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Francis Marion and Sumter National Forests, SOUTH CAROLINA

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Camping South Carolina Francis Marion and Sumter National Forests
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Most Recent Francis Marion and Sumter National Forests Camping Reviews
Needs improvements

Not a big rig friendly area. Our site was 30 amp, no sewer. I backed in the way I was told to and realized our water and electric were on the curb side. Had I known this ahead of time, I could have maybe pulled in another way. The service from another site was less than 3 feet from my power inlet to the camper. I called to make sure it would be ok to plug in there and they said no, even though no one used that site. The bathhouse was well below standards and really just unusable. I’ll pick another place if I’m ever in the area again.

Surrounded by trees, water and nature.

My husband found Dreher Island on The Dyrt and said this is where he wanted to go for our November vacation. We looked at site photos online and found site 83. The drive in is a great way to see the whole park and campground. There were lots of picnic shelters, restrooms and trails.

Our site was great - we had an awesome view of the lake and our neighbors weren't too close. Our pad was level and we noticed that others were not or very bumpy as tree roots were growing underneath which would have made getting level a little tricky. We were surrounded by trees which brought in a lot of birds and squirrels, even a deer on our first morning. The fire ring is right off the pad, so don't back in to the very end of the pad which was fine because the pad was long for us.

The shower house was just a little walk past a few campsites. There were flush toilets, sinks and two showers. The showers did not have anywhere inside to leave your items, but there was a bench directly outside of your curtain. The camp host kept it nice and clean.

We stayed from Sunday-Saturday - some days we just sat around the fire and others we hiked around the island. There are a couple of designated areas for hiking and doable for any age. Every morning and evening we walked the campground which helped us check out some other sites. I'll acknowledge the good sites in our photos. The tent sites on the outside/shore side had tent pads then there were a few tent sites on the inside, but no tentpads - they all had electric.

We visited the marina store to pick up ice and wood and found that they also had some food items, condiments, fishing items, souvenirs and ice cream. We found that the Dollar General store in Chapin had cheaper wood, ice and anything else you may need…go there first.

We left Veterans weekend and it was just about full on Friday night. This might be our go to vacation spot - we lucked out with weather and one of the nicest stays at a state park.

Im home.

Love this place. Next to the lake. Quite, friendly clean. Good bathroom.

We LOVED Our Stay!!

We went camping at Hamilton Branch State Park in October 2019 for a week. There are so many wonderful things to say about this campground. 

1) Almost ALL sites are lakefront- There are very few sites that are not right on the water. There are some sites that have a steep drop off to the water(mostly the tent sites around the sites 123-128 range). We found several sites that we thought were the best. Sites 77, 168, 98, 97, 103, 105, and a couple of others I can’t remember. Nice views and access to the water. 

2) Sites are very spaced out- We were there during a quieter time, so we had several sites around us that were empty, but even if they had been full, we thought there was a lot of space between them, and most faced the water, so they all kind of faced away from each other. So, it seems to be very private. 

3) Park is LARGE- This is a huge park, and even though there are 200 sites, those are all distributed over 9 different areas, each area consisting of at least 1 loop each. So, again, very spaced out and private. 

4) Clean Bath Houses- Obviously we stuck to the bath house closest to our site, but it was extremely clean and appointed. Toilets cleaned every morning. Shower clean with good shower curtains! If you have camped before, you have likely encountered shower curtains that were hanging on by their last 2 or 3 loops. We even brought our own, in case that was the case here. Nope, it was very nice to have the bathroom so well taken care of. 

5) Friendly Staff- We had originally booked a specific site, and when we got there, we wanted to change it(due to the steep drop to the water, that would be hard to do every day with kayaks). We looked around the park to see what else would be available and Amanda at the front office was very helpful in checking for availability and helping us change our site. In addition to the very helpful Amanda, we encountered several camp hosts. Since the park is so big, there are multiple camp hosts. Everyone we encountered was friendly, helpful and seemed to enjoy being there. 

6) Beautiful Lake/Nature- Obviously the big attraction here is the lake. Thurmond Lake is ENORMOUS. And the park is on one small part of it. We kayaked a few days and saw a lot of fish, bald eagles, geese, blue herons, white egrets, etc. At our campsite we saw a couple of deer and a few raccoons. For a 6-night stay, we only saw the raccoons one night. We must not have had very good tidbits ad they gave up on us. 

We stated several times that we will be coming back to this campground, and that it might be one of the best we have ever been to. I hope this gave you some info and insight into this park.

Very nice

We have been a few times and really like it. The staff are very friendly. The bath houses and park are always really clean.

Outstanding

Great park, few pictures from the island.

New Construction

New phase 2 Area. Location on map is incorrect. CG is located east of Jenkinville on SC-215. Definitely for both long term and overnight RV. We have been here for a month. Aside from the commute to anywhere this is a good campground. The staff is what makes it a 5 star along with the awesome sunsets.

Surprisingly Accomodating, Even When Crowded

I had never visited Lake Greenwood, save for driving by on the way from Augusta to Greenville. So when no other State Park had reservations available for Labor Day weekend, I was hesitant to book here. I will admit, I was mistaken. My in-laws and my parents both pulled their camper trailers, while I pulled my Jayco pop-up. I was very satisfied with the size of the spaces, which were accurate compared to the website. The camp website also accurately informs campers about the grade of campsite driveways, which did become an issue for my parent’s trailer. The sites are generally not much more than an asphalt driveway, and a gravel picnic table/fire ring area. I didn’t see many tent campers in this part of the campground, and I would imagine tent camping would be especially uncomfortable (hot) during the summer months. Electrical hookups are new, and standard, and water hookups are plenty for even the biggest of rigs.

The campground maintains decent tree/shade coverage, especially on the outer sites. The sites near/on the water are also shaded and have the added bonus of the lake breeze, although they are a bit crowded; very close to the sites next door. Speaking of which, perhaps due to the sold-out Labor Day weekend, but most probably because of the design of the campground and lakeside access, foot traffic was heavy between and around my campsite. This was annoying as always, and made me feel like I needed to bring in all of my chairs, etc when I left the site.

There are several bathhouses spread throughout the campground. Each one has two showers, two sinks, and two toilets, though at my closest bathhouse, one of the showers was out of order. The bathhouses were always very clean, and did not have the usual peeling paint and army of bugs and spiders that some bathhouses seem to maintain as a matter of principle.

Nearby Ninety Six NHS was a great half-day attraction, less than 15 mins away. Greenwood City is also a draw. Of course, the gem is Lake Greenwood. I was wishing the entire weekend that I had a boat to enjoy the cool clear water.

Bottom line, I have plans to come back on a less crowded weekend, and definitely with a boat.

Easily accessible on Lake Murray, Columbia SC

Small camp site on Lake Murray near downtown Columbia SC. Tent sites, RV sites. Boat rentals nearby.

In the middle of Columbia SC

Built to celebrate the Sesquicentennial of South Carolina in the 30’s . At one time on the furthest outskirts of Columbia SC. It is now firmly in the muddle of the Metro area. Plenty of trailer sites. Tent site and primitive camping. Has recreational areas. Restaurants and shopping nearby

Beautiful location and beautiful lake

If it weren’t for Hurricane Dorian we would have never found this gem! What a beautiful location. Most sites directly on the lake. We were 10 ft from our own swimming area. The water is clean to fish, swim, boat, kayak, jet ski. You can easily rent a pontoon and jet skis at the nearby Skippers and cruise to a great bar and grill, “break on the lake” for dinner and drinks.  The lake is big enough to explore but small enough not to get lost. The reception is helpful and bathhouses very clean.  You are 20 minutes from the cute town of Greenwood too.  Full hookups available at this state park. Picnic tables and fire rings provided too. Don’t carry your own firewood in due to possible invasive insects.

Great Family Campbround!

Our family had a great time! Lots of stuff for the kids to do! Bath house clean and laundry facility great! We will definitely be back!

Beautiful View

Nice campground & beautiful lake. We launched our kayak from campsite.

My favorite SC camp

Quiet, peaceful camp on beautiful Lake Murray. RV and tent sites. Clean bathhouses.

Shaded woodlands

Really nice shaded campground and very reasonably priced. Clean bathhouse. Stand was unpacked but level! Staff were friendly and very welcoming. Only spent the night so did not have time to enjoy the trails or the lake.

Beautiful views!

My family loves this campground! It’s clean and has a Great Lake to swim in.

Favorite State Park

Sooooo many beautiful campsites to choose from! Lots of trees and spaced apart. We camp here almost every other weekend during the warm months and once a weekend during the cooler months.

A unique camping experience

Goat island can only be accessed by boat but with 5 separate spots it’s a pretty neat island to camp at. There are picnic tables and fire pits at each site, but no other accommodations. There are rarely any other campers there, but when there are they tend to leave trash at their sites. The light pollution is at a minimum for the lake so it’s beautiful and very secluded at night. There are small, but clear beaches by some of the sites suitable for beaching a pontoon or other boat, but no docks. There are squirrels and birds on the island but I haven’t seen any other wildlife there.

Amazing lakeside RV site

This SP is only open March to October but it’s hosts took great pride in clearing the sites for the season. I parked my travel trailer in site 95 and it was a great site. We were able to drag water floats and things down to the waters edge outside our site. The bath house is not new by any means but everything you need is there, keeping in mind that this park is more for water sports and recreation than a resort. The roads are a little rutted on some sides due to washout but the park is a great spot to camp. No fire rings or grills in EVERY site but there were some man-made fire pits. The trails on the park were not marked at all except for the Nature Trail in the campground. Fallen trees had destroyed the other ones but they were bike trails. This is a great and relaxing place for a camp. Spent 3 nights here and visited other state parks close by that were more expensive and less maintained than this one. Check-in is 2pm and check-out is 12 noon. I would definitely come back here again!

Not a pleasant stay

Campground had some lovely views, some sites with lake access. Water and electrical hookups at most sites. RVs and tents share same area. Bright lights were burned all night, no need in complaining to camp hosts they burned strings of bright LED lights all night too. Large groups allowed, across from our tent there was a party that included 13 children. Generally noisy, lots of traffic moving at all hours. Bathhouses well maintained. Maybe okay for RV but no sleep if using a tent.

Quiet!

Clean camp sites. Abundance of wildlife. The out houses & vault toilets are in good shape.  This park is always quiet and offers plenty of privacy

Unorganized

We arrived on a Saturday morning to reserve a walkin site that was available online. Paid for the site at the office only to arrive at the site and see that it was already taken, along with all the others.  Went back to the office to inform them and then were told the ranger would go check on it. Drove back to the office an hour later to be told that the site was actually the people who were already there, even though it was available in the computer. Offered a $7 refund and a different site not next to the water, like we wanted. It was poor communication all the way around and the campground was overly crowded more than the allotted cars per campsite at multiple sites. Archery activity was canceled for that day, but the people in the office had no idea why. Not on my list of places to go back to.

Positives for the park, sunsets over the lake were gorgeous and the bathrooms were nice.

Wasn't for us

We are more of a state park kind of campers and these spots were very close together. Great for passing through but you won't see me there again. Internet was spotty at best.

Camping within history

From the main entrance is a winding wooded road to the main store. There you find friendly and helpful staff, parking for vehicles and campers, a store with all your basic needs and other little goodies. Firewood and propane are also available. Inside the store they also have a mini library you can borrow from and next to that a nature area with a live snake and turtles. Our site was easy to find, level and best of all near the waters edge. The kiddos enjoyed playing putt putt, the playground and the beach area. There is also plenty of history to see, experience and learn about.

Camping at its best

Gorgeous island and campground. This is by far a destination of choice. Waterfront sites, hiking trails, wildlife, boating and biking. The sites are spacious and so well maintained. The park is pristine. Will go again and again.

Island Time!!!

Easy drive into park. Most sites gravel with a blacktop driveway. They are all good size. Tent sites all have tent pads. Clean bath house. Boat ramp. Sites on the water make it great to keep your boat or kayak at your site. Fun, family park. Great fishing. The camper cabins are great. If you need a bed and air or heat, it’s the way to go.

Peaceful

We have stayed at this campground a couple times over the last 3 years. It is a fantastic place for families to go camping, you will see deer, you can go fishing, swimming hiking. It has a little something for everyone.

Ranger Review: éclipse Equinox Hoodie Cover Up at Baker Creek SP Campground

Campground Review: 

Baker Creek is a seasonal campground, and is the place to go if you love the water and love to spend your days floating lazily in the South Carolina Midlands.  At night, if it's not cloudy, you'll get to gaze at the constellations in the gorgeous night sky.

The sites are close together, which we certainly noticed during the July 4th holiday, but at times when it's not so crowded, I'm not sure it would matter. We snagged the best sites in terms of privacy (88-96), which are on the water and have no sites across the road from them. We had to switch our site (91) with a friend (89) because we were hammock camping and sites 90-93 don't have many trees. As such, those sites also get hit by sun most of the day, although they have gorgeous views of the water. 

The majority of the campers during the July 4th weekend were in RVs, and we noticed there is less consideration towards tent campers with regards to noise and light. I guess the RVers think everyone is inside their campers and therefore can't hear them driving their car at 3 A.M., starting their boats at 5 A.M., or leaving a bright security light on all night. 

There are many swimming areas around the campsites, and they are shallow enough near-shore that kids can spend, literally, the entire day playing in the water. Bring inflatables, kayaks, boats, and canoes! 

An odd thing about the sites is that there are charcoal grills, but no fire rings! Many makeshift fire rings have been constructed using the large granite rocks that can be found in the lake, though. 

The bathroom, while old, is kept clean by the camp hosts who stay there the entire season. Hand soap is provided but no hot air or paper towels are there to dry hands. 

The trash dumpsters are a fair distance away (you'll need to drive if you have a bag of trash) and no recycling facilities are provided.

I've read online reviews that mention how old and run down Baker Creek is. I disagree. It's a beautiful SC State Park on a gorgeous lake. If your tastes run more upscale, Hickory Knob State Resort Park is right across the water and might suit you better. 

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Product Review:  

As a Ranger for The Dyrt, I get products to test from time to time - today I am testing the éclipse Equinox Hoodie Cover Up https://eclipseglove.com/collections/frontpage/products/equinox-hoodie-beach-cover-up

The éclipse line of products spoke to me because I love to be in the sun all day, and I'm great about applying the first round of sunscreen, but after swimming and chillaxing, I get too lazy to put on more. I don't want to get out of the sun, but I just know I'm burning, especially on my chest and shoulders. Usually, I'll put on a big, long-sleeved shirt to try to hide from the rays.

éclipse makes cover ups with a special type of fabric that increases evaporative cooling and is also UPF 50+. But the sides of the shirt and undersides of the arms are open, allowing airflow where the sun isn't hitting. There is a front pocket and inside that is a cell phone pocket, which is a perfect size for making sure it doesn't slide out. 

I found it was also a good shirt to wear in the hot summer evenings while camping, because it provides mosquito protection without being stifling. 

I got compliments and questions about it when I wore it to Baker Creek. The neck is high to keep the sun off delicate neck skin, but that makes it not as fashionable.  Another option that might look more flowy and cute is the Aurora Shawl 

https://eclipseglove.com/collections/frontpage/products/aurora-beach-cover-ups

My husband took the éclipse Adjustable Neck Gaiter

https://eclipseglove.com/collections/sun-neck-gaiter/products/neck-gaiter-adjustable

on his day-long canoeing trip and it blocks the skin that a shirt doesn't normally cover while still cooling the neck. It's versatile, and can be worn in many different ways

The éclipse products are easy to clean and will be a staple in our beach/boat bag from now on!

Lack of privacy and more

Several things turn me off of this campground. First, the campsites offer absolutely no privacy or separation. Second, we paid for a premium site, however, our site (#65) flooded and became clay-muddy when it rained. It was also difficult to find due to poor labeling. Third, many of the sites did t take advantage of the view of the lake by having the hookups on the “wrong” side of the site.

Awesome place

I love going to this campground, I enjoy doing the trails and spotting dear. And there is a small water play area for children. They have paddle boats also.