Outdoor

Marie McAden

SOUTH CAROLINA INSIDER

Where in South Carolina can we take our RV and camp and be able to do bike riding close by (not mountain biking, more rails to trails)? - CJD, Townville
Dreher Island State Park is a great option. It features two lakefront camping areas with 97 paved sites, many of them offering scenic views of Lake Murray. Just a short drive away is the Palmetto Trail’s Peak to Prosperity Passage, an 11.5-miles rails-to-trails pathway featuring 18 beautifully restored and converted railroad trestle, offering stunning views of the areas rivers and streams.

You also would enjoy Paris Mountain State Park in Greenville. It offers 39 RV sites. Just down the road is the Swamp Rabbit Trail, a 13.5-mile asphalt paved rails-to-trails pathway that runs from Greenville to Travelers Rest. Along the way, it passes restaurants, shops, Furman University and beautiful Falls Park and Cleveland Park.
 
My fiancé and I want to go camping at the beach soon. Any suggestions? - Emily, Georgia
I can give you four really good ones: Myrtle Beach State Park, Huntington Beach State Park, Edisto Beach State Park and Hunting Island State Park outside of Beaufort.

All four offer campsites with water and electrical hookups and can accommodate RVs up to 40 feet. Some of the parks have waterfront sites and cabins for rental. Each campground is convenient to restrooms with hot showers. Have fun!
 
Where can I ride my bicycle in South Carolina? Are there any dedicated bikeways? - Joyce, Ithaca, N.Y.
Oh yes! In fact, later this spring, I’ll be writing a story about bicycling in South Carolina. Five cities in the state — Charleston, Spartanburg, Greenville, Columbia and Hilton Head Island — have been designated “Bicycle Friendly Communities” by the League of American Bicyclists.

Hilton Head Island, which boasts more than 100 miles of paved trails, was honored with a silver award — one of only a handful of cities in the Southeast to receive the distinction. On this 12-mile long island, you can ride virtually anywhere on bike. The pathway system is so safe and convenient, visitors often park their cars upon arriving at their condo or hotel and spend the rest of their vacation pedaling to the beach, parks, restaurants and shops.

The Upstate also has a fantastic asphalt path known as the Swamp Rabbit Trail, which runs 13.5-miles from Travelers Rest to Greenville. It passes through two of Greenville’s most beautiful green spaces — Falls Park and Cleveland Park.

If you enjoy off-road biking, the Palmetto Trail offers several great options, including the Awendaw Passage about 30 miles north of Charleston. The single-track trail follows Awendaw Creek through a maritime forest. Be sure to stop and enjoy the sweeping vistas of the salt marsh!
 
Would love to go to a beach that is not tourist laden. I do not play golf, and like nature, but cannot hike. - Kathy, New Hampshire
South Carolina has several secluded beach communities that fit the bill. Less than 20 miles east of Beaufort is Fripp Island, a wildlife sanctuary that’s home to deer, alligators, dolphins and more than 175 species of birds. You’ll also have 3.5 miles of uncrowded, unspoiled beaches to enjoy.

Closer to Charleston is Seabrook Island, offering 2,000 acres of lush forest, beautiful salt marshes and some of the longest, widest and most pristine beaches in South Carolina’s Lowcountry.

While only half an hour from Myrtle Beach, Litchfield Beach is a world away from the popular family vacation destination. It offers a natural, quiet and reserved area to kick back and relax.

Just up the road is Pawleys Island, proudly referred to by residents as “arrogantly shabby”. Best known for its rope hammocks, this resort has a laid back attitude befitting its claim to fame.

And then there’s Edisto Island, a favorite vacation spot of state residents. If you enjoy nature, you’ll love Edisto Beach State Park, featuring a series of handicapped-friendly trails that wind through a maritime forest of live oaks and palmetto trees. The park also features an environmental education center with exhibits that highlight the natural history of the island and the surrounding ACE Basin.
 
I’m looking for pet-friendly, safe lodgings. I will be visiting with my pooch, a Doberman. It will just be us two girls alone, so I want somewhere safe, along the coast. I’m aiming for the Lowcountry. - Tiz and Tali, Montreal
I think you and Tali would love Hilton Head Island. This time of year, dogs are allowed on the beach any time of the day, but are required to be on a leash between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Try the less crowded Alder Lane Beach Access or Burkes Beach. She’ll have plenty of sandy shores to roam.

Be sure to check out Best Friends Dog Park inside Chapin Park. The park features separate fenced areas for small and large dogs, doggie water fountains and benches shaded by mature trees.

Other great dog-walking venues include Sea Pines Forest Preserve and Newhall Audubon Nature Preserve.

Several restaurants also welcome well-behaved pets. They included Skillets Grill & Café and Bomboras Grille in Coligny Plaza, Black Martin Bayside Grill at Palmetto Bay Marina, Bistro 17 at Shelter Cove Marina and Main Street Café and Pub.