Justin Lappin is a South Carolina native who enjoys spending time camping with his family year-round. In the following article, Justin Lappin describes 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 this for camping inspiration? South Carolina is home to over 3,000 campsites, including beachfront spots and isolated forests of the Appalachians.
Justin Lappin says that South Carolina has the slogan “Come Out & Play” for a reason. Just check out these spots ready for campers to set up tents and unroll sleeping bags.
Frances Marion and Sumter National Forests
There are 10 campgrounds at these popular forests about halfway between Greenville and Columbia that also offer fishing, horseback riding, biking, and boating.
Justin Lappin says that campers can spend the day on a paddle journey through the wildness of the low country swamp where one can spot some of the 2,600 reptiles living in the forests’ ecosystems before setting up shop for the night.
The forests also offer a handful of dispersed camping sites within the forest along with designated campground spaces.
Andrew Jackson State Park
Speaking of paddling, Andrew Jackson State Park in Lancaster, south of Charlotte, N.C., and just over the border into South Carolina, is home to a gorgeous 18-acre lake that’s also a perfect spot for birdwatching or walking on its Garden of the Waxhaws Trail 1-mile loop.
Justin Lappin says that 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 Lake Russell for an unforgettable sunset at Calhoun Falls State Park in northwest South Carolina on the border with Georgia.
Three campsites around the 26.650-acre Lake Russell are favorites of locals and visitors alike, as is a walk on the Cedar Bluff Nature Trail, a 1.75-mile loop. Justin Lappin reports that there are 86 standard sites with water and electricity, as well as 14 walk-in camping areas.
Edisto Beach State Park
Four South Carolina state parks are oceanfront and Edisto Beach is arguably the most popular (and most beautiful). There are over 100 RV and tent campsites at the park, as well as a few charming rustic cabins.
But it’s the marshland wildlife that’s the real draw. Justin Lappin explains that it’s a nesting area for the iconic loggerhead sea turtles, and it’s easy to spot egrets, raccoons, deer, and more. Campers can experience it all on the park’s seven biking and hiking trails replete with Spanish moss, American Indian shell middens, and maritime forests.
Pirateland Camping Resort
Camping in Myrtle Beach? Yes, it’s a thing.
Away from the boardwalk and tourist attractions is this oasis in the city’s south end on the ocean. There are RV and shaded tent campsites along with vacation rentals with access to around half a mile of Atlantic Ocean shoreline.
Roughing it is an option for campers, but Justin Lappin says that so is the summer season water park complete with a lazy river. And from fall through spring there are big savings on extended stays.
Congaree National Park
Two words: firefly viewing. Each spring thousands visit the park near Gadsden to check out the different firefly species and their unique patterns. The park’s species are among just a few in the world to synchronize their flashes.
Justin Lappin says that’s not the only attraction at Congaree for campers, who have two large campgrounds and backcountry camping sites to choose from. Canoeing and kayaking on Cedar Creek are popular and hikers can get up close looks at one of the tallest and oldest forests east of the Mississippi River.
James Island Country Park
Those visiting Charleston can get their camping fix at this 643-acre retreat campground. Everything from fishing in the park’s freshwater lakes and exploring open meadows to biking and pedal boating is available. There’s even a dog park.
The quiet 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 is now home to 50 campsites with convenient electrical hookups and access to hot showers.
Justin Lappin says that as an array 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 bag catfish or bass.