Longleaf and Bluff campgrounds are located above the floodplain in the upland region of Congaree National Park. Many of the park trails can be accessed from the campgrounds.
Congaree National Park offers a wide range of opportunities to explore and experience the great outdoors. Many miles of hiking trails can be found in the park ranging from easy to moderately strenuous. Old growth forests, teeming with wildlife can be accessed by park trails or by exploring the many miles of waterways in a canoe or kayak. Interpretive programs including guided hikes, canoe tours and special ranger-led programs are offered throughout the year. Book a reservation now to join a Park Ranger-Guided Canoe Tour during your stay.
The campgrounds accommodate tents only and are primitive with no electrical hookups or access for RVs. Picnic tables and fire rings are provided. Water is not available at either location. Water is available 24 hours a day at filling stations located at the Harry Hampton Visitor Center Longleaf Campground has two vault toilets located at the entrance of the campground. Bluff Campground is a one mile hike from the registration station and does not have have restroom facilities.
The campgrounds are located in a spectacular wooded setting, nestled in the upland pine forests of Congaree National Park.
Congaree National Park is located near many attractions including state parks, forests and parks. The city of Columbia is a short drive from the park and offers access to many attractions including museums, city parks and shopping.
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There are two campgrounds at Congaree. You park at Longleaf parking lot, where there are walk-in sites and vault toilets (clean but terrifying to squat over the abyss). We then walked 1 mile to our campsite at Bluff, where there are 6 sites available. The sites are situated around a large, grassy area, and there isn't much privacy. (From what I saw, Longleaf sites offer more privacy.) But you can't beat $5/night.
The walk to Bluff is not difficult but there are lots of tree roots. We brought a beach cart to help tote our stuff, and we had to navigate those roots. You will be packing light!
The very nice and air-conditioned Harry Hampton Visitors Center has a water fountain for filling bottles. You will need lots of water if you are camping during the summer months. It's also 1 mile to the visitors center.
The trails are well-marked, which is great when you're trying to find your way back to your site in the dark.
There is lots of hiking (easy and difficult) and good fishing in Weston Lake. Canoeing and kayaking are completely dependent on the water levels at the time, which fluctuate greatly.
There is nothing in the way of swimming, which is a bummer in the summer.
We stayed in Longleaf site 1 and site 2 in April. Site 1 is the closest to the parking lot- like 20m away. It’s very public and right beside the trail for all the other Longleaf sites. Site 2 is a further walk down the trail and then a walk into the bush. So it’s more private but there’s a lot more plants everywhere. These sites are more for smaller tents and not massive ones. There are a lot of tree roots which it tough if you have a huge tent. There is one washroom open at the visitor centre and a potable water tap available all night long- but drive there walking is too far. There is a vault toilet at the parking lot for Longleaf.
The Congaree National Park in South Carolina is a great place to go if you really want to enjoy nature, animals, and hiking. There are so many wildlife animals, that it is really fun to sit back and watch. There are tons of chipmunks, birds, and we even saw some deer. This was such a great way to wake up in the morning. We stayed here 4 nights, and every morning we were woken up by the beautiful sounds of chirping birds. There are some really great hikes nearby too. If you enjoy doing that- I would recommend looking into the Kingsnake Trail. Its a gorgeous hike in the middle of the Columbia. The trail isn't very well maintained. There are trees that are down, so you do have to maneuver your way around, over and under them. I didn't mind doing this at all. This is a great hike, however I wouldn't recommend this hike to people who don't have much experience with hiking. I would say it was difficult, and it is a very long day hike. It is around 9 miles roundtrip. I started at around 7:30am, and finished around 3:30pm. If you like hiking, but don't want to do a long/hard one, I would suggest just doing the main loop in the campground. I believe it is called the Bluff Trail. I would recommend bringing lots of bug spray. The mosquitos are no joke along the boardwalk area, toward the back where the trails start. There is also a river nearby called Sandbar- There were plenty of people swimming and having fun in the river. The park was a little messy. Didn't really seem like people picked up after themselves. Overall, this was a great place to visit and I would highly recommend coming here. Again, there are some really great hikes and it is beautiful here.
If you like seclusion this campground is for you. The campground is primitive. There are 10 single sites that you have to walk into from the parking lot. Not a very long walk but just enough to feel secluded from traffic and other people. It has no showers, vault toilets and no running water. There is potable water at the visitor center and also flush toilets. The trails are very nice and well kept. Depending on when you go you may be the only ones on the trail. The wildlife is very neat it makes you feel like you are in a mini rainforest. There are snakes, skinks, lots of birds, insects and fox squirrels.
We stayed in Longleaf campground at Congaree National Park for a stop-over on our way back north from a family trip in Florida. The campsites at Longleaf each had a fire ring and picnic table, and were pretty good sized. The key thing to know about Longleaf is that you need to be prepared in several ways:
- You have to make a reservation online. The ranger at the visitor's center told us to make sure we had some kind of documentation of our reservation. Reception can be spotty, so printing your reservation ahead of time might be a good idea.
- There is one parking lot, and you'll be walking with your stuff into your campsite. It isn't far, but be prepared to carry things. (Note: The walk into Bluff campground is further than Longleaf)
- There is no potable water at either campground. Bring your own. (Relatedly, there are only vault toilets at the campground)
We stayed in campsite 6 at Longleaf, which was great. Campsites 1-3 are closer to the lot, but also closer to the walk that everyone takes from their cars to their sites. For a little more space/privacy, opt for campsites 4 and above.
Although the campground is barebones, it had everything we needed and made for a great stop for us. Most of the park trails were underwater when we were there after a recent flood. It seemed like paddling would have been an optimal way to see the park and surrounding areas, but even so, we had a great time. There were lots of people out on the boardwalk trails, including lots of kids and dogs. Before you hit the trails, stop in the Visitor's Center and pick up the interpretive brochures on the types of trees/wildlife - they have kid versions and grown-up versions. Both were helpful in understanding the unique environment of the floodplain.
there is no running water or electric. Take the 2 mile hike and head to Longleaf sites.It's only $5!
There plenty of trails and the kayaking is fantastic, one of my favs.
We camped here to see the synchronous fireflies, and loved our stay! The group site was plenty big enough for all of the children, the hiking was excellent, and the fireflies were one of the most magical things I've ever seen!
Congaree is one of my favorite parks to visit. I love walking around the boardwalk doing the self guided nature tour. Every time you go the landscape is a little different because of the flood plains. You can see the effects of hurricanes and fires from the past. Great place for kayaking or canoeing. For two weeks in may, it is one of the best places in the United States to see the fireflies migration. There are lots of great hiking trails for all skill levels.
Sites 2,10 and 8 are private or not to close to other sites. It a easy walk in from the parking lot. Bathroom are clean but no water anywhere next the campground. The sites were clean but the tree roots are horrible, it night you will trip over them and there will be some under your tent. Very nice park office,young ranger a bit rude but the volunteers nice.
Campground was very clean, but also provides very close quarters. We stayed over a Saturday and Sunday night and at least half of the spots were taken each night. One group spot was claimed Saturday night, which unfortunately made for a somewhat loud experience. Sound travels very far in this environment, and we could hear every word our neighbors were saying at 7am. However, the pit toilet was kept very clean, as were the camping spots and trails. Easy walk into the campsites from the parking lot, making this more of a "car camping" than primitive camping experience. There is easy access to all of the trails in the park, which are open 24/7. We took advantage of the Full Super Moon and did the boardwalk trail through the swamp at night, an experience I would HIGHLY recommend to anyone!