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.