With four distinct geographical environments, South Carolina offers a wide variety of terrain, natural history, and climate in one relatively small state. With the option to drive from the mountains to the Atlantic coast in a few hours, camping in South Carolina is a great choice for those who want variety without a ton of travel time.
The state’s far northwest corner is home to mountains that rise above the foothills, appearing blue against the horizon. The Blue Ridge, arguably the most famous stretch of the Appalachians, provide a welcome respite from the hot South Carolina summers. In autumn, The Blue Ridge Mountains draw visitors from around the country to take in the breathtaking fall displays of color across the mountainsides. And no matter what season, camping in South Carolina would not be complete without a trip to iconic Table Rock or Sassafras Mountain – the highest point in the SC Blue Ridge Mountains.
A few hours south of the Blue Ridge, campers can set sail on Lake Murray, enjoy world-renowned fishing, or enjoy beach-front camping at Dreher Island State Park. The lake, a reservoir for the entire midlands area of the state, covers roughly 50000 acres and has 500 miles of shoreline. Lake Murray, which is a prime spot for fishing, has hosted 3 national fishing tournaments in the last 15 years and is home to several species of bass, crappie, bream, and other sport fishing favorites.
The stunning South Carolina coast is less than 3 hours from state capitol, Columbia, and boasts more than 200 miles of Atlantic coastline beauty. With more campgrounds up and down the coast than you can shake a stick at, trust The Dyrt to help you find the best camping in South Carolina!
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Booked the spot for 4 nights in the tent, and extended for two more after rest stops in Savannah and Charleston during this fourth week in September. This park really has it all: trails, beaches, camp store, RV and tent sites, laundry, clean bathrooms, and WiFi. There's something magical about the trees that shelter the picnic areas beside the beach. You will see hares, turtles, birds, and lizards in the nature preserves, but you won't see raccoons, possums, or armadillos near the camp sites. There are just too many people and dogs for them to bear. Camped in spot #123a, pretty large and next to the bathrooms and trash/recycling bins, and a short walk to the camp store. The fire pits are shallow and don't have that ability to raise the rack to separate your food front the fire, so be watchful when cooking to prevent burning. There's a special path for bikes and carts that takes you out of the park and places you right in front of the supermarket Food Lion on Hwy 17. Cool. This is now a favorite park. It would have five stars if I couldn't hear my neighbors' low-volume conversations next door.
Just left Aiken State Park in SC. We will not be returning because it didn’t meet our requirements, but it is not a bad park if it’s what you’re looking for, so here’s the pros and cons:
Pros - super affordable, nice location, very peaceful/quiet, nature trails, kayak rentals available, clean, nice staff
Cons - sand/uneven pads, very tight to drive through and get parked, the dump station is inconvenient to get out of when leaving the campground, absolutely no cell service at campsite (we have Verizon, att, and tmobile)
One other big negative for us, which I hope no one else has to encounter is there was a seemingly, stray dog running around. Super sweet and timid around people, but we have our dog with us (boxer) and the stray attacked our dog. Just warning if you’re there or going soon.
We stayed here for 2 nights just this past weekend. It was easy to get to and very well maintained. Our site(site 60) was right on the lake and absolutely beautiful. The layout of the loop we were on was very well thought out and plenty of space between sites so you don't feel like you were right on top of your neighbors. The way the sites were oriented, you had a fantastic view of the lake.
One thing to really consider is proximity to Clemson. When we booked the site, it was one of only a handful available however while walking our dogs, we noticed over half of the sites were unoccupied. With the cancellation of college football, this is not surprising. Fall will be a busy time so if quiet is what you are after, I would be mindful of the Clemson home schedule.
The bath houses were very clean, however there is no soap for washing your hands so keep that in mind if you use the facilities. The dump station was also nice and easy to use. Three large dumpsters for taking trash when you empty your tanks.
Not all sites have a separate grill and fire pit which was the only downside. Ours did not, but the fire pit did have a grate you could put over a fire and cook.
Dreher Island was a great camping location! We stayed at tent sites 1&2 which was kind of like having our own private compound. If coming back again I would book tent sites 1-3 to claim the whole area! Other parts of the campgrounds seemed to be on top of each other and more sloped to access water. Access to the lake was a breeze from the site; easy to walk in the water and to get the kayaks in and out. Fishing was convenient from the shore. Bike riding was also great here although time did not allow for much of that this trip.
If interested in renting kayaks or paddle boards, I highly recommend Paddle South Outfitters. Travis was awesome and delivered kayaks right to the site and picked up too! Super nice guy!
Bathrooms were very clean and not a far walk from the campsite. Would stay beyond 2 nights next trip to explore more.
Our first visit was in August 2020 and we’ve already booked our trip for 2021. We were in a site on the back row and even though this was farthest from the beach, it was only a quick walk to the ocean. Bathhouses were extraordinarily clean. The campground store was stocked with anything we might have needed. We rode our bikes up and down the beach and visited the lighthouse. The whole trip was fantastic, the only downside were the mosquitoes—come prepared!
There are a couple nice swimming beaches. Some playgrounds for the kids. All the sites were good spots. Level, lots of room. Picnic tables, fire pits, lateen hangars at each site. Lots of room for walking. Beautiful and peaceful trees on the lake.
It’s also a horse camp with a large ring. The first camping loop is the best. Head back to the end of the camping loop away from the office and find a trail that leads down to a nice swimming creek. Great place for exploring all over the park. Sites were well spaced with picnic table and fire ring.
Pulled in on a rainy day into the wrong site. On checking in the next day, found we had to move. None of the available sites were suitable even for my small 17ft camper. After a walk around the bumpy narrow road in the campground loop, we just decided to leave.