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A Weekend on the Water at Santee State Park

Outdoor Adventure / Midlands / 3 Days

Nestled along the shores of Lake Marion, Santee State Park is one of South Carolina's premier camping and fishing destinations. Whether you're looking for a peaceful getaway in the great outdoors or exciting adventures the whole family can enjoy, Santee State Park is the perfect place for you.

Weekend Accommodations

Whether you prefer pitching a tent under the stars or enjoying the comforts of a cozy cabin, Santee State Park provides a range of camping options to suit your preference. 

There are two different campgrounds, found on the east and west ends of the park. Each individual campsite comes with a picnic table and water and electrical hookups. Restrooms and showers are conveniently located nearby all campsites.

If you'd rather spend the night indoors, you can book a stay in one of the park's cozy rondette cabins that sit along the water's edge. Cabins include two bedrooms, a bathroom, kitchen, living room and a patio with a grill and picnic table. The 10 pier cabins overlooking Lake Marion are the most popular among visitors, offering beautiful views and fishing just a few feet from your front door.



Arrive Friday Evening

Check in time is 2 p.m., but before arriving and setting up camp, be sure to stop by a local grocery store to stock up on some snacks and food to grill or roast over the fire. You can also find a few grocery items as well as firewood at the park store, Cypress Landing.

Travel Tip
Travel Tip:

Reservations can be made up to 13 months in advance, so be sure to get your reservation in early, especially if you want to reserve a cabin. Minimum stays are required in the high season, but there are plenty of reasons why you should visit in the off-season

Santee State Park's pier cabins along Lake Marion, a family roasts marshmallows over a campfire
Enjoy waterfront views from Santee State Park's comfortable pier cabins. In the evenings, spend time around the campfire roasting marshmallows and reconnecting with the people who matter the most.

A Saturday on the Water

There are several different ways to fill your day with excitement at Santee State Park. With six picnic shelters it's easy to plan meals around your adventures and not the other way around. You can reserve a picnic shelter for a fee, but unreserved shelters may be used on a first-come-first-serve basis at no cost.

Gone Fishing

One of the most popular activities in the park is fishing, as Lake Marion is known for having an abundance of bass, catfish, bream and crappie. There is a handicap-accessible fishing pier by the park store, where visitors can fish at any time of the day. This is a great place to cast a line and enjoy the morning sunrise. If you don't have a South Carolina fishing license, you can purchase one at the park's visitor center.

Another great option is night fishing for catfish, enjoyed by both locals and visitors. Lake Marion is known for having very large catfish, and the cooler waters at night can increase your chances of reeling one in!

Paddle the Flooded Cypress Forest

Santee State Park's signature attraction is the flooded cypress forest found in the middle of Lake Marion. Santee Boat Rentals offers scenic boat tours that take you through the flooded cypress forest and other headwaters of the lake. Along the way, your tour guide will highlight the history of the lake and point out local wildlife that may include alligators, osprey, wood ducks, turtles and herons.

If you'd rather do some exploring on your own, Santee Boat Rentals also rents pontoon boats and motorized kayaks perfect for fishing. The park also has two boat ramps with lake access for those bringing their own boat.

Cool Off in Lake Marion

Unwind and recharge by spending a lazy afternoon on the park's pristine sandy beach, soaking up the sun and taking refreshing dips in the cool waters of Lake Marion. One of the most popular places to cool off is a little beach found right near the Cypress View Campground.

Fun off the Water

While there's plenty to explore on the lake, there are also many hidden gems to discover on land. Take a leisurely stroll along the park's nature trails, immersing yourself in the sights and sounds of the lush ecosystem. Choose from one of three nature trails, where you'll come across everything from thick wooded forests and white-tailed deer to wild azaleas and limestone sinkholes. Be sure to check out the Sinkhole Pond Trail, where you can see the park's limestone sinkhole pond and learn about how it was formed.

Bring your binoculars and see how much of the park’s rich bird population you can spot, including osprey, great blue heron and painted buntings. The best areas for viewing are from the trails and wetland areas.

Embark on a thrilling biking expedition along the park's well-maintained trails, challenge yourself with a round of disc golf on the park's professionally designed course or embark on the world’s largest treasure hunt as you explore the park looking for several different geocaches.

As evening approaches, head back to your campsite to enjoy dinner around the fire as you watch the stars emerge. Then it’s time to roast some marshmallows and tell stories before you turn in for the night.

Travel Tip
Travel Tip:

For those seeking a more leisurely experience, rent a pontoon boat and cruise along the scenic waterways, enjoying the picturesque landscapes and the gentle breeze.

Men in a boat fishing on Lake Marion
A popular spot for fishing, Lake Marion is known for having an abundance of bass, catfish, bream and crappie.


Before packing up your gear and hitting the road, enjoy a relaxed stroll down the Limestone Nature Trail. This easy, mile-long loop is filled with beautiful wildflowers and local wildlife, including white-tailed deer, rabbits, ospreys, red-headed woodpeckers and more.

Travel Tip
Travel Tip:

Travel Tip: Santee, South Carolina, is known for its world-class golf courses, each with its own challenges and features. Extend your stay with a customized golf package and prepare to play some of the best rounds of your life.

A father takes his son fishing on a pier, a family sets a picnic table for dinner
From boat tours around South Carolina's largest lake and fishing just a few feet from your front door to afternoon picnics and evenings around the campfire, Santee State Park is an outdoor enthusiast's dream.

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