State Parks Columbia SC

6 State Parks Near Columbia SC: Explore the natural beauty of South Carolina

South Carolina is blessed with stunning natural landscapes and a plethora of outdoor activities for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers. Located near Columbia, SC, there are six state parks that offer a remarkable experience for visitors of all ages. Whether you’re a fan of hiking through scenic trails, camping under the stars, or simply enjoying a picnic surrounded by nature, these state parks have something for everyone.

Outdoor Activities:

From hiking trails that lead to breathtaking vistas to serene camping areas, these state parks provide endless opportunities for outdoor adventure.

Picnic Areas:

Enjoy quality time with your family and friends in the designated picnic areas while immersing yourself in the beauty of nature.

Wildlife Watching:

Observe the fascinating wildlife that calls these parks home and marvel at the diversity of species that thrive in their natural habitats.

Water Activities:

Experience the joy of boating, swimming, or fishing in the crystal-clear waters of lakes and rivers that grace these state parks.

Park Amenities:

Restrooms, visitor centers, and other park facilities ensure convenience while exploring the natural wonders of these state parks.

Key Takeaways:

  • South Carolina offers six state parks near Columbia with a diverse range of outdoor activities for nature lovers.
  • These state parks provide opportunities for hiking, camping, picnicking, wildlife watching, and engaging in water activities.
  • Visitors can enjoy the park amenities such as restrooms and visitor centers while exploring the natural beauty.
  • The parks offer breathtaking vistas, serene camping areas, and designated picnic spots for quality family time.
  • Observe the diverse wildlife and indulge in boating, swimming, or fishing in the lakes and rivers within the parks.

Hunting Island State Park

Located on St Helena Island, Hunting Island State Park is a true gem with its pristine beaches and a historic lighthouse. The island stands as one of the last undeveloped Sea Islands in the Lowcountry. One of the park’s unique features is the presence of loggerhead turtle nests, with volunteers actively working to protect and monitor them during nesting season. Visitors can enjoy beach vibes, take a tour of the historic lighthouse, and explore the scenic trails that wind through the park’s natural beauty.

Key Features Activities Amenities
Pristine beaches Beachcombing Picnic areas
Historic lighthouse Hiking Campgrounds
Loggerhead turtle nests Birdwatching Gift shop

Hunting Island State Park

Table Rock State Park

Table Rock State Park, located in Pickens, SC, is a nature lover’s paradise offering stunning mountain vistas and an array of outdoor adventure opportunities. Whether you’re seeking a challenging hike, breathtaking views, or a refreshing swim, this park has it all.

One of the highlights is the renowned Table Rock Trail that takes hikers to the summit of Table Rock Mountain. The trail rewards adventurers with panoramic views of the surrounding area and is particularly popular for its awe-inspiring sunset vistas. It’s a must-explore for outdoor enthusiasts seeking breathtaking sights and a rewarding hiking experience.

If you’re looking to beat the summer heat, Table Rock State Park has a refreshing surprise: a natural swimming hole. This hidden gem is open to visitors during the summer months, providing the perfect spot to cool off and relax in the midst of the park’s natural beauty.

Table Rock State Park

In addition to its scenic beauty, Table Rock State Park offers a range of recreational amenities. Whether you’re picnicking with family, birdwatching, or simply enjoying a leisurely stroll along the park’s trails, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

Table Rock State Park in Pickens, SC is the perfect destination for outdoor enthusiasts seeking both natural splendor and adventure. Immerse yourself in the breathtaking mountain vistas and explore the Table Rock Trail for an unforgettable experience.

Jones Gap State Park

Nestled in the scenic mountains of Marietta, SC, Jones Gap State Park is a go-to destination for nature lovers. When joined with Caesars Head State Park, it creates the Mountain Bridge Wilderness Area, spanning 17,000 acres of wilderness. The park is known for its scenic trails that connect with the Foothills Trail and Palmetto Trail, providing hikers with endless exploration opportunities. Trout fishing along the Middle Saluda River is also a popular activity for visitors. With its pristine beauty and abundant wildlife, Jones Gap State Park is a nature lover’s paradise.

Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or just looking for a peaceful stroll through nature, Jones Gap State Park offers a variety of scenic trails to choose from. The park’s trails wind through dense forests, alongside babbling creeks, and offer stunning views of the surrounding mountains. From easy, family-friendly hikes to more challenging treks, there’s something for every level of hiker.

Scenic Trails

One of the highlights of Jones Gap State Park is its extensive trail system. The park features over 30 miles of well-maintained trails, ranging from short nature walks to strenuous hikes. Whether you’re seeking a leisurely stroll or a challenging adventure, you can find the perfect trail to suit your needs.

  • The Jones Gap Trail is a popular choice for visitors, offering a moderate 5-mile roundtrip hike that takes you through lush forests, past cascading waterfalls, and along the crystal-clear Middle Saluda River.
  • The Rainbow Falls Trail is a challenging 2.2-mile hike that rewards hikers with breathtaking views of the 100-foot Rainbow Falls, one of the most impressive waterfalls in South Carolina.
  • The Rim of the Gap Trail is a strenuous 8-mile loop that takes hikers to the park’s highest elevations and offers stunning panoramic views of the surrounding mountains.

Trout Fishing

If you’re a fishing enthusiast, Jones Gap State Park is a dream come true. The park is renowned for its trout fishing opportunities in the Middle Saluda River, one of the state’s premier trout streams. Anglers can try their luck catching rainbow, brown, and brook trout while enjoying the serenity of the river and the surrounding wilderness.

Dreher Island State Park

Located in Prosperity, SC, Dreher Island State Park is a hidden paradise for camping enthusiasts. The park offers lakefront camping sites and park villas, providing visitors with an opportunity to immerse themselves in the tranquil beauty of the surrounding nature.

Dreher Island State Park

Dreher Island State Park is also known for hosting major national fishing tournaments, making it an ideal destination for fishing enthusiasts. Whether you’re a seasoned angler or just enjoy spending a peaceful day by the water, the park’s pristine lakes offer a rewarding fishing experience.

With its peaceful ambiance and stunning views of the lake, Dreher Island State Park is the perfect place to unwind and reconnect with nature. Whether you’re exploring the scenic trails, enjoying a picnic by the water, or simply relaxing by your campsite, the park offers a range of activities for all nature lovers.

Oconee State Park

Oconee State Park, located in Mountain Rest, SC, offers a unique and memorable experience for visitors. Built during the Great Depression by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in the 1930s, the park is a historical treasure that showcases the craftsmanship and dedication of its creators. Today, visitors can explore the cabins, superintendent’s residence, and other structures that have earned a spot on the National Register of Historic Places.

But Oconee State Park is not just a place for history enthusiasts. It also boasts stunning natural beauty that attracts outdoor enthusiasts from all over. One of the park’s highlights is the Hidden Falls Trail, a 4.8-mile route that leads visitors to a beautiful waterfall. Along the trail, hikers can immerse themselves in the serene surroundings, surrounded by lush vegetation and the soothing sound of cascading water. This hidden gem is a favorite among visitors and provides a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Whether you’re interested in history, hiking, or simply enjoying the great outdoors, Oconee State Park has something for everyone. Come and explore the rich history and natural beauty that make this park a true gem in the Mountain Rest area.

Facilities Activities Visitor Information
Cabins Hiking Address: 624 State Park Rd, Mountain Rest, SC 29664
Superintendent’s Residence Picnicking Phone: (864) 638-5353
Bathhouses Camping Website:
Playground Fishing Hours: Dawn to dusk

Croft State Park

Discover the natural beauty and recreational opportunities of Croft State Park in Spartanburg, South Carolina. As an equestrian enthusiast, you’ll be thrilled to explore over 20 miles of scenic trails specifically designed for horseback riding. Immerse yourself in the serene surroundings as you embark on a memorable equestrian adventure.

Camping enthusiasts will also find their slice of paradise at Croft State Park. With 50 campsites available for both RV and tent camping, you can experience the tranquility of nature firsthand. Set up your campsite and wake up to the sounds of birds chirping and the gentle rustling of trees.

Whether you’re an experienced rider looking to explore the park’s scenic trails or a family seeking a peaceful camping getaway, Croft State Park offers something for everyone. Come and experience the beauty and serenity of this hidden gem in Spartanburg, South Carolina.


Are the state parks near Columbia, SC family-friendly?

Yes, all the state parks mentioned in this guide are family-friendly and offer a range of activities suitable for visitors of all ages.

Can I go camping at these state parks?

Yes, all the state parks mentioned in this guide offer camping facilities. Whether you prefer tent camping or RV camping, you’ll find suitable options.

Are there hiking trails in these state parks?

Absolutely! Each state park mentioned in this guide features scenic hiking trails that allow you to explore the natural beauty of South Carolina.

Can I have a picnic at these state parks?

Yes, all the state parks offer designated picnic areas where you can enjoy a meal surrounded by nature.

Is wildlife watching possible at these state parks?

Yes, these state parks are home to a variety of wildlife. You may spot birds, turtles, deer, and other animals during your visit.

What water activities are available at these state parks?

Some of the state parks mentioned in this guide offer opportunities for swimming, fishing, and even water sports like kayaking and canoeing.

What amenities can I expect at these state parks?

The state parks offer amenities such as restrooms, picnic areas, camping facilities, visitor centers, and in some cases, historic sites to explore.

Where can I find visitor information for these state parks?

Each state park has its own official website where you can find detailed visitor information, including park hours, fees, and any special regulations or events.

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