Our Favorite Must-Visit South Carolina Campgrounds

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‘Tis the season for camping! (Especially in 2020, when it is one of the safest ways to travel, since it allows for safer social distancing.) South Carolina is an excellent choice for camping all year long because of the temperate climate and varied landscape, from the Blue Ridge Mountains to coastal beaches along the Atlantic. Here, we will explore some of our favorite South Carolina campgrounds.


Many of the best South Carolina campgrounds are part of South Carolina’s State Park system. The state has a very impressive state park system. With more than 80,000 acres of protected lands, South Carolina state parks protect some of the most inviting natural, cultural and recreational destinations in the country.

South Carolina has forested mountains and towering waterfalls, blackwater rivers and scenic inland lakes, white sand beaches and ancient inland shores. Here’s the shortlist of South Carolina campgrounds, with various types of landscapes that can be explored.


Best South Carolina Campgrounds: Beach Vibes


Hunting Island is not only one of the most popular South Carolina campgrounds at a beach, it is the most popular South Carolina State Park with over 1,000,000 visitors per year. You need to reserve a site months in advance to be able to stay here. 

Why is Hunting Island State Park so popular? People flock here to enjoy five miles of pristine coastline, thousands of acres of marsh and maritime forest, a saltwater lagoon, and an ocean inlet. It also contains the only lighthouse in South Carolina that is accessible to the public.


The campground has 102 sites and is located at the northern end of the park near the ocean. Each site has water and electrical hookups. The campground roads are paved, while the sites are packed soil. All of the sites are convenient to hot showers with restroom facilities. And if you forgot anything upon arrival, there is a store with everything from camping essentials to souvenirs.

Best South Carolina Campgrounds: Lake Life


Dreher Island State Park is a unique state park that spans three islands, 348 acres and provides access to 12 miles of Lake Murray shoreline. Dreher Island State Park is popular for its recreational water activities, hiking trails, and large-mouth bass fishing spots.  

Any time you can camp right on the water definitely makes for a happy camper! That alone makes Dreher Island State Park one of the best South Carolina campgrounds. For those who like to get away and enjoy nature, but do not necessarily like to camp, you’ll be glad to know that Dreher Island State Park has five lakeside villas, including two-bedroom and three-bedroom units.  


For those who like to tent camp but don’t like setting up on an RV pad, there are 15 sites specifically for tent camping, in addition to the 97 paved campsites for RV or tent camping. Each site has water and electrical hook-ups and a picnic table. Many sites accommodate RVs up to 45 feet, others up to 30 feet. All sites are convenient to hot showers and restrooms.

Best South Carolina Campgrounds: Coast an Culture


The Campground at James Island is the only South Carolina campground on the list that is not a State Park, but it is a County Park. This South Carolina Campground has 124 sites and 10 vacation cottages along the Stono River marsh. The campground is pristine and includes full hookups with 20/30/50 amp service on all sites, an activity center, ceramic bathhouses, free wi-fi, and a campground store.

There is a paid shuttle service, which takes campers to nearby Folly Beach or the Visitors & Convention Center in Charleston, SC.  This historic city is a must-see tourist destination in the United States, full of southern charm and culture.


The campground is part of the larger James Island County Park, which has plenty to keep you entertained, so do not spend your entire time in Charleston or at Folly Beach. At this park, there are trails, spots to crab and fish, a climbing wall, and splash pad, an 18-hole disc golf course, and rentals for bikes, pedal boats, and kayaks.  

Read More: 15 Hilton Head Family Activities

Best South Carolina Campgrounds: By the River


Peaceful. That is the word to describe Jones Gap State Park. To camp here, you really have to want it.  

There are no drive up campsites at the park. The wilderness/backcountry sites must be hiked to, and there is no water or electricity provided at the campsites. However, your stay will be well worth your effort.

Jones Gap State Park boasts over sixty miles of hiking trails and two scenic waterfalls. The state’s first designated scenic river, the Middle Saluda River, runs through Jones Gap and offers some of the best trout fishing South Carolina has to offer. And the trout fishing in South Carolina is really good! The park also features a living lab for the park’s hand-on ecology learning center.

Best South Carolina Campgrounds: Mountains and Waterfalls


Devils Fork State Park contains Lake Jocassee, a mountain spring-fed lake encompassed by the Jocassee Gorges. Four mountain streams and several waterfalls feed into the lake, making it cooler than others and a great South Carolina trout fishing spot. Plus, the unusually clear water of Lake Jocassee is a haven for scuba divers and swimmers.   


The waterfalls are only accessible by boat here, but you’ll want to bring a boat if you can since some of the best South Carolina trout fishing can be found here. They even feature a campground here that can only be accessed by boat.  

There are 20 lakeside villas with two- and three-bedroom units, for those who would like a slightly more lavish camping experience. For true campers, there are 59 standard campsites for RV or tent camping. Many of them are lakeside and include electric and water hookups. There are 25 tent-only camping sites, for those with more of a rustic camping style.


There is something for every type of camper in South Carolina, and their state park camping is top-notch. Plus, they have a climate that allows for year-round camping so you can explore this state anytime it is convenient. Make your reservation at one of several South Carolina campgrounds today!


For more camping ideas, check out A Beginners Guide to Grand Canyon Camping!


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Photo credits: southcarolinaparks.com, cprc.com, pixabay.com, and unsplash.com

Jen Boleshttps://www.exploremorefamilytravel.com
Jen is a culture-loving twin mom, obsessed with finding flight deals that dictate where her family will explore next! She started traveling internationally with her twins before they turned two and wants to give other families the confidence to travel far with their children. She is the owner and Chief Exploration Officer at Explore More Family Travel. When she's not planning a fabulous vacation, you can find her doing all the mom things like car pick up lines, cheering on the sidelines, and visiting local playgrounds.





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