Santee State Park is a little over an hour drive from Columbia, SC and Charleston, SC, making it easily accessible for many South Carolina families looking for a weekend camping adventure with biking, hiking, and swimming.
Though only a few miles from Interstate 95, the park feels remote and is quiet once you make your way to the visitor center and campgrounds.
We spent a few days at the camp during February on the way to Florida. Here are the personal details of our stay.
Below are some pictures of our time at the park, and after the pictures are some good things to know if you are planning your own trip to Santee State Park.
Things to Know If You’re Taking the Trip
The campground has scores of pull through and back in RV sites with electrical and water hookups for $16/night. No sewer hookup, but there is a dump station without additional fees.
The winter months are clearly the off-season, and we found plenty of room in the campground. If visiting in the summer, call ahead for reservations.
There are bathrooms and showers available at the center of each campground without additional fees.
In addition to RV and tent camping options, there are also small huts called rondettes for rent, some of which are built over the water. These are great options for families that want to visit the park for an extended stay yet don’t want to RV or tent camp.
There are numerous activities within the park, including a 7.5 mile mountain biking path, nature walks, a pier for viewing the lake and fishing, a playground, and a lake for boating and swimming.
We biked the mountain bike path until the rain turned us back towards home. In our short time on the trail we saw a dozen or more deer moving through the forest in a herd.
For rainy days, the park visitor center is full of DVDs and board games you can borrow.
If you decide you want to visit a different natural setting, the Congaree National Forest is a short drive to the north.
The marina beside the visitor center stores sells ice, drinks, and assorted sundries. The marina store was closed Monday and Tuesday during our off-season visit, so plan accordingly if you are visiting in the winter months.
There are a lot of snakes on the water’s edge, especially around all of the tree and limb debris crowding the banks. While some snakes aren’t venomous, there are Water Moccasins (aka Cottonmouths) present which are venomous.
The “mountain” in the 7.5 mile designated mountain bike trail is an overstatement. The trail is relatively flat, aside from some roots and sandy patches. A single speed beach cruiser might be a challenge on some short burst hills, but our 7 speed street cruiser bikes did just fine.
The park has a marina and a boat ramp if you have a boat in tow. And there are also kayaks, canoes, and paddleboards for rent, with guided tours available.
There is a Food Lion and all sorts of convenience stores and fast food restaurants at the I-95 exit, so you could purchase groceries when you arrive at the park or pick up a last minute item if you forgot anything at home.
The park services include laundry facilities, but they were out of order during our stay. The Laundromat in town was entirely too sketchy for me.
The county recreation department has a killer aquatic and recreation center. It operates seasonally and was closed when we were in town, but it looks amazing.
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