Get Your Free 2022 Vacation Guide

Start planning your ultimate South Carolina adventure with a free copy of the 2022 Vacation Guide. Request your free copy, view the guide online or download a PDF version below.

Vacation Guide Cover
View Our Other Guides

Discover Native American History at South Carolina State Parks

Page Ivey Page Ivey
Discover writers share all of the places, activities and adventure that South Carolina has to offer. Read more from some of South Carolina’s locals and discover what’s happening in the Palmetto State.
More from "Page Ivey"
Native American dancers entertain children at Charles Towne Landing
Charles Towne Landing brings the historic roots of South Carolina's birthplace to life.

South Carolina has a rich Native American history with at least 29 distinct groups of American Indians having lived here through the centuries.

The many ancient American Indian names that denote our rivers, cities and places are a testament to the presence of various tribes: Pee Dee, Waccamaw, Ashepoo, Combahee, Edisto and Catawba - South Carolina's only federally recognized tribe. South Carolina was once home to the Cherokee and Waxhaw, as well.

You can see and experience parts of that history at several South Carolina state parks. Here are a few suggestions to get you started:

 

Statues of Native American and settlers at Charles Towne
This exhibit at Charles Towne Landing's Visitors Center depicts the Cassique of Kiawah welcoming a white settler.

Charles Towne Landing

The first English settlement in South Carolina naturally came in close contact with the Native Americans already living here. Charles Towne Landing provides tours, exhibits, living history demonstrations and hands-on activities to help visitors understand the experience of settlers and Native Americans trying to coexist.

Edisto Beach State Park

The Spanish Mount Shell Midden Site at Edisto Beach State Park dates back about 4,000 years. One key feature is a 12-foot high circle of shells that could have been part of a ceremonial site or simply an ancient trash pile (midden) for shells. The site is reached by the Spanish Mount trail.

Wood-carved statue with trees and picnic tables
A carved Native American figure stands on the porch of the Visitors Center at Landsford Canal State Park.

Landsford Canal State Park

Established on the site of an American Indian ford in the Catawba River, Landsford Canal State Park was once used by explorers, traders and soldiers on both sides of the Revolutionary and Civil wars.

The land around what later became a two-mile canal paralleling the Catawba was deeded to Thomas Land in 1754. Fort Taylor was built to protect the area from the Native Americans.

The location was used by both Revolutionaries and British troops to cross the river. Today, Landsford Canal State Park is enjoyed mostly for its natural beauty and the rare rocky shoals spider lilies that bloom in abundance here.

Oconee Station State Historic Site

Oconee Station provides a glimpse at early frontier life as it served as a defensive fort, protecting settlers against American Indian assault and housing dozens of militiamen during the late 18th century. The site later became a trading post. The home of its first trader, William Richards, still stands today.

The park hosts the annual Native American Day that includes demonstrations on how pottery and bows were made as well as arrowheads and other tools.

Page Ivey
Discover writers share all of the places, activities and adventure that South Carolina has to offer. Read more from some of South Carolina’s locals and discover what’s happening in the Palmetto State.