South Carolina December 31, 2019
Road Trip To 8 Of South Carolina’s National Parks For A Trip Through History
South Carolina’s national park units number in the double digits and include battlefields, forests, and one designated park. But there’s a common thread binding at least eight of them:
history. Load up a pack with the essentials, gas up the car, and prepare to embark on a scenic tour to Revolutionary War and Civil War sites, battlefields, forts, a forest, and more. In the short period of just one day, visit eight of the most historically significant national park units in South Carolina.
The road trip begins in Blacksburg and ends at the newest national park unit in the state: the Reconstruction Era National Historic Park which includes the very site where approximately 3,000 newly freed slaves gathered to hear the reading of the Emancipation Proclamation.
To guide your way on this road trip, you can simply pull up the Google map seen above by clicking
. See the list below for more information on each national park on the road trip.
1. Kings Mountain National Military Park
What better place to begin a road trip about history, than at the site of the first major patriot victory (October 7, 1780) after Charleston was invaded by the British in May of 1780? Stop by the visitor's center, hike along the patriot lines on the 1.5-mile historic trail, and visit the grave of one of the fallen officers of the British army. The park is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from sunrise to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is free.
Address: 2625 Park Rd, Blacksburg, SC 29702
2. Cowpens National Battlefield
Another pivotal battle during the American Revolution was fought (and won) at the historic battlefield location of Cowpens. Walk in the footsteps of the soldiers that fought and died during the battle and then visit the visitors center. Three major events take place at Cowpens each year in January, July, and October. The park is open year round from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free.
Address: 4001 Chesnee Hwy, Gaffney, SC 29341
3. Ninety Six National Historic Site
Ninety Six was a settlement founded in the early 1700s in the backwoods of South Carolina. It's preserved in this park because it became the site of the first land battle of the American Revolution. It was the British loyalists (of whom there were many living among the community) that emerged the victor of this significant conflict. After the three-day battle, Ninety Six became a stronghold for the loyalists. Hike the one-mile trail to visit the site of Star Fort, make a stop at the visitor's center to see historical artifacts found at the site, and walk down old Island Ford Road, an original Colonial road that passes through the park. It's free to visit Ninety Six National Historic Site. The visitor's center is closed on Monday and Tuesday, but the park is open seven days per week from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Address: 1103 SC-248, Ninety Six, SC 29666
4. Congaree National Park
The only designated National Park in the Palmetto State is a must-visit. Stroll along pathways among ancient trees in the largest old-growth bottomland hardwood forest in the Southeastern U.S. Or, paddle through a 15-mile canoe trail leading through the cypress swamp. As far as national parks go, Congaree is every bit as lovely as the other 62 designated parks throughout the country. Be sure to stop by the visitor center for a trail map, and pack some bug spray in warmer months. Admission is free. The park is open 24 hours per day all year long.
Address: 100 National Park Rd, Hopkins, SC 29061
5. Charles Pinckney National Historic Site
Visit the former home site of one of the drafters of the American Constitution. Charles Pinckney not only signed the Constitution, but also went on to hold three terms (non-consecutive) as the Governor of South Carolina, as well as serving in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. The site is only a small a portion of what remains of his sprawling estate, which was mostly converted into the nearby Snee Farm housing development. Admission is free. It's open Wednesday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and closed on Monday and Tuesday.
Address: 1254 Long Point Rd, Mt Pleasant, SC 29464
6. Fort Moultrie
Take the scenic drive over the causeway to beautiful Sullivans Island to visit Fort Moultrie, a National Historical Park on the site where forts provided protection for the Charleston harbor dating all the way back to the British occupation in 1780. The present structure is much newer, of course, but still deserving of a visit to learn about the fascinating history. Stop by the visitor's center and museum and take a guided or self-guided tour of Fort Moultrie. From the top, take note of the brick fortress in the harbor. Fort Sumter is the next stop on this national park units road trip!
Address: 1214 Middle St, Sullivan's Island, SC 29482
7. Fort Sumter National Monument
Take a short ferry ride over to explore Fort Sumter, a sea fort famous for its role in the American Civil War. Walk through the remains of the officer's quarters, see the damage, first-hand, that was the result of cannonballs being fired upon the fort and striking both the exterior and the interior. Visitors can take a guided tour, or wander freely throughout the space before catching the ferry back to Charleston. The boat departure schedule can be seen
at this link
Tours depart from this Address: 340 Concord St, Charleston, SC 29401
8. Reconstruction Era National Historic Site
During the period of Reconstruction, millions of newly freed slaves were beginning to integrate within society. This new national park unit was established in 2017 in the Beaufort area. Comprised of more than just one location, it focuses on preserving several historical sites including the Penn Center (the first all African American school for newly freed slaves), a church, firehouse, and the site at Port Royal where a gathering of nearly 3,000 newly freed slaves listened to the reading of the Emancipation Proclamation. To learn more about the sites included in the newly opened Reconstruction Era National Historic Site, make the Visitors Center in Beaufort your first stop.
Visitor Center Address: 706 Craven St, Beaufort, SC 29902
Penn Center Address: 16 Penn Center Cir E, St Helena Island, SC 29920
Did you know South Carolina is home to so many history-related National Park Service units? How many have you already explored? For more of South Carolina’s fascinating history, take a peek at these
12 random facts about South Carolina that you may not already know are true. Address: 2625 Park Rd, Blacksburg, SC 29702, USA Address: 4001 Chesnee Hwy, Gaffney, SC 29341, USA Address: 1103 SC-248, Ninety Six, SC 29666, USA Address: 100 National Park Rd, Hopkins, SC 29061, USA Address: 1254 Long Point Rd, Mt Pleasant, SC 29464, USA Address: 1214 Middle St, Sullivan's Island, SC 29482, USA Address: 340 Concord St, Charleston, SC 29401, USA Address: 706 Craven St, Beaufort, SC 29902, USA
Address: 16 Penn Center Cir E, St Helena Island, SC 29920, USA