8 Best National Parks To Visit In South Carolina

Ninety Six
Photo: zrfphoto/Getty Images

When you're looking for a fun trip that the whole family can get excited about, visiting a national park is always a good bet. These destinations offer lots of reasons to include them on your itinerary, including plenty of outdoor attractions plus fresh air, learning opportunities, and room to roam. We've rounded up the best national parks in South Carolina to inspire your next trip to the Palmetto State. Whether you're looking for trails to hike, historical info to absorb, or picnic spots where you can sit awhile, there's a spot on this list for you. This is just an introduction to South Carolina's parks, and you can learn more from the National Park Service. Read on to see why these South Carolina national parks are well worth a visit this season.

01 of 08

Congaree National Park

Congaree National Park
Craig Lovell/Getty Images

Hopkins, South Carolina

Those who love spotting wildlife will enjoy a trip to Congaree National Park. The National Park Service explains that "astonishing biodiversity exists in Congaree National Park, the largest intact expanse of old growth bottomland hardwood forest remaining in the southeastern United States." There, you'll find rivers including the Congaree and Wateree, as well as opportunities for camping, fishing, and paddling canoes and kayaks.

02 of 08

Cowpens National Battlefield

zrfphoto/Getty Images

Chesnee, South Carolina

The historical significance of Cowpens National Battlefield dates to the American Revolution when a battle was fought here. According to the National Park Service, "A pasturing area at the time of the battle, this Revolutionary War site commemorates the place where Daniel Morgan and his army turned the flanks of Banastre Tarleton's British army. This classic military tactic, known as a double envelopment, was one of only a few in history." You can find videos of past guided walks and the history of the 845-acre park online.

03 of 08

Fort Sumter and Fort Moultrie National Historical Park

Fort Moultrie
traveler1116/Getty Images

Charleston, South Carolina

When you visit Fort Sumter and Fort Moultrie, you can learn about the American Revolution and the Civil War through tours, exhibits, and the resources available on the grounds and in The Fort Sumter Visitor Education Center at Liberty Square. You can reach Fort Sumter, an island in Charleston Harbor, by ferry, while Fort Moultrie is located on Sullivan's Island.

04 of 08

Kings Mountain National Military Park

Kings Mountain
zrfphoto/Getty Images

Blacksburg, South Carolina

Kings Mountain National Military Park commemorates an important battle of the American Revolution. The National Park Service describes it, saying, "The battle of Kings Mountain, fought October 7th, 1780, was an important American victory during the Revolutionary War. The battle was the first major patriot victory to occur after the British invasion of Charleston, SC in May 1780." You can take hikes through the park during the day and see an array of the plant and animal life that calls the park home.

05 of 08

Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail

Westend61/Getty Images

Blacksburg, South Carolina

This historic trail stretches across four states. The Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail runs 330 miles through Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, and South Carolina, and according to the National Park Service, it "traces the route used by patriot militia during the pivotal Kings Mountain campaign of 1780." Set out on mapped highways to follow the route, or walk some of the 87 miles of walking trails to see the sights. The South Carolina stretch runs through Kings Mountain, a park near Blacksburg, South Carolina, and you can find maps of the area available online.

06 of 08

Charles Pinckney National Historic Site

Charles Pinckney National Historic Site
Mike Copeland/Getty Images

Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina

This historic site examines the life of Charles Pinckney and preserves Snee Farm, one of the plantations he owned in the Charleston area. Visitors can learn about the site's history and the lives of the African people he enslaved through the site's interpretive signage, educational exhibits, and films. According to the National Park Service, "Congress established Charles Pinckney National Historic Site in 1988 to preserve the site of Pinckney's former home […], and to interpret his life, the lives of Snee Farm's free and enslaved inhabitants, and the early history of the United States." The site is also part of the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor, which, according to the NPS, "preserves and interprets the unique local culture of descendants of enslaved Africans."

07 of 08

Ninety Six National Historic Site

Ninety Six
zrfphoto/Getty Images

Ninety Six, South Carolina

Visit the Ninety Six National Historic Site in South Carolina's Piedmont region to learn about the 18th-century history of the Palmetto State. The programming explores the original frontier settlement that was established here—which included an earthen star-shaped fort—as well as the South's first land battle during the Revolutionary War. According to the National Park Service, "The unusual name [of the town] was given by Charleston traders in the early 1700's because they thought it was the estimated remaining number of miles from here to the Cherokee village of Keowee in the upper South Carolina foothills."

08 of 08

Reconstruction Era National Historical Park

A living historian at Reconstruction Era National Historical Park

NPS Photo

Beaufort County, South Carolina

Visit this historic site to learn about the years after the Civil War, as the US worked to integrate newly freed enslaved people into society. Reconstruction Era National Historical Park is made up of four locations that were important to this time of rebuilding in the South, such as the site of one of the first schools for formerly enslaved people and Brick Baptist Church, which is still active today. Guided tours and special events teach about the area’s people and places during this time, and visitors can also enjoy nature trails and wildlife viewing.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles