Find southern charm with a camping trip on Hilton Head Island or in the Nantahala wilderness.
Rich in Southern heritage and hospitality, South Carolina boasts the good looks to match its personality. Golden beaches and sandy barrier islands dot the Atlantic shore, the forested peaks of the Blue Ridge Mountains rise in the north, and lush marshlands fringe the Lowcountry. Outdoor adventurers can explore SC’s seven national parks and 47 state parks all year-round, and camping options are plentiful, whether you choose a drive-in, hike-in, boat-in, or equestrian campsite, or book a camper cabin. Summers in the Palmetto State averages a balmy 90°F, but it’s best to avoid the fall hurricane season if camping on the coast.
The Pee Dee River runs all the way from the Appalachian Mountains in North Carolina to Georgetown on the Atlantic Coast. This northeastern slice of South Carolina is best known for its Grand Strand beaches, whether camping at the hugely popular Myrtle Beach resorts, bird-watching at Huntington Beach State Park, or teeing off at one of the many coastal golf courses.
Hemmed in by the Savannah River and the Atlantic Coast, the southwestern lowlands are an idyllic stretch of marshlands, barrier islands, and coastal towns. Hunting Island State Park is the state’s most visited park, and a paradise for bird-watchers and campers, while RV parks dot the beaches of Hilton Head Island. The palmetto-fringed beaches of Edisto Beach State Park are a favorite for summer campers, and James Island County Park, just outside Charleston, is a crabbing hotspot.
The state capital Columbia dominates the rolling hills of South Carolina’s Midlands, and the region’s highlights all lie within easy reach. Family campgrounds dot the shores of nearby Lake Murray, Sesquicentennial State Park has a woodland campsite and boating lake, and part of the 500-mile Palmetto Trail passes through Poinsett State Park. Nearby, Congaree National Park has hiking and kayaking trails, two campgrounds, and backcountry camping.
The Blue Ridge Mountains tumble down over the border from North Carolina, and South Carolina’s mountainous north is a natural playground of forested valleys, lakes, and waterfalls. Greenville is the starting point for exploring the north, from where you can hike the 3,533-foot summit of Sassafras Mountain, the state’s highest peak; camp amid the mountains in Table Rock State Park; or explore the multi-use trails at Paris Mountain State Park. For backcountry camping, it doesn’t get much better than the Mountain Bridge Wilderness Area, which links the Jones Gap and Caesars Head state parks.
In South Carolina, there are several beach camping options available. Some popular beach campgrounds include:
Keep in mind that beach camping regulations and availability may change, so it's always a good idea to check with the individual parks for the most up-to-date information. Find more beach camping in South Carolina.
Camping fees at South Carolina State Parks vary depending on the type of site and specific park. On average, tent and RV campsites range from $15 to $35 per night. Some parks also offer cabins and other accommodations, which can range from $50 to $200 per night. For more information on specific parks and their camping fees, visit Hipcamp.
No, you cannot camp anywhere in South Carolina, but there are many designated campgrounds, state parks, and private lands where you can camp. Camping is allowed in specific areas, such as state parks, national forests, and some private campgrounds. Here are some resources for finding camping options in South Carolina:
Always make sure to follow the rules and regulations of the specific area where you plan to camp, and respect private property by only camping on designated lands.
Boondocking, or dispersed camping, is legal in South Carolina on specific public lands, such as national forests. The Francis Marion and Sumter National Forests allow boondocking in designated areas, but it's essential to follow the rules and regulations set by the Forest Service. This includes camping at least 200 feet away from lakes and streams, not staying in one location for more than 14 days, and practicing Leave No Trace principles. Keep in mind that boondocking is not permitted in South Carolina's state parks or on private property without permission. For more camping options, you can explore Hipcamp's listings for RV camping and other unique camping experiences in South Carolina.
South Carolina has 47 state parks, and many of them offer camping facilities for both tent and RV campers. Some popular state parks with camping in South Carolina include Huntington Beach State Park, Table Rock State Park, and Edisto Beach State Park. You can learn more about South Carolina state parks and their camping facilities at Hipcamp.