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Best South Carolina State Parks

Best South Carolina State Parks

Posted by Wet Sounds on 12th May 2022

South Carolina boasts a wide array of gorgeous state parks. From backcountry camping to glamping surrounded by full resort amenities, there's something for everyone in our amazing state. Campers can look forward to views of mountains, lakes, and beyond thanks to South Carolina's diverse natural landscapes. Here are a few of the best South Carolina state parks for camping and more.

Baker Creek State Park

Baker Creek State Park is a South Carolina state park perfect for fun on Lake Strom Thurmond. The park operates seasonally, from the beginning of March through the end of September, and offers fun for both day trips and overnight camping trips. The park boasts some great mountain bike trails, with 10 miles of loop trails stretching through the park through oak and pine woodlands.

Lake Thurmond, a 71,100-acre lake, means this park features easy lake access for fishers and boaters. Outdoor get-togethers with bigger groups get a fun upgrade thanks to the pavilion that overlooks the lake. There are plenty of lakeside camping sites as well.

The 50-site shoreline campground is situated for convenient access to restrooms with hot showers. Tent camping and RV camping are both available here, and the standard sites have electricity and water. There's also an available dump station. Pets are permitted in most areas outdoors as long as owners keep them on a leash less than 6 feet long or under physical restraint.

Caesars Head State Park

Image via Flickr by Thomson202019

Those looking for the best South Carolina state parks for backcountry camping should look no further than Caesars Head State Park. This park treats visitors to more than 7,000 acres of breathtaking nature, including multiple waterfalls, hiking trails, fishing spots, and camping sites.

There are no drive-up campsites available at this park, and no water or electricity at the campsites. Camping is only permitted at designated campsites and permits are required.

The Mountain Bridge Wilderness Area features 18 primitive sites for trailside backcountry camping. Of the 18 sites, 14 have fire pits, while the others do not allow fires. Campers here must follow leave no trace practices.

Calhoun Falls State Park

Calhoun Falls State Parks sits near the top of my list of the best South Carolina State Parks for fishing. The park spans a few pine-covered areas around Lake Russell, which is one of the least-developed large reservoirs in the state. The park offers access to this big Savannah River lake as well as opportunities for picnicking, hiking, camping, and seasonal swimming.

Lake Russell and the forest that surrounds it delivers when it comes to picturesque views. The lake also boasts tons of fish like bass, catfish, crappie, and bream. There are three campgrounds along the shores here, including two campgrounds that provide individual electrical hookups and water. I like bringing my own gear and outdoor audio equipment to complete the picture.

Some campsites can accommodate RVs up to 30 feet and others can accommodate RVs up to 40 feet. Tent campers can use the sites as well, but the park also offers a designated walk-in area for tent camping. This area has tent pads and centralized water, and all but one site sits waterfront. The campground offers access to restrooms with hot showers, too.

Hickory Knob State Resort Park

Campers searching for some extra amenities can't go wrong with a visit to Hickory Knob State Resort Park. The word "resort" in the name hints at how this state park sets itself apart from other outdoor experiences. In addition to campsites, the park offers accommodations in cabins, group barracks, lodge rooms, and a historic house. That's just the start, though.

A boat ramp is free for overnight guests, and a boat dock is available for overnight guests as well. The mountain biking trails are some of the most popular in the whole state. Then there's the 18 holes of championship golf, tennis, a restaurant, and more. Hickory Knob is actually a full-service resort, the only one in South Carolina's State Park Service.

Of course, I enjoy Hickory Knob for its classic camping experiences, too. The park is located in a serene and out-of-the-way location, making for an ideal escape into nature. Both RV and tent camping sites are available, with campsites dotting the shores of Thurmond Lake. The sites are made from packed gravel and have picnic tables and individual water and electrical hookups. The campground also offers convenient access to restroom facilities that have hot showers.

Table Rock State Park

Table Rock State Park offers campsites at the edge of the Blue Ridge Mountains, delivering a picturesque setting for camping adventures. More than 3,000 acres of natural beauty include waterfalls and views of Pinnacle Mountain. Visitors can explore a nature center for an education program and fill days with hiking and other outdoor fun.

This state park has a few different camping opportunities. A 69-site camping area is situated near the park entrance, while the White Oaks picnic area has another 25-site camping area located nearby. Both of those sites include individual water and electrical hookups and are convenient to restrooms that have hot showers. Some sites can accommodate RVs up to 40 feet. There's also a primitive walk-in camping area with central water close to Lake Oolenoy.

The Pine Point camping center, near the visitor center, is designated for tent camping and includes six primitive tent sites. The hike to the site is 880 yards, and there is no access to power or flush toilets.

The park also features three primitive areas with central water and privy for organized groups, including the Fox Hill Group Site with six tent pads, the Bobcat Creek Group site with seven tent pads, and the Owl Tree Group Site with 11 tent pads. The hike to this area is a half mile, and there is no access to flush toilets or power here either.

South Carolina's state parks span more than 90,000 acres in total, so there's truly something for everyone in this state. I look to the state parks for camping, fishing, and other outdoor adventures. The best South Carolina state parks really have it all.