For some people, camping means pulling a fully loaded RV into site complete with hookups and wifi. Others prefer to pitch a tent on the shore of a quiet lakeside. Columbia offers both kinds of camping, and everything in between. Jonathan Manchester, a ranger at Congaree National Park, loves the secret campsites. “When the river is low, a sandbar will appear,” he says. “It’s a beautiful place to camp that’s really unique.” Chances are you’ll have it to yourself, too, since reaching the tiny oasis requires a five-mile hike into the park’s backcountry. There are also two close-in campgrounds; the Bluff sites surround a fire ring that is the only place in the park where an open fire is permitted.
For a similar experience, without all the work, reserve one of the lakeside campsites at Dreher Island State Park, which are open to both RV’s and tents and have easy access to hot showers and restrooms. Sesquicentennial State Park also provides campsites for tents and RVs; campers can keep cool at the adjacent splash pad. Both parks are pet-friendly and offer hiking, paddling, boating and fishing. Swimming is permitted at Dreher Island.
Set on 2,600 acres of private land, Adventure World’s campground is open to both tent and RV campers and is surrounded by 100 miles of trails, bogs, rock crawls and track built especially for dirt bikes, ATV’s and UTV’s. Vehicle rentals are also available.