Camping is one activity that never loses its magic no matter what the terrain is. Some people take up camping as a hobby, while others can’t live without it. Depending on your luck, you may be in a location that allows you to explore a lot of different outdoor opportunities. Those living in cramped cities know how much effort they have to exert to be able to get out and breathe in some fresh air. South Carolina happens to be one of the best states to go camping in thanks to the multitude of locations and parks you can visit. Camping, in general, has a lot of benefits that can show you the way towards a healthier and more active lifestyle.
If you’re new to camping in South Carolina, you needn’t worry because we’ve got you covered with a guide of the 9 most important things that every camper in South Carolina should be aware of.
Benefits of Camping
While the benefits of camping can apply to almost anywhere you go camping, expect South Carolina to provide you with a full dose of these benefits. Unlike going to a resort or hotel, camping doesn’t necessarily involve strict timetables or schedules. You don’t need to be interrupted at all if you don’t want to. This plays an important role in reducing the ongoing stress in your life. A South Carolina camper can even opt to go to the most remote parks which ensures that their experience is personal and private. The first thing you’ll notice is how different the air smells and feels the further you get away from populated areas. Going from a crowded city like Charleston to a secluded park in South Carolina can create a 180-degree difference in how you feel.
If you’re used to a sedentary lifestyle, you’re in for a surprise when you go camping for the first time. There will be an adequate amount of physical exercise that you’ll notice yourself doing. You may find it a bit difficult at first, but as you get used to it, you’ll gladly welcome the change as it will augment your physical fitness along the way. Expect to do things like setting up a tent, gathering firewood, looking for resources, hiking, taking a swim, and many other activities that will require you to move your body at a more intense level than usual.
Sparking Some Fires
South Carolina reservations and parks are the best places for you to practice starting a fire because you’ll feel like you’re in a freezer after sunset. The coldest month is January, with temperatures ranging between 26 to 40 degrees. The first thing you’ll need is to learn how to start a proper campfire that can keep you warm; roasting marshmallows is an extra. A lot of seasoned campers prefer purchasing their firewood logs that are kiln-dried to stay lit and produce enough heat for long durations. The type of wood may vary according to various purposes but always opt for logs that have low moisture content. You can get creative as much as you like with the fire starters; a few crumbled papers and some kindling added to your firewood can get you light a fire up in no time.
Get Ready to Wear Your Swimsuit
Not all campers are familiar with the concept of camping next to the beach, but thanks to the unique location of certain areas in South Carolina like Edisto Beach, it’s a great experience. From walking by the shore next to seagulls to dipping your toes in cold waters, no shortage of experiences will persuade you to live your life in a tent and fishing in the morning for food. You can visit oceanfront campgrounds in Myrtle Beach to check out family-friendly resorts with all the amenities any camper can ask for, from miniature golf courses to fishing piers. Some campsites may even provide you with wi-fi and waterparks. It’s rare for a state to offer the fine balance that certain South Carolina locations provide when it comes to going to the beach and setting up a tent in the woods. If you’re not that experienced of a camper, you’ll find resorts that offer you the experience on a 5-star tray, but that’s a story for another day.
When it comes to camping it’s not uncommon for families to look for areas that are family-friendly for safe and fun experiences. Unless you’re a hardcore survivalist, you don’t want to sleep with one eye open to ensure that you’re safe. Fortunately, South Carolina has a lot of family-friendly camping locations that allow you to set up your RV or tent in safe territories, away from any potential danger. While these areas may not be as secluded as certain campers prefer them to be, having people around can make a trip more fun and safer. You can even pull a little educational tour out of your sleeve if you’re close to the famous Center of Birds of Prey to have your children get educated on what an untouched natural reservation looks like with rare birds flying from one branch to another.
Cooking in Advance
Depending on how seriously you take survival in the wild, but you can always opt for pre-cooked meals that can be easily done over a simple campfire without creating a mess. If you have an icebox; you can store some pre-packaged food for a couple of days, saving you a lot of trouble securing the food yourself. If you’d like to hunt your food yourself, there is always room to bring some vegetables and spices with you that can add some luxurious flavors to your meal. You need to ensure that you’re familiar with the hunting laws and seasons of South Carolina, in addition to having a valid hunting license. You can go for no-cook meals or mix all the ingredients you need in a box then store them in an air-tight container. Even a little pancake batter in a bottle can prove to be a delicious meal that you can enjoy while seeing the sun dawn.
Picking the Right Backpack
A commonly overlooked essential item that many campers may not give it the attention it deserves is the backpack. Thinking that any backpack will do the job is underestimating the punishment that it may receive. Whether you’re camping by a creek by the Edisto State Park or a lake in Hickory Knob State Park, you’ll want to make sure that your backpack allows you to move freely instead of making every step a dreadful experience. The concept of choosing a backpack is even more important if you’re a backpacker who likes to avoid carrying extra bags and cases around. You’ll want something that can hold your clothes, sleeping bag, tent, and other equipment, while still being easy to move around with and light. If you’re driving to the camping location, a small backpack can do the trick if you’re not planning on hiking for long distances.
Must-Do Hikes in South Carolina
Beside South Carolina’s delicious cuisine and its renowned Southern hospitality, there is nothing compared to its parks and preserves. There are a few spots that you should not miss while on your expedition. The underrated Northwest part of the Palmetto state is filled with great opportunities for hiking while witnessing nature’s beauty that manifest in its exquisite wilderness and enchanting rolling hills. Going camping in South Carolina while dismissing windows of opportunities for great outdoor spots that are perfect for exciting afternoon hikes is a huge loss. Here are some great hiking places to explore next time you are ready to get lost in the beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Jones Gap State Park
The majority of Carolina hikers get attracted to the Northern part and completely neglect the Mountain Bridge Wilderness area in Upstate South Carolina. There are 100-plus foot captivating waterfalls that can be found in the heart of a 1.5-mile mountain. The hike elevation is not for hiking beginners, yet you will find that reaching the top is worth every drop of sweat. If you nail the timing down, you can witness the sunset while catching glimpses of the Greenville of Paris Mountain.
If the 40,000-acre Mountain Bridge Wilderness Preserve failed to impress you, then the 373,000-acre Eastatoe Creek Heritage Preserve will surely do the trick. Old-growth legacy of hemlock trees or the magnificent Redwood of the East has once led to the destruction of the area which has pushed this heritage preserve to be closed only to primitive camping. For those who live looking for the next adrenaline rush, this place is the perfect go-to spot with the sense of danger that wraps this excellent summer trail, especially if you want to escape the unbearable heat.
Table Rock State Park
If you want to take it up a notch, then Pinnacle Mountain should be the next destination to consider with an elevation of more than 3400 feet above sea level. To not miss the tallest mountain in South Carolina, then you need to make sure to visit Pickens county. You might feel reluctant due to how long the hike would take. However, catching unsurpassed views of the iconic Table Rock Mountain while immersing yourself in the beauty of nature surrounding you and enjoying the rare tranquility will come to prove that the long-awaited pinnacle of the mountain was completely worth the trouble.
Going camping without calculating every move is a dangerous risk. Some elements might be easily forgotten in the preparation process; however, they can make or break your gateway trip. The first thing you must keep in mind is to always apply sunblock when you are outside, especially if you will be directly exposed to the sun’s harmful rays. This tip might seem like a given, but you will be surprised by the number of people who overlooked packing a suitable sunscreen for their skin with a strong SPF. Sunburns are not the only thing to worry about. Wearing sunblock, especially when you are spending the majority of time enjoying sun warmth on your skin is essential to reduce the risk of skin cancer.
Another thing to bear in mind while you are packing for your time in South Carolina is blocking out the bugs. These small creatures can easily get in your way and reduce the quality of your trip. Yet, there are a variety of options you can resort to to deflect flies, mosquitos, and ants. For starters, make sure that you pack at least two bottles of bug sprays to eliminate all flying bugs and protect yourself against fly and tick bites. If young ones are tagging along, then make sure that these products are safe to be used around them. You can also pack bug-repellent clothes and lightweight masks if you are heading for infested areas.
Preparing for the Unpredictable
If you have been to the South, then you must know how unpredictable the weather can be. A 100% sure “no chances of rain” can turn in a blink of an eye into heavy afternoon showers. While packing, depend on a certain layering system that helps you in becoming prepared for any mood swings the weather might throw. Start with light-weight layers for sweaty active mornings and build your way up to heavy layers for cold breezes. Regardless of what the weather might throw at you, coming up with a bullet-proof layering system will help you stay warm during temperature drops.
Going on a camping trip anywhere in the world can be either an exhilarating experience or a tranquil moment with one’s self. As a state, South Carolina offers balanced opportunities to all types of campers to truly explore their options. Whether you’re hitchhiking your way to the marshlands or by driving your RV to a campground, you can expect to enjoy your time if you know what you should be preparing for. You can always ask seasoned local campers about their recommendations for first-timers in South Carolina if you’d like to gather some condensed information about the various parks and campgrounds you can visit.