Drop Your Line in Barnwell State Park’s Old Fishin’ Hole

By:Marie McAden

Date:3/5/2015

Break away from your digital devices and enjoy a day of low-tech fun at Barnwell State Park in Blackville. One of 16 South Carolina parks built by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) during the Great Depression, this 307-acre coastal plains retreat is as enjoyable today as it was 80 years ago.

Instead of blue light from your electronic screen, take in blue skies and fresh air. The park offers three small lakes, a fishing pier, a 1.5-mile interpretive trail and lots of wide-open space to toss a Frisbee or stretch out on a blanket.

For $5 you can rent a boat for an hour and paddle around the largest of the three lakes. Or venture into the woods on the Dogwood Trail, an easy loop that winds around two of the park’s lakes. Along the way, you’ll cross boardwalks that take you through wetlands thick with yellow jessamine, wild orchids, hollies and poplars.

But the big draw here is the fishing. A park office bulletin board full of photos of anglers and their catches serves as a testament to the fine fishing the lakes offer. Among the featured species are largemouth bass, crappie, bluegill bream and catfish.

Don’t have a rod? No problem. You can borrow all the tackle you’ll need at the park office. They even have live worms for sale. Just be sure to bring your South Carolina fishing license.

If you’re looking to inspire your competitive side, you can check out volleyballs and Frisbees at the park office.

If you visit in the summer, bring your swimsuit. From Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day, visitors are welcome to cool off in the main lake. While the swimming area is cordoned off, there’s no lifeguard on duty.

Before you head home, be sure to take a look at the handiwork of the CCC boys. The tiered spillway, two of the picnic shelters and the bathhouse are among the historic structures that remain today.

The park also features 25 campsites and five fully furnished “roundette” cabins. 

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