Givhans Ferry State Park's big claim to fame is its access to the Edisto River, the longest free-flowing blackwater tributary in North America. In the summertime, the park's sandy beach serves as a launching site to tube, canoe or kayak down the gently flowing waterway.
Last weekend when I visited the park, the beach was full of families enjoying a day on the river. They had brought coolers, umbrellas, beach chairs and floats as big as trampolines.
The Edisto also is a favorite with fishermen looking to catch flathead, catfish, red breast, largemouth bass, striped bass and shellcrackers. Of course, you'll need a South Carolina fishing license to drop your line in the river.
Built by the Civilian Conservation Corps during the Great Depression, the park lies within the 56-mile Edisto River Canoe and Kayak Trail and is at the end of a popular 21-mile downstream paddle from Colleton State Park.
It served as the takeout for a kayaking trip I took last weekend with Palmetto Conservation Foundation. After completing the six-mile paddle, my friend and I walked the River Bluff Trail, an easy 1.5-mile hike through the woods. After crossing a canal, the nature trail follows the limestone bluff overlooking the river. Even with all the leaves on the trees, you still get a nice view of the water.
Another great spot to take in the river is from the large back porch of the community building. Recently upgraded, this historic wooden structure can be rented for family reunions and parties, accommodating up to 100 people banquet-style.
The 988-acre park also features two picnic shelters, a number of shady picnic tables and two volleyball courts. Accommodations include four two-bedroom cabins and 22 wooded campsites.
Click here for more information on Givhans Ferry State Park or call (843) 873-0692.