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We stayed in the Lakeshore side, and after viewing the Cypress View campground, we made the right choice.
Cypress view is nice, and closer to the camp store, but is geared more toward RV campers, and we are tent campers.
The drive in is mostly paved. The road in is bumpy in spots, but easy to navigate in any vehicle.
The sites are spacious and not right on top of each other. Our site had a good view of the lake. We have Verizon, and had no issues with service here.
The town of Santee is close by, about 10-15 mins away. We did go into town to purchase firewood at the Santee General Store. A bundle was about $6, stored under cover, and dry.
Some of the neighbors were loud at the campground, but we consider this more of an inconvenience of rude people and not the parks fault. When camping at state parks, the noise levels are hit and miss depending on the people camping.
We would have given this park 5 ⭐️ if it weren’t for the bathrooms. They did have plenty of hot water, and were kept clean, they were just dated. Old facilities, no mirrors, etc. but clean.
There is a boat ramp close by and trails to explore, although we did neither. We just relaxed, enjoyed the weather, and decided we would definitely come back since it is only a little over an hour from our home.
Crowded. The camp ground is definitely crowded. We got lucky and had no one to our left and a very quiet and considerate neighbor to our right. You don't always get lucky like that though! We also didnt realize our site backed against an open field. It appeared to be maybe a gathering spot, had a giant fire pit. We were at site 45. All the sites on that side of the loop back against it, which wouldnt be so bad in the winter BUT makes for a super hot camp during the warmer weather.
Bathrooms were clean, a little older but clean. The camp host was no where to be found so you either show up betweeb 11-12 or 4-5 if you want to get wood. We always scrounge the ground for firewood but like to purchase as well because it goes back into the park. We were lucky in that everything was really dry but on a wet weekend or trip this would be beyond annoying and venture into frustrating and just plain angry.
The "road" up to the camp ground in one lane with nowhere to really pull off if someone is coming in the opposite direction. It was very tricky to navigate the couple of times we ended up coming up on other drivers.
The trails are okay but overall, the park was a little so so. Still had a good time with a lot of hammock swinging. Dont forget to go up to the lookout. That is really pretty and you dont want to miss it.
It was a pleasant stay at Congaree. As a SC resident I was surprised to learn we had our very own National Park and just had to take the short drive from Charleston to experience it - glad we did! The sites did not have water or power but were a decent size. We stayed at tent site 1 which was right at the beginning of the Bluffs Trail. We took our 2 dogs hiking to the boardwalk trail which led back to the Visitor Center.. this was a decent 3+ mile hike our dogs were pooped! Overnight guests should be prepared to gather your own wood as none is sold on site. You can also get water from the Visitor Center (which is a better drive than walk if carrying a large or multiple jugs). The bathrooms on the campground part were essentially glorified port-o-potties (a building surrounding a hole in the ground). The Visitor Center was a better bathroom experience. Overall, I would return here to camp. The hikes were not too challenging but the boardwalk provided a unique experience!