The best national parks in South Carolina- a guide. So what lies within the national parks in South Carolina? Keep reading to find everything you need for your trip to the national parks in South Carolina, including a packing list and best accommodations.
What is a national park?
What exactly is a national park? A national park is a site of beauty, as well as being of historic and cultural significance. They usually boast stunning landscapes and have unique features that set them apart from the ordinary. A national park aims to preserve its grounds and benefit from them as well as caring for the natural environment. The ‘National Park service manages 423 national parks across America, in aims of conserving the ‘natural and cultural heritage for the benefit of current and future generations.
Why visit the national parks in South Carolina?
Why visit the national parks in South Carolina? South Carolina is famous for its stunning range of national parks, brimming with beautiful views and amazing trails. You will find American history, rare species of animal and stunning biodiversity in the national parks of South Carolina!
How many national parks in South Carolina are there?
There are 7 national parks in South Carolina, according to the national park service. These national parks gain roughly 1 million visitors annually, contributing $77,500,000 in economic benefit to South Carolinas economy!
The best accommodation when visiting the national parks in South Carolina
The best accommodation when visiting the national parks in South Carolina. Sometimes the accommodation makes all the difference on a holiday- so that’s why here I have chosen the best priced, best quality and most conveniently located to the national parks in South Carolina.
Cottage Tree House B&B
Cottage tree house B&B is a perfect accommodation for visiting Congaree national park, being just a 15-minute drive away. This stunning cottage tree house is quite the unique accommodation, perfectly embodying the natural vibe that fits your stay. There is free WIFI on site, as well as a coffee house and bar. So, enjoy your stay at this fairy-tale-like retreat! Click here to find out more.
Holiday Inn Express & Suites Kings Mountain – Shelby Area, an IHG Hotel
Holiday Inn express is located just a 12-minute drive from Kings Mountain national park. This accommodation has plenty of amazing facilities, including free WIFI and wellness facilities, including a fitness centre and sun loungers. There is a selection of great restaurants surrounding, including Hounds grill and China King. Click here to find out more.
Holiday Inn Express & Suites – Spartanburg-North, an IHG Hotel
Holiday Inn express is the perfect accommodation for visiting Cowpens national park, which just a 10-minute drive away! There is an indoor pool, free WIFI, and plenty of great restaurants surrounding, so there is plenty of choice. Each room is cosy and comfortable with an en suite and flat screen, perfect for winding down after a long day exploring the national parks in South Carolina. Click here to find out more.
Bright Hopkins Home
Bright Hopkins Home is a charming little accommodation just an 18-minute drive from Congaree National Park. The home is beautifully furnished, with a fully equipped kitchen and bathroom and open plan living space. There is a separate room with a flat screen TV, sofas and LED lights to enjoy a film night. Stepping outside, there is a huge garden space with a BBQ, children’s playground and patio for summer evenings! Click here to find out more.
Essential packing list when visiting the national parks in South Carolina
So, what is the essential packing list when visiting the national parks in South Carolina? Here I will break down the must haves for your trip.
With many trails to discover, a pair of hiking boots are definitely an essential when visiting the national parks in South Carolina.
- For women, I recommend the Northwest territory hiking boots for their durability and waterproof material, perfect for long hikes with added comfort.
- For men, I recommend the AX BOXING hiking boots, with a wide colour range, protective toe caps and rubber sole, making these the most comfortable footwear for long hikes.
A hiking backpack is perfect for visiting the national parks in South Carolina. You’re going to want a space where you can fit all of your other essentials for your day out, and a hiking backpack is just the thing for that! I recommend the SKYSPER travel backpack, with its large capacity and storage as well as comfortable mesh shoulder pads.
No matter the time of year, suncream is always an essential for preventing skin damage. Be prepared on your trip to the national parks in South Carolina by packing the Sekoa SPF 50, an amazing option for ultimate skin protection.
Mini first aid kit
A mini first aid kit is essential whilst visiting the national parks in South Carolina, especially when planning on a long-distance hike. I recommend the General Medi first aid kit with 92 pieces of medical supplies.
A water bottle is an essential for visiting the national parks in South Carolina, especially when hiking for long distance. I recommend the Ararlas stainless steel water bottle for keeping water cool and fresh for 24 hours!
The best national parks in South Carolina
So, what are the best national parks in South Carolina? Here I will break down the best national parks in South Carolina, with the most amazing activities, natural scenery, history and cultural significance.
Congaree national park is known for being one of the most naturally beautiful national parks in South Carolina. with a huge biodiversity and astonishing natural environment. Congaree is renowned for its giant hardwoods and towering pines, with a floodplain forest with one of the highest canopies in the world. There are plenty of hikes to enjoy, as well as boating activities, and a chance to admire the natural scenery.
Try out one of the many park trails, all of which range in difficulty and length:
- For an easier hike, try the Sims trail. This is a round trip of 3.2 miles, following the gravel road from The Bluff trail to the northern end of Cedar Creek. It’s a great one for exploring the natural environment.
- For a moderate hike, try the Weston Lake trail, a 7.1-mile round trip, with amazing views of Cedar Creek.
- For a difficult hike, try the river trail, with a round trip of 11.1 miles. This trail leads you to the Congaree River, one of the most crucial and scenic parts of the national park. Every year this river overflows and pulses through the bottomland forest, when the river is low, a sandbar may be visible.
There are plenty of canoeing and kayaking opportunities on site. You can rent out equipment at Congaree and try out a whole new boating experience. There is 25 miles of river trail to follow whilst boating, so enjoy travelling around the site in super speed!
Kings Mountain uncovers the history of ‘The battle of kings mountain‘ which happened on the 7th of October 1780. It is named ‘the turn of the tide of success’ by Thomas Jefferson. This battle was so significant because it was the first major victory for Charleston, South Carolina.
Today you can enjoy the parks site and engage in the historical side as well as the natural side of the site, with plenty of nature trails to discover. The Battlefield trail is great for gaining insight onto the events of the battle itself, with just 1.5 miles of walking, there are wayside exhibits along the way which underline the battle events at each point. There are also two other short hikes that are great for their scenery, the Browns Mountain trail and Clarks Creek.
Discover the sites history by watching the park film “Battle for Kings Mountain“, which has the full history of the battle in about 45 minutes. After this, explore the museums with plenty of historical exhibits on show!
Cowpens national battlefield tells the tale of the revolutionary war, the place where Daniel Morgan and his army turned the flanks of Banastre Tarleton’s British army. There are 843.5 beautiful acres of land to discover, hosting an array of plant and animal life, along with trails and exhibits on site to discover.
Take a trip on the 1.3-mile Battlefield trail, with wayside exhibits, including the 1856 Washington light infantry monument and the historic Green River Road which was the centre line of the battle. After that, stop off at the picnic area for some lunch and continue onto the visitor centre for some history! Watch the park documentary entitled “Cowpens, A Battle remembered“, which celebrates the 225th anniversary of the battle. Then explore the wide array of musuem exhibits from the revolutionary war in the visitor centre, from canons to interpretive exhibits.
The 3 best national parks in South Carolina- further reading
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