We spent a lovely weekend at Givhans State Park. It's definitely a small park, and its big draw is its location on the Edisto River, with lovely river-tubing to boot.
We stayed in the tent sites, which have water and electricity at each site. There is a central parking area, and then you must carry in your stuff to your site. Ours, T-28, was one of the first, and from the closest parking spot, it was 200 steps along flat ground (just to give you an idea).
The tent sites are right behind the only public restroom, which means that the restroom gets filthy after a day of the river-goers going in and out. There is only an outdoor shower. You can walk into the RV loop to get a larger, cleaner, and more private restroom with showers.
The only trash dump we could find (apart from the small cans in the restrooms) is located just off the entrance of the park. The park has a strong WiFi signal at the main house/office, but the rest of the park doesn't get WiFi and barely any cell service. The staff keeps the park clean and it's very pleasant, especially on weekdays! Don't forget the bug spray! And steer clear of the poison ivy, which is everywhere.
We had a wonderful time camping at Devil's Fork State Park. Our group took up rustic tent sites T1, T3, and T5. On the map, these sites seem not ideal, as they are not on the water. However, they are more isolated, more wooded (plenty of trees for hammocking), and seemingly larger than the other tent sites. They are a short walk from the tent-camper parking area, a short walk from the two water spigots in the parking area, and a short walk from the restrooms. The bonus is that, behind sites T1 and T3, is a jumping rock into a gorgeous cove of Lake Jocassee with beautiful blue-green water. It's a great place to enjoy kayaks, rafts, and other inflatables.
While site T13 books up quick because of its waterfront location on the point, the walk from the parking lot is no joke.
Notes about the rustic tent sites: They have been recently renovated. Each has a picnic table and a fire ring. Only 1 vehicle is allowed to park, per site, unless you pay for the extra vehicle and park in the overflow lot. There is no electricity, and two water spigots located in the parking area. The entire camping area (25 tent sites and 59 RV sites) share 2 restrooms (which were muddy and gross while we were there). No generators are allowed in the tent area. We did have a bear visit us multiple times in one night, putting teeth puncture marks in our cooler. And if the bear don't get ya, the raccoons will!
We camped at Halfway Creek in the Francis Marion National Forest for the eclipse. It's a free campground, but there are no water and no toilets. You can park in a lot just outside the camping area--some people sleep in their cars there. This site does not take reservations, so it's first come-first served.
The actual camping area is wide open and grassy, but if you prefer more privacy, you can hike in a bit and pick a spot. We stayed in the open area because we were a big group and wanted the best view of the eclipse!
Something fun to do is to visit (gotta drive there) the Halfway Creek Church, constructed in 1941. You can also do a hike on one of the trails here.
Bring lots of water and bug spray and some trash bags to pack your trash/T.P. out!
[Off Halfway Creek Road (SC Route 98-S), located along Swampfox Passage/Palmetto Trail]
This campground is a breath of fresh air and my new favorite campground. The park is clean and so are the bathrooms! The sites are spacious and if you get site 11 during the week, you might be the only ones in a large section of the camp. The cheaper sites (the non-"full service" ones) still have electricity and water. The bugs seem to be under control here, too.
There are at least 8 geocaches, a self-led park BINGO, a swimming beach, paddleboat rentals, fishing ponds stocked with catfish, and a tackle loaner program. Note that the park office is only open from 11a-noon and 4-5p. The rangers are super-friendly.
If you get a chance to go to nearby Blackville, make sure to dine at Miller's Bread-Basket, an Amish-Mennonite restaurant with a Southern touch.
Hunting Island is a gorgeous and popular park. If you love mosquitoes and sweat, you should definitely visit in July! Recently opened after being flooded by rain, the campground had many large puddles where mosquitoes like to breed. And breed they did! As soon as we arrived, we were swarmed. We used a new can of bug spray up in one day and had to drive out to buy more supplies.
The best place to escape the bugs was on the beach, where a breeze keeps them at bay. The beach is also the spot to stargaze at night, where it's cool and clear and the sky view is amazing.
There are multiple restrooms/shower facilities, centrally-located throughout the campground (but no wastebaskets in the restrooms). You may want to bring a beach cart, as the walk from the campground to the beach is a little far for carrying a bunch of stuff in your arms.
The rustic tent sites, while closer to the beach, don't have much shade, which is a must during the summer. Friendly deer and raccoons roam the campground, looking for handouts and stealing, if necessary.
Recommended sites: 158, 179, 183
Little Pee Dee State Park is a quiet and clean campground on the banks of Lake Norton. Locals often come here for fishing and non-motorized boating. We were fortunate to witness a mass crayfish event--the recent flooding had brought them out of the swamp and up the spillway, much to the delight of seafood lovers.
The campground had two different campground hosts, and they kept the restrooms and campsites immaculately clean.
Campsites have a fire ring/grate and a picnic table, but no trash cans, and you'll need to bring your trash to a large bin located at the edge of the campsites.
There are some nice sites right at the edge of Lake Norton, but the abundant water plants don't allow you to fish from the side of the lake, and it's not really a swimming lake. These sites accommodate RVs and have water & electric. If you're on a budget, there are tent-only sites off the water.
The campground recently built a sleeping cabin, which is a cute structure with air conditioning/heat, bunk beds, and a free-standing bed (the cabin sleeps four, total). Guests can use a fire ring and Adirondack chairs, hammock, and grill.
The park also has a nice shelter for use.
There is no WiFi here, and cellular internet is spotty. There isn't a camp store, but the Ranger Station does have ice, firewood, and a small number of souvenirs for sale.
Falls Lake State Recreation Area is huge, with seven access areas (4 of which offer camping). We stayed at Holly Point, which offers both tent and RV camping on large, wooded lots. Our campsite, 57, backed up to a finger of Falls Lake for fishing. It was just a short walk to a clean swimming beach. Best of all, it was a great place for the kids to explore!
Sites had their own trash cans. A nice grocery store, some gas stations, and some restaurants were just a short drive out of the park. We'd love to return.
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.
Do you love people? Do you love the ocean? Do you love airplanes?
Then Myrtle Beach State Park is for you!
It's a great park--it's got lots of campsites, a beautiful beach, and amenities like a playground, a nature center with educational programs, and a fishing pier.
The campground is well-staffed with rangers, hosts, and volunteers. The bathrooms are large and clean. (Hand soap is provided but there are no paper towels, just blowers). The campgrounds are well-maintained and tidy. The trash and recycling stations are conveniently located.
The campground, particularly site 171, is directly under the flight path for planes departing from Myrtle Beach International Airport. The flights start around 6 am and go until 11 pm or so. The planes haven't gotten much altitude before they are roaring above your tent, hammock, or camper!
Sites are close together and there is little to no privacy. Site 171, however, seemed to be the best one for tents, with a deep and wide site and a few trees--enough to hang our 4 hammocks.
Quiet hours were not enforced and traffic noise is easily heard, especially fire truck and police car sirens well into the night and early morning. The park staff raced past our site frequently on tractors and golf carts once it was after 7 am.
Mosquitoes are in full force here. The county had sprayed for them the night before we arrived. Maybe they don't spray the tent sites, but the mosquitoes were insane. Bring plenty of spray, wipes, and one of those bug zapper tennis rackets. You will definitely need protection! The camp store sells mosquito spray for twice as much as it costs across the street at Walmart.
Also, the raccoons were at our site both nights. They are fearless and hungry. Lock up your food, your coolers, and your trash. They do know how to open up latches!!!
Bring a bike and/or a beach cart to get around and transport your stuff to the beach for the day. The campground is about 300 yards from the beach and it's so nice, you'll want to spend the whole day there, then go out at night to look for creatures and enjoy the ocean breeze.
As a Ranger for The Dyrt, I get products to test from time to time- today I am testing the Morsel Spork (mini and XL).
I was pleasantly surprised at the comfort of using the Sporks. I was worried they'd be awkward and unwieldy, but the creators put thought into how they are being held by the eater. My thumb rested nicely in a groove near the top of the utensil. The rubbery edge worked as intended to completely scrape the sides of the bowl, but an added bonus was that the rubber made the spoon edges soft where it met the skin of my mouth.
The spoon holds much more (cereal and beans, in our case) than it looks like it would. The fork works, but I'd like thinner tines to better stab food items. The serrated edge? Well, it crushes rather than cuts.
I love the different colors and unique shape of the Spork(s). They will be going on every camping trip with us. They are easy to tell which fork is whose, and won't be lost in the cutlery shuffle when we're camping with a group of friends. They're good for kids and adults!
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.
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
My husband took the éclipse Adjustable Neck Gaiter
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!
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.
I have camped with a large group of friends at site #2 a couple of times, but this weekend, I wanted to camp with just my two boys, and site #5 (the yurt site) was available. This site was new since I had camped here last. It said it slept 6 and the website showed a pic of two beds; I *assumed* there would be four more, since it slept 6.
Long story short, just 2 beds. But the worst part was weeds growing up through the floorboards, ripped screens, doors that wouldn't zip completely, and two (purposeful) holes at the top that surely let in mosquitoes! The boy who slept at ground level is completely bitten up, despite me spraying everyone with bug spray and using my tennis racket-style bug zapper to clear out the yurt before bed.
Our trash can was completely full (I mean, at least there's a trash can, but we could hardly use it). Our fire ring was full of ashes and the grate was jammed down. The previous campers had left us a few jugs of water but also small pieces of trash scattered about. What I'm trying to say was that this site was not maintained between the last visitors and us.
The campground, though, is awesome if you like roughing it. You are allowed, thankfully, to drive to your site, but it's a hike to walk to the running water toilets, and I saw lots of people drive to them. There is a closer pit toilet but I didn't check that out.
The lake is beautiful, shallow, warm, good fishing, fun for everyone! Bullfrogs, peepers, and owls called all night. Dragonflies galore flew about. It's rustic, but relaxing. And the visitor's center has a nice exhibit on the Carolina Bays.
NC campgrounds do it right! There are trash and recycling receptacles located every few campsites. Four dishwashing stations set up behind the restroom. This park has lots of hiking trails, waterfalls, a swimming lake, great fishing, newts to catch, places for kids to explore. We hammock camped and it was wonderful. Located in a beautiful area of NC with the cutest towns surrounding it. I'd love to go back.