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Planning a Road Trip? Pull Off the Road and Take a Hike

Megan Sexton Megan Sexton
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.
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Planning a South Carolina road trip for the family? After a few hours in the car, everybody is going to need a break to stretch their legs -- particularly kids.

We've scouted out a few parks close to major highways where you can get a little exercise, see some nice scenery and get back in the car rejuvenated (or, if you're traveling with young children, hopefully they'll have worked off a little energy. Maybe they'll even need a nap.)

 

Here are five of our favorites:

Little Pee Dee State Park, Dillon

An egret flies over Lake Norton in Little Pee Dee State Park.

Dillon might be most famous to travelers on Interstate 95 for South of the Border, but it's also home to Little Pee Dee State Park.

You'll enjoy the blackwaters of the Little Pee Dee River (named for the Pee Dee Indians who once lived in the area), along with a natural trail, picnic area and Lake Norton. It's located off S.C. 57 on State Park Road, 11 miles southeast of Dillon (exits 190 and 193 off I-95).

 

Santee State Park, Santee

Enjoy a picnic lunch overlooking Lake Marion in Santee State Park. Photo by Heidi Stone.

Accessible from I-95 and I-26, Santee State Park is on Lake Marion in Santee Cooper Country.

The lake is a favorite for anglers, but also popular with bird watchers, swamp lovers and boaters. And it's a beautiful spot for a walk or a picnic lunch.

From I-95, take exit 98 to S.C. 6 toward Elloree. The park is 1 mile west of the town of Santee. From I-26, take exit 136 and travel through St. Matthews on S.C. 6, about 15 miles to Elloree.

 

Colleton State Park, Walterboro

Colleton State Park lies along the Edisto River. Photo by Perry Baker.

Near the south end of I-95, take a short detour to Colleton State Park in Walterboro. There is an easy nature trail, a campground and picnic shelters.

If your family likes to paddle (and you have a little extra time to spend), this is the place for you. Colleton State Park provides easy access to the Edisto River, one of the longest (and most beautiful) free-flowing blackwater rivers in the country. It also connects to Givhans Ferry State Park via 21 miles of river, and Colleton lies along the path of the Edisto River Canoe and Kayak Trail.

You'll find the park off I-95 at exit 68., Head east toward Charleston on S.C. 61 for 3 miles. Take S.C. 15 north for half a mile. The park is on the left.

 

Kings Mountain State Park, Blacksburg

The 1.8-mile Ridgeline Trail is one of several hiking and horseback riding trails in Kings Mountain State Park.

Heading down I-85? Check out Kings Mountain State Park, not far from the North Carolina state line in Blacksburg.

The park has a .7-mile nature trail that provides a leisurely walk. For a more vigorous hike, there's the 16-mile Kings Mountain Hiking Trail,  1.5-mile farm trail and 1.8-mile Ridgeline trail. The Ridgeline trail connects Kings Mountain State Park, Kings Mountain National Military Park and Crowders Mountain State Park in North Carolina.

From I-95 northbound, take exit 2 and turn right onto S.C. 161. The park entrance is on the right.

 

Audubon Beidler Forest, Harleyville

If you're heading down I-26 toward Charleston, plan a stop at the Audubon Beidler Forest near Harleyville.

You'll find a 16,000-acre nature preserve with a nearly 2-mile long boardwalk through the forest.
It's a great chance to see some spectacular trees, and chances are you'll spot some wildlife along your journey.

The preserve is off Interstate 26 at exit 187 (if you're heading west) or exit 177 (if you're heading east). Once you get off the highway, follow the Biedler Forest signs.

Megan Sexton
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.