Plan your Visit to
Congaree National Park
See the Best of South Carolina
Its amazing foliage during the fall along with costal location make it a huge draw for travelers the world over, but apart from all of this, the state has one of the newest national parks to the registry. Congaree National Park has only been a part of the national park scene since 2014, but in that time, it has grossed over 100,000 visitors per year to this 26,276-acre area and people come from all over for the chance to see everything this park has to offer.
Take a Hike
A trip to a national park would not be complete without taking advantage of a hike through the area and at Congaree National Park that means that you can hike with a guide or without one. The entire park is covered with hiking trails that are well maintained to keep visitors from having to wade through swampy wet areas. Most of the trails, with the exception of Boardwalk Loop Trail are well marked so you need not worry about getting lost.
Safety is always the number one concern on any hike through Congaree National Park. Never hike alone and always let others know where you are going and when you expect to return. It is possible to get lost within Congaree National Park as there are quite a few older roads that are found in the park. Bring plenty of water with you on any hiking trip, along with a compass and a flash light just in case the sun goes down before you find your way back to your campsite. Wildlife is found in the park and in this part of the country, that means snakes. Watch the ground as you walk to keep from disturbing the wild snakes that may be in your path and never pick up any snake. This is their home and some of these creatures are quite poisonous.
Congaree National Park is not just a land locked area. The low-lying area is prone to flooding. That may not seem like a good thing, but during the rainy months the creeks including Cedar Creek are a great place to canoe. Canoe trips are fun for the whole family and even if you are a little apprehensive about a solo canoeing, you can ask a ranger for a guided tour. The rangers of the park regularly take visitors on tours of the creeks as long as the number of staff allows for the trip. When you visit, simply as at the visitor’s center to see if any rangers might be available for one of these excursions.
The trips require that at least one adult be present in each canoe and no one under the age of 6 is allowed to participate. All participants have to know how to swim without help and are required to have a flotation device. Necessities for the trip include sunscreen for protection against the hot South Carolina sun and appropriate clothing. Clothes should be appropriate for the current weather conditions and water should always be brought along for the journey. The park rangers recommend that each person within the group have at the very least 1 liter of water per person along with any snacks that you may want depending on how long the tour is to last. Insect repellent is also recommended as the mosquitos in this part of the country can be quite vicious during the hot summer months.
Congaree National Park is among the few national parks that not only allow fishing, but encourage it. Those that wish to catch their food have to have a valid South Carolina fishing license and knowledge of the state’s fishing regulations. Bait is regulated to non-intrusive forms and therefore new and unfamiliar bait is prohibited. Fishing is restricted only at Weston Lake. All other creeks, rivers, and lakes are able to be fished.
Things to Know
You will be pleased to know that entrance fees are non-existent at Congaree National Park. You will however have to pay a camping fee if you want to enjoy the comforts of one of the two campgrounds within the park. Longleaf Campground offers tent sites for $10 per night and Bluff Campground offers sites for the low price of $5. If you choose to enjoy the true wilderness of backcountry camping you will not have to pay anything, however you will have to get a backcountry camping permit from the visitor’s center before venturing into the woods. When camping anywhere within Congaree National Park fires are only permitted within fire rings and when camping adopt the attitude of no trace camping to ensure that the park stays in order for future visitors.