Stuart K.The Dyrt PRO User
Reviewed Jul. 2, 2021

Lakeside Perfection

If you are looking for a near perfect lakeside camping experience in the low country here in South Carolina, than you may have just found the perfect getaway!  Tucked away from main roads and a solid 20 minute drive from the nearest traces of civilization (McCormick), than Hickory Knob State Park may just be your perfect camping escape.

There's about 60-70 individual campsites here, but you would be hard pressed to count them all on account that there is so much foliage that separates each individual campsite.  While some of these well-secluded spots can get you just about as close to the lakeshore as possible (without infringing upon the land boundaries itself), most set a decent 10 - 15 feet above shoreline, but offer a private and simple-to-navigate pathway to the refreshing lollops of the lake's gentle rippling waves.  Each site is apportioned with the basics - long drive-way with corresponding flat base platform (either perfect for RV or very amenable to the largest of tents), fire ring, water spigot and picnic table.  While there's a handful of campsites that appear to be close cousins to the one next to it, most sites feel independent from one another and offer up enough space to forget your next-door neighbors.  Further, I counted 3 separate loops (or communities, if you will, each with their own facilities.

Apart from the greatest amenity being the lake itself, the park also offers a simple, yet splendid boat jetty with an easy-to-navigate round-about.  Unlike many other state parks I have visited in the country, this one offers boaters many easy places to stow away their boats, when not in use on the lake.  Further afield, there are plenty of trails to explore the deeper, less frequented side of this overgrown lakeside forested haven.  

If there were any drawbacks at all, it would simply be the less than mediocre bathrooms and showers that the state of South Caroline seems intent on not fixing (think back 50 to 60 years ago to what bathrooms might have looked like back then and then come present day to find exactly the same thing, without any repairs (and perhaps any sanitation) being made whatsoever).  With all of the tax dollars that the state collects, on top of the fees paid for camping in these amazing state parks, you think the state would be able to afford building and maintaining necessary facilities for its overnight guests (what is it that they say about hospitality in the South?!).

In sum, if you are looking for some really good seclusion, right on the lake, don't mind the overgrown nature of this campsite, have a boat, and perhaps older children that don't need playgrounds (and other man-made distractions) and can do without direct access to civilization, then this may very well be a perfect spot for you.  Last tip?  Because the nearest town is so far away, be sure to bring everything you need with you - it's a pain in the @ss to make day trips to/fro McCormick for those odds and ends you forgot. But the silver liner?  There's a great little ice cream parlor right on the way!  Enjoy.

  • It's a Barn.  I know that, well, because 'The Barn' is written on the side of it.  But that's about all I know.  There's nothing I found that explained why this barn greets you upon entering the park!  Looks like it could be a lot of fun though.
  • Here's one of many perfect spots at this state park - any closer and you would be swimming in the lake!
  • #8 offers another perfect bit of seclusion
  • For those sites that don't have water lapping at the edge, nearly all of the sites I looked at had a small, private pathway leading you to your own water access point.  Nice standard fire ring here.
  • #9 is much like #8, but perhaps with a few more trees?
  • 11 and 10 are 'close cousins' which I explained earlier - could be perfect for a large family that wants/needs to take up 2 places next to each other
  • Another example of a standard campsite here
  • Another example of a standard campsite here
  • Another example of a standard campsite here
  • Another example of a standard campsite here
  • This is an example of direct water access without a path from your campsite (enjoy the late night swimming!)
  • Good old #12 - what fond memories we'll have of you!
  • #12 up close - still a legend!
  • From #12, you can see the small marina across the lake on the other shore
  • #17 sits up perfectly above the lake's edge
  • Here's #17 up close (remember, the taller you are, the better the view, although the less direct access to the lake you'll have)
  • This is a picnic table, of course, but my favorite one ... by far!
  • Here's the simple-to-navigate boat access to the lake
  • Here's the majestic lake that awaits you!
  • And for the still image impaired among us, I offer you a sweeping dynamic glimpse of this brilliant lake!
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  • Here's another video I shot - I don't know why, so I have left out the credits
  • And here's just a photo of what I was trying to inadvertently video!
  • Simple, sanguine #23 (in honor of Michael Jordan himself) - this location is on the smaller inlet side of the lake - look close and you'll see a bit of fog coming off the lake here (but remember, on this side, you're facing east, which means an earlier sunrise surprise than those dudes are getting on the west side of the campground, which, by contrast get a great sunset!)
  • Fairly primitive water spigot - this one held together by some old duck tape, whose silver was worn away years ago!
  • Another standard campsite on the lake found on the western side
  • A picnic table unlike any other!
  • See the fog dissipating in the morning heat?
  • #24 is a pretty standard lakeside campsite with a fantastic view
  • Nice unobstructed view of the lake here (I forget which # this one was!)
  • Another perfectly framed campsite with views of the lake (are you getting the message here?!)
  • Another perfectly framed campsite with views of the lake (are you getting the message here?!)
  • I love this sign!  I wish it said 'tent campers' though!!!
  • Now with trees.

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