Monday, April 22, 2024

Top 8 National Parks in South Carolina Every Outdoor Enthusiast Must Visit!

As an outdoor enthusiast, you simply must visit the national parks in South Carolina. It is because the state is blessed with stunning scenery, from Atlantic coast beaches to inland forests and wetlands.

Several national parks protect South Carolina’s most beautiful wilderness areas and ecosystems. So, make sure to add these eight top South Carolina national parks to your travel itinerary.

Here is Top eight National Parks in South Carolina

1. Congaree National Park

Congaree National Park

Your first stop should be Congaree National Park near Hopkins to experience South Carolina’s magnificent old-growth forests. Congaree protects the largest intact tract of old-growth bottomland hardwood forest in the United States.

As you explore its nearly 27,000 acres, you can gaze up in wonder at some of the tallest trees in the Eastern US. Massive loblolly pines, sweetgum, oak, and cypress trees draped in Spanish moss tower over you.

Paddle a canoe or kayak along Cedar Creek, keeping an eye out for woodpeckers, warblers, and other wildlife.

Don’t miss walking the boardwalks through the awe-inspiring flooded forest. You’ll also want to visit the Harry Hampton Visitor Center to learn about Congaree’s fascinating ecology.

2. Cowpens National Battlefield

Cowpens National Battlefield

Relive a pivotal moment in American history at Cowpens National Battlefield in Chesnee. This is where Daniel Morgan and his army defeated British forces during the Revolutionary War in 1781.

As you explore the park’s over 800 acres, take a self-guided auto tour to see the key areas of the battlefield. Walk the trails to visualize where the militia units were positioned.

At the Visitor Center, you can explore exhibits and watch an orientation film on the battle. Make sure to attend one of the living history programs to truly understand what the soldiers endured.

3. Kings Mountain National Military Park

Kings Mountain National Military Park

One of the famous national parks in South Carolina is this Kings Mountain National Military Park. For more Revolutionary War history, head to Kings Mountain National Military Park on the North and national parks in South Carolina border. Here you can explore the site of a decisive 1780 battle that turned the tide in favor of the Patriots.

Hike the one-mile trail around the battlefield perimeter, stepping over the remains of colonial fortifications. Panoramic views open up at the top of Kings Mountain, where you can imagine the intense fight between the Patriots and Loyalists. Don’t miss the Living History program at the visitor center, bringing the 18th century to life through demonstrations.

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4. Ninety-Six National Historic Site

Ninety-Six National Historic Site

Step back into the Revolutionary War era at Ninety Six National Historic Site near Ninety Six. Walk the half-mile trail around the original earthen Star Fort constructed by the British.
You can also view reconstructed fortifications, the siege trenches, and the stockade from the heated five-week siege in 1781. The Visitor Center houses exceptional exhibits on the history of the fort and archeological findings.

Make sure to ask about the monthly programming highlighting different aspects of life in the 18th century.

5. Charles Pinckney National Historic Site

Charles Pinckney National Historic Site

Discover the plantation life of the Lowcountry gentry at Charles Pinckney National Historic Site near Mt. Pleasant. Tour the reconstructed 18th-century home of Charles Pinckney, a Founding Father and signer of the US Constitution.

Walk to the grounds to see the historic rice fields along the tidal marshes. The Visitor Center highlights Pinckney’s influential role in early American history through films and exhibits.

Time your visit for living history days to chat with reenactors portraying 18th-century characters like Pinckney himself.

6. Fort Sumter & Fort Moultrie National Historical Park

Fort Sumter & Fort Moultrie National Historical Park

Visit Charleston’s iconic harbor forts at Fort Sumter and Fort Moultrie National Historical Park. Take a ferry out to Fort Sumter, where the first shots of the Civil War were fired in 1861.

Join a ranger-led tour of the fort ruins to learn about its turbulent history. Over at Fort Moultrie on Sullivan’s Island, explore the coastal fort used from the Revolutionary War to WWII.

The Visitor Center provides an overview of Charleston’s strategic role in America’s military campaigns. Don’t miss the cannon firing demonstrations at Fort Moultrie.

7. Congaree Swamp National Monument

Congaree Swamp National Monument

Paddle through the stillness of Congaree Swamp, protected as Congaree National Park. Experiencing the swamp by canoe or kayak allows you to quietly glide through flooded forests draped in Spanish moss. Keep your eyes peeled for wading birds like egrets, herons, and wood storks.

Schedule a guided canoe tour to learn about the history and ecology of this National Natural Landmark. With luck, you may spot wildlife like river otters, bobcats, and white-tailed deer.

8. Andrew Jackson State Park

Andrew Jackson State Park

Lastly, soak in some Lowcountry scenery at Andrew Jackson State Park near Lancaster. The park’s 389 acres protect a gorgeous segment of rolling hills adjacent to the Catawba River. Hike the Lakeshore Trail past pretty Lancaster Reservoir.

Tour the reconstructed 18th-century home of President Andrew Jackson. The museum tells the story of Jackson’s military career along with Cherokee history. You can also fish, camp, paddleboard, and swim during your visit national parks in South Carolina.

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