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It looks nothing like South Carolina as you enter the gates. After half a dozen ups and downs and right turns you find yourself in a clearing and a large parking lot, a lake and a ranger station. Around the clearing are more than a dozen trails for hiking or MTB. It's a "mountain" in the low country.
We used this campground as a stopping point after a trip to Fantasy Lake Water Park. It's secluded, small, cute, and located right on the Lumber River.
Our particular site, PA 7, is one of two right on the river's edge, across from the Naked Landing trail. Sites 7 & 8 would be perfect for two families to camp together, because they'd have the whole trail area to themselves. These sites have a bit of hike-in required, in that you can't drive up to them (see my uploaded photo of where the parking lot is in relation to the sites).
There is a vault toilet near the parking lot ("that's gonna be a no from me, dog") but an actual restroom facility across the parking lot.
Each of the sites has its own trash can, and a ranger comes by in the morning to empty it.
The river is nice to swim in after a hot summer's day, although the bottom is quite squishy. It's a good area to fish or use small watercraft.
We slept in hammocks and were awoken at dawn by a cacophony of juvenile barred owls directly above us.
Camping to the general public is not permitted here unless you’re in a group, or volunteering. The first weekend in March most of the roads in the refuge are closed and is staged out for the Sandblast Rally. Tons of fun for a volunteer and a great excuse to be outdoors.
Camping is not open to the general public at this wildlife preserve. However, for the purpose of environmental education programs and research activity, school groups and youth groups are welcome to visit the preserve for ranger led programs and can stay overnight at special rustic group campsites. This is with the permission of the refuge, and you must contact the station to obtain a permit. Camping is free, but the camping ground is required to do some kind of service learning project while in residence, and/or submit a list of species observed or studied while in residence. Independent researchers wanting to study the unique landscape, habitats, flora and fauna of the preserve may also apply for permits to camp here as well. This is a unique opportunity in a unique location! Hiking, fishing, and boating are also available, in addition to wildlife watching and nature study. Read more about the preserve here: https://www.fws.gov/refuge/Carolina_Sandhills/visit/plan_your_visit.html
you can print out a brochure here: https://www.fws.gov/uploadedFiles/CarolinaSandhillsBrochure.pdf
If you just want general day use recreation in the preserve, you can also camp nearby in the Sandhills State Forest: https://www.state.sc.us/forest/refshill.htm#rec
Had a lovely stay here. The sites were kind of course together, but it turned out just fine. You can see tons of stars here at night, it is amazing! It's lovely to sit by the water and look at the night sky. Also, there's a lot of owls here at night. If you are a light sleeper you may want to consider ear plugs. It's lovely, but the owls do get kind of rowdy at points making a racket. There bath house was a decent walk, but nothing ridiculous.