greenville County and offers visitors the opportunity to hike, camp, fish, and mountain bike.

Jones Gap State Park is also home to various wildlife, including deer, coyotes, and bobcats. The park is open year-round and offers a variety of activities for all seasons.

In the winter, visitors can enjoy cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Spring and summer are the perfect times for hiking, camping, and fishing. And in the fall, the leaves change color, making it a beautiful time to visit the Jones Gap.

There are several hotels near Jones Gap State Park, including the Hampton Inn & Suites Greenville/Mauldin and the Courtyard by Marriott Greenville. Both of these hotels offer comfortable accommodations and convenient access to the state park.

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7. Table Rock State Park

Lake at Table Rock State Park

Table Rock State Park is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the state. The park is located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains and offers stunning sceneries of the surrounding valleys and mountain ranges.

The state park is also home to various wildlife, including deer, turkeys, and bobcats. In addition to its natural beauty, it also offers a variety of amenities for visitors, including hiking trails, camping sites, picnicking areas, and a visitor center.

Whether you’re looking for a scenic hike or a place to relax and enjoy the beautiful scenery, Table Rock State Park is sure to please.

There are many hotels near Table Rock State Park, but the best ones are the Hampton Inn & Suites and the Table Rock Resort. These hotels are all within a few miles of the state park and offer great amenities for guests.

See Related: Best National Parks in the USA

8. Hampton Plantation State Historic Site

White Cabin at Hampton Plantation State Historic Site

Hampton Plantation State Historic Site is a must-see for anyone interested in American history. Again, it’s not quite a state park, but it’s well worth your time.

Located on the banks of the Ashley River, Hampton Plantation is home to various historic buildings, including the main house, kitchen, and outbuildings.

Visitors to Hampton Plantation can tour the plantation grounds and gardens and learn about the plantation’s role in the American Revolution and the Civil War. Hampton Plantation is also a beautiful place to take a walk or picnic and is just a short drive from Charleston.

So whether you’re interested in American history or just looking for a beautiful place to spend an afternoon, Hampton Plantation State Historic Site is worth visiting.

Some of the best state parks in South Carolina are located near Hampton Plantation State Historic Site. These state parks offer a variety of activities for visitors to enjoy, such as hiking, fishing, swimming, and picnicking.

Some of the most convenient hotels near Hampton Plantation State Historic Site include the Hampton Inn & Suites Charleston.

See Related: Best Things to Do in Charleston, South Carolina

9. Sesquicentennial State Park

Kayak in Sesquicentennial State Park

Sesquicentennial State Park is a great place to get away from it all and enjoy the outdoors. Located in Columbia, South Carolina, this state park is home to various amenities, including a swimming pool, playgrounds, picnic areas, and walking trails.

This state park is also a great place to fish, kayak, and canoe. Sesquicentennial State Park is a popular destination for both residents and visitors alike. So whether you’re looking to relax or explore, rent canoe rentals and experience nature. Sesquicentennial State Park is the perfect place for you.

There are many hotels near Sesquicentennial State Park, making it easy to find accommodations that fit your budget and preferences. Some popular hotels in the area include the Hilton Garden Inn Columbia Northeast, the Courtyard by Marriott Columbia Northeast, and the Hampton Inn & Suites Columbia Northeast.

See Related: What to Bring on a Camping with Friends

10. Croft State Park

River in Croft State Park

Croft State Park is one of the largest state parks in the Palmetto State, covering more than 7,000 acres of land. Just a few miles from the city of Spartanburg. Croft State Park offers a variety of outdoor activities for visitors to enjoy, including hiking, biking, fishing, and horseback riding.

There are also several camping sites and cabins available for visitors to use, providing a great way to experience all that the park has to offer. Croft State Park is a great place to enjoy the outdoors, whether you’re looking for a day trip or a more extended vacation.

There are many hotels to choose from near Croft State Park, ranging from budget-friendly motels to luxurious resorts. Whether you’re looking for a place to rest your head after a day of hiking or want to enjoy some of the park’s amenities, there’s a hotel nearby to suit your needs.

11. Dreher Island State Park

Camping Table at Dreher Island State Park

It is a state park in Lexington County, South Carolina, United States. The park is located on Dreher Island, in the Saluda River. The state park has three distinct sections: the developed part of the park, the nature preserve, and the recreation area.

The developed part of the park includes a campground, a day-use area, and a group picnic shelter. The nature preserve is a conservation area that consists of an interpretive center and hiking trails.

The recreation area includes a fishing pier, a boat ramp, and a swimming beach. Dreher Island State Park is open year-round and offers a variety of activities for visitors to enjoy.

There are many hotels near Dreher Island State Park, including the Hampton Inn Columbia/Harbison, the Holiday Inn Express Columbia Northeast – Fort Jackson Area, and the Quality Inn & Suites Columbia. These hotels offer convenient access to the state park.

See Related: Best Black Sand Beaches in the World

12. Edisto Beach State Park

Edisto Beach State Park is a must-see for any traveler to South Carolina. This beautiful park stretches along the coast and offers the most extensive accessible trail system in North Carolina for disabled persons.

These trails can also be accessed via hiking and biking and are a perfect way to see the park and take in the natural splendors.

Visitors can discover the environment through an outdoor Environmental Learning Center or stroll around the 1.5-mile beach in the park, which offers two sea view picnic areas and lots of shells for beachcombers.

A small entrance fee is required when visiting the park, but kids younger than five can enter for free! So whether you’re looking to explore nature or relax on a beautiful beach, Edisto Beach State Park is the perfect destination.

There are several hotels near Edisto Beach State Park, including the Wyndham Ocean Ridge, the Palmetto Inn, and the Sea Mist Resort. All of these hotels are within a short drive of the state park and offer convenient access to its many amenities.

13. Keowee Toxaway State Park

Trail at Keowee Toxaway State Park

Keowee Toxaway State Park is a beautiful mountain getaway located in the wooded regions of South Carolina. The park’s highlight is Keowee Lake, a stunning body of water that is perfect for canoeing and fishing.

Tourists can also enjoy spectacular views from the half-mile trail that runs along the shore of the lake. In addition to its two shorter tracks, Keowee Toxaway State Park also features an impressive natural bridge.

For those looking to spend a night at the park, campgrounds and cabins are available for rental. Whether you’re looking to enjoy a day trip or a more extended vacation, Keowee Toxaway State Park is well worth visiting.

There are many hotels near Keowee Toxaway State Park, including the Holiday Inn Express & Suites Anderson – Clemson and the Hampton Inn & Suites Anderson-Midtown. Each of these hotels offers convenient access to the state park as well as top amenities.

See Related: Best Charleston Walking Tours

14. Oconee State Park

Trail at Oconee State Park
image by The_Gut is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

It is a state park in South Carolina, located on Lake Keowee. The park offers many recreational opportunities such as hiking, fishing, and boating.

Several nature trails wind through the park, providing visitors with a glimpse of the area’s natural beauty. Oconee State Park is a great place to enjoy the outdoors and is a popular destination for locals and tourists alike.

There are a few hotels near Oconee State Park, but the best one is definitely the Oconee State Park Lodge. It’s a beautiful, historic property that has everything you need for a relaxing stay. There’s a restaurant on-site, as well as a gift shop and swimming pool!

15. Chester State Park

Chester State Park is a beautiful spot located in the Piedmont region of Pennsylvania. The 1.3-kilometer-long road that runs through the park is perfect for an afternoon stroll, and the footbridge that crosses the lake is ideal for fishing and nature viewing.

Boat rentals are also available at the Chester State Park hotel’s boat store so that visitors can enjoy a peaceful day out on the water. If visitors don’t have time for swimming, they can still picnic, ride bikes in a nearby park or play disc golf at one of the Chester golf courses.

The Quality Inn in Richburg is about 15 minutes away from Chester State Park. This hotel offers free breakfast, free Wi-ate Park is one of the newest state parks. It’s located in Barnwell and offers visitors a chance to enjoy the great outdoors.

See Related: How to Pack for a Camping Trip

16. Barnwell State Park

Barnwell State Park is a great place to enjoy the outdoors and get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

The Civilian Conservation Corps built the park in response to the Great Depression, and many of the buildings constructed during that period are still in use today. Fishing is the main activity at the park, and there are three small rivers where you can fish.

You can also rent a nonmotorized boat to explore the rivers. There are more than 20 camping sites at Barnwell State Park, so you can stay overnight if you want to explore the park more thoroughly.

There are also several nature trails running through the park so that you can enjoy a peaceful hike through some beautiful scenery. Barnwell State Park is a great place to relax and enjoy nature.

The Courtyard by Marriott Greenville Downtown and The Hampton Inn & Suites Columbia I-20/Clemson Area are the best nearby accommodations.

17. Hamilton Branch State Park

Hamilton Branch State Park is the perfect spot for a watersports getaway. The 713-acre peninsula occupies lakes Thurmond and Hamilton, providing ample opportunity for fishing, boating, and swimming.

There are four main campgrounds at the park and 150 regular campsites, most of which are situated on the lakefront.

In addition, there are two boat ramps and three picnic tables on the lakeshore for guests to use. Whether you’re looking to relax in nature or get active on the water, Hamilton Branch State Park has something.

There are several hotels near Hamilton Branch State Park, making it a convenient place to stay while visiting the park. The closest hotel is the Econo Lodge Inn & Suites, which is located just minutes from the park. Other nearby hotels include the Hampton Inn & Suites Columbia-NorthEast.

See Related: Best National Parks to Visit in November

18. Huntington Beach State Park

Trees at Huntington Beach State Park
image by ericrichardson is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Huntington Beach State Park is a stunning green space of 240 square miles and includes a beachfront resort.

The park provides a beautiful place for bird watching with over 300 species of birds. It features a Natural Center enabling the easy viewing of native creatures and learning about the local nature scene.

The park houses Atalaya Castle (or just Atalaya), the famous historical home built in 1931 for Archer M. Huntington and his wife Anna Hyatt-Huntington. The exhibits can be visited via guided tours and exhibits devoted to Huntington’s History and the grand house.

The Huntington’s were great benefactors to the area. Their generosity has made Huntington Beach State Park what it is today – a beautiful place to visit, learn about local history and nature, and enjoy some time outdoors. Thanks to Huntington’s, we can enjoy this wonderful park!

The Inn at Ocean Isle is a wonderful option, located just minutes away from the state park. This charming inn offers guests a variety of room options, as well as complimentary breakfast and Wi-Fi.

19. Landsford Canal State Park

Landsford Canal State Park River
image by Duane Burdick is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Landsford Canal State Park is one of the best state parks in South Carolina. It’s located on the Catawba River and offers beautiful views of the river and the surrounding countryside.

The Landsford Canal State Park has several hiking trails and a playground, a picnic area, and a fishing pier. It’s a great place to spend a day or two if you’re looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life.

There are many hotels near Landsford Canal State Park, which is convenient for visitors who want to enjoy the state park’s amenities. Some of the nearby hotels include the Hampton Inn & Suites Rock Hill, the Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Charlotte Gastonia, and the Holiday Inn Charlotte-Center City.

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20. Cheraw State Park

Trail at Cheraw State Park
dangerous errand” by chascow is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Cheraw State Park was one of the first state forests created in South Carolina and is best known for golf, but it also contains 800 acres of lakes. The park has two campgrounds accessible via boat, and there are seventeen accessible parking sites along the shores.

Visitors requesting a night’s stay in a Cheraw State camping area may rent one of the nine cabins at the park. Cheraw is beautiful every season, with dogwoods blooming in the spring, cool autumn breezes perfect for hiking, and bright winter sun sparkling on the lake.

The park offers something for everyone who loves nature, from fishing and boating to picnicking and bird-watching. So come on down to Cheraw State Park.

There are many hotels near Cheraw State Park, including the Quality Inn, the Hampton Inn, and the Holiday Inn Express. All of these hotels are within a few miles of the state park and offer a variety of amenities for guests.

21. Sadlers Creek State Park

Sadlers Creek State Park Scenery
image by Lessie

Looking for a place that has over 56,000 acres of water to make waves in?

Two boat launches can be accessed for boat hire if visitors want to boat or fish on the lake, and there are two fishing docks for additional angling opportunities. Besides its 65 campsites, it has an outdoor lakeside pavilion and two barbecue shelters for renting.

Some of the closest hotels include the Hampton Inn & Suites Anderson/Clemson, the Holiday Inn Express & Suites Seneca, and the Quality Inn & Suites Clemson – University Area.

See Related: Do You Need a Car in Charleston?

22. Poinsett State Park

Trail at Poinsett State Park
image by Thomas R Machnitzki (thomas@machnitzki.com) is licensed under CC BY 3.0.

It is an excellent destination for travelers seeking to enjoy the outdoors. The park is named for Joel R. Poinsett, the Charleston native and US Ambassador to Mexico who first introduced poinsettias to the U.S. It features many different terrains, including the stunning Blue Ridge Mountains.

The 10-acre lake is a great spot for fishing, swimming, and paddleboarding, and there are 50 camping sites available for those who wish to spend a night at the park.

There are also equestrian trails in the park. Guests are charged an extra fee for camping, but the experience is well worth it. Poinsett State Park is a beautiful place that is perfect for a getaway.

There are many hotels near Poinsett State Park. Some of the most popular hotels include the Hampton Inn & Suites Greenville/Haywood, the Holiday Inn Express & Suites Greenville-Haywood, and the Residence Inn by Marriott Greenville Haywood.

23. Colonial Dorchester State Historic Site

This State Historic Site isn’t a state park, but it’s a must-see for history buffs.

Colonial Dorchester State Historic Site consists of a beautiful collection of archaeological artifacts on the Ashley River, which tells the tale of the colonized period in America.

Archaeologists are still working to find some of those structures within the park, and visitors can see several other attractions. A visitor’s trail contains signs and exhibits describing the historic site’s history.

One of the most popular options of hotels near the site is the Embassy Suites by Hilton, which offers guests a free breakfast and evening reception. The property also features an on-site fitness center and indoor pool.

See Related: Best Places to Travel in December on a Budget

24. Kings Mountain State Park

Lake at Kings Mountain State Park

Kings Mountain State Park is a beautiful place to visit all year round. The park was established in 1963 and covered 1,200 acres. There are three lakes in the park and a nature center, playgrounds, and a variety of hiking trails. Kings Mountain State Park is known for its trout fishing, and the lakes are popular for kayaking and canoeing.

In addition to its many recreational activities, Kings Mountain State Park also offers a variety of educational programs. For example, the park’s nature center is a great place to learn about the local flora and fauna. So whether you’re looking to fish, paddle, or hike Kings Mountain State Park has something for everyone.

If you’re looking for a place to stay near Kings Mountain State Park, there are plenty of great options. The closest hotel is the Hampton Inn & Suites by Hilton Gaffney, which is just a few minutes away from the park. There are also several other great hotels in the area, including the Best Western Plus Kings Mountain Inn.

25. Andrew Jackson State Park

Andrew Jackson State Park Lake
image by Mark Clifton is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

As you’ve seen, there are many state parks in South Carolina to enjoy, but one of the best is Andrew Jackson State Park. This park is located in the town of Pickens, and it offers visitors a variety of activities to enjoy.

Some of Andrew Jackson State Park’s highlights include hiking and biking trails, a playground, a fishing pond, and a picnic area. The park also has a historic village that is worth exploring. If you are looking for a state park with something for everyone, then Andrew Jackson State Park is the perfect place.

The Hampton Inn is a great option if you’re looking for a comfortable and affordable stay near the park. The hotel offers free WiFi, breakfast, and parking.

See Related: Best Unkown Places to Visit in the U.S.

26. Paris Mountain State Park

Paris Mountain State Park Lake and Skyline

Paris Mountain State Park is located in Greenville County. The park features a lake for fishing and boating and miles of hiking and biking trails. There are also several picnic areas, a playground, and a campground. The park is open from sunrise to sunset daily, and admission is free. Paris Mountain State Park is an excellent destination for a day trip or weekend getaway.

The park’s lakeside location makes it a popular spot for fishing and boating, and the trails are perfect for a leisurely hike or an invigorating bike ride. Picnic areas are scattered throughout the park, providing an ideal place to enjoy a meal with family or friends.

And after a long day of exploring, visitors can relax at the campground or get some energy out at the playground. Paris Mountain State Park is a great place to enjoy the outdoors in southeastern U.S. state.

There are many hotels near Paris Mountain State Park, including the Hampton Inn Greenville/ Travelers Rest, the Comfort Inn & Suites Greenville Airport, and the Holiday Inn Express & Suites Greenville. Each of these hotels offers convenient access to the state park and its many amenities.

27. Givhans Ferry State Park

Campers at Givhans Ferry State Park
image by mogollon_1 is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Givhans Ferry State Park is located in Colleton County, South Carolina. The park offers visitors a variety of outdoor activities, including fishing, boating, kayaking, and camping.

There are also several miles of hiking and biking trails in the park. Givhans Ferry State Park is a great place to visit for a day or a weekend getaway.

There are many hotels near Givhans Ferry State Park, which is a great state park. Some of the best hotels near the state park include the Hampton Inn & Suites Charleston/Mt. Pleasant-Isle of Palms and the Holiday Inn Express & Suites Charleston-Ashley Phosphate.

FAQ

How many state parks are in South Carolina?

There are 47 state parks in South Carolina.

What are the most popular state parks in South Carolina?

The most popular state parks in South Carolina include Table Rock State Park, Caesars Head State Park, Kings Mountain State Park, Jones Gap State Park, and Givhans Ferry State Park.

What activities can I do at state parks in South Carolina?

You can do many activities at state parks in South Carolina, including hiking, camping, fishing, and picnicking. You can also explore the historic villages located at some state parks.

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