South Carolina May 31, 2017
9 Glorious Campgrounds In South Carolina Where No Reservation Is Required
Camping can open up a whole world of new opportunities for unplugging and getting outside to play. In days gone by, camping was considered a super affordable way to escape for a fun-filled yet relaxing family weekend. However, over the years, even the cost of a renting a campsite seems to have soared. That’s likely because campgrounds have begun to compete with each other by adding all sorts of amenities – and raising their prices to pay for them.
You won’t run into that issue at these affordable (some are actually FREE) campgrounds and campsites in South Carolina. What’s more, these nine glorious campsites don’t require a reservation. Sweet!
1. Fell Camp - Bradley
Primarily used as a hunt and equestrian camp, this campground's tent and camper sites are available on a first come, first serve basis. There are 52 campsites on 15 acres and and the camp serves as the trailhead for the 26+ mile Long Cane Horse Trail. The campground doesn't accept reservations and still offers some pretty great amenities for the low cost of camping here: water, picnic shelter, vault toilets, garbage cans, hitching posts for horses, and grass tent sites and camper parking. Find out more by calling the Long Cane Ranger District at (803) 637-5396, or by downloading the U.S. Forest Service info sheet
2. Elmwood Recreation Area - Jamestown
If you're looking for a place to disconnect, you'll likely find spotty service for your mobile devices at this campground. But that's good, right? Popular during deer and turkey season, this campground in the Francis Marion National Forest is located between McClellanville and Honey Hill in the middle of a pine and oak forest. This primitive campground has spigot water and vault toilets. Get more information by calling the Francis Marion Ranger District in Huger at (843) 336-3248. Or, you can
to download the info sheet from the U.S. Forest Service.
3. Halfway Creek Campground - Swamp Fox Passage of the Palmetto Trail
As you can see by the photo below, Halfway Creek is a "leave nothing behind" primitive site. You can scarcely tell anyone has even been in this camp site.
Hit the trail to get to this hike-in-only campsite along the Palmetto Trail. The primitive campsite is located on the longest passage of the Palmetto Trail. Being the longest, it has several designated hike-in sites including this one. However, we found a nearby road that makes this primitive site pretty accessible if you want to drive and walk a short distance into the site. You'll need to bring everything along because there's no drinking water or facilities.
Here's a link
to more information about the Swamp Fox Passage of the Palmetto Trail. And
here's a link
to the Google map showing the access road nearby.
4. Brasstown Falls - Westminster
The U.S. Forest Service Southern Region lists a primitive campsite located at the top of Brasstown Falls. It's a tent-only hike-in site that's free and available on a first come, first serve basis. You'll find more information, including explicit directions, on page 2 of the U.S. Forest Service info sheet
at this link
5. Honey Hill Recreation Area - Jamestown
Free camping? Yes, please. But be aware there's a 14-day max that you can stay for free here. Honey Hill dishes up a lot for free, including toilets, grills and picnic tables - and plenty of shade. You'll find more information
on the U.S. Forest Service website or at the bottom of
this info sheet
from the U.S. Forest Service. Honey Hill Recreation Area is located at 3533 French Santee Rd, Jamestown, SC 29453.
6. Brick House Campground - Whitmire
This somewhat primitive campground is located in the Sumter National Forest and offers trails perfect for hiking and biking. Pack up the kids and go "off-grid" for the weekend here, where your biggest amenities will include a picnic table, a grill and a post to hold your lantern. Find out more including detailed directions, by downloading
very informative 2-page info sheet from the U.S. Forest Service. There's a small fee for camping at this campground.
7. Nicholson Creek - Swamp Fox Passage, Palmetto Trail
The Swamp Fox Passage of the Palmetto Trail is 47 miles long. It's a long and enjoyable hike as long as you don't bring a lot of stuff but make sure you're armed for mosquitos and snakes. There are several back country hike-in-only primitive sites along the trail. Nicholson Creek is among them. For more information about the Swamp Fox Passage of the Palmetto Trail,
See this link
. There are no facilities or drinking water at Nicholson Creek.
8. Burrell's Ford - Mountain Rest
The beautiful Chattooga River is a perfect place to camp! The Burrells Ford campground is open all year and camping there doesn't cost a cent. Your amenities include a nice old-fashioned pit toilet and a picnic table. The campground is .25 mile from the Chattooga River, and you can even walk in and camp along the river as long as you're the required 50-feet from the water. More information can be found
at this link
and map to the campground can be found
9. Lick Fork Lake Recreation Area - near Edgefield
The beautiful Lick Fork Lake area is a hidden gem in the Palmetto State. The campsites are on a first come, first serve basis and only cost $7 per night. Note, there's a 14 night max stay allowed. The U.S. Forest Service website says there's currently no drinking or running water of any kind at the campground so that may pose an issue if you don't bring your own. The park offers vault toilets, fire rings, showers (when the water is working) and garbage cans. This is a seasonal campground that's open from May 1 through Nov. 15. No lifeguards are provided for lake swimmer's safety. More information, including explicit directions for getting there can be found on
this downloadable document
from the U.S. Forest Servivce. Or you can call the Long Cane Ranger District office in Edgefield at (803) 637-5396.
South Carolina has some great spots to unplug and go camping for the weekend. This list has a lot of options and hopefully you found one that you really love. If not, then you can always check out others that are listed
here on the U.S. Forest Service website.
If you love to camp, then where’s your favorite South Carolina campground? We’d love to know in our comments.
Prefer to know you have reservations and a few more amenities when you camp? Check out these
beachside campgrounds in South Carolina.