Come Out And Be Happy

Message From The Director

I spend a lot of time in some of our states most scenic and beautiful places.  From the mountains to the sea, I get to visit and spend time outdoors throughout our spectacular state each year.  During this time, I walk, explore, hike, paddle and experience each park,knowing, that I am happier and both more productive and creative when I get these opportunities to explore the outdoors. Whether it is a trail run, a hike through the woods, fishing or just sitting and enjoying nature’s wonders, it is far more relaxing than anything the indoors could ever offer. I guess I got lucky when I chose this career. 

The Washington Post recently released an article confirming something that many of us already know instinctually.  The article includes a study, originally published in the Natural Scientific Reports, that shows spending 120 minutes a week in nature makes you a happier person. That’s less than 20 minutes a day! Even better, the boost of happiness comes regardless of any physical activity! Traveling to a park for a walk or run is always good, but so is a park visit to merely sit at a picnic table and watch the lake or even to stand over the water at one of our piers. Simply put, spending time outdoors makes things better. This study joins a long list of research that supports the benefits of spending time outdoors, and if you are reading this article, chances are you already enjoy time outdoors. Nonetheless, studies have shown time outdoors improves creativity, helps with attention span, reduces stress levels and now we know it also makes you a happier person!

I am fortunate beyond measure to have so many great opportunities to be outdoors; as well as our employees, who get to spend time working in some of our states most scenic and beautiful locations. Much of that time is spent sharing those resources with thousands of visitors, maintaining grounds and facilities and keeping our visitor services running effectively, but if you spend enough time with them, you will find they all have special experiences because of the time they spend outside.Stories about Ospreys and Eagles, sunrises and thunderstorms, turtles and snakes, but most important stories about people.  People enjoying their first visit or their 100th, regulars who have become like family and visitors who build their free time around parks. On Instagram you can follow our hashtag, #SCStateParks and see visitors who are journeying to become Ultimate Outsiders, as well as, visitors who are working to complete 100 hikes at their local park! No matter the purpose, I am almost certain that these individuals are happier when they are out enjoying our parks. 

As a Park Service, we strive to help everyone find happiness. To do this, we have implemented weekly "Happy Hours” at our parks. Each week from now through the fall, we will offer free admission for several hours at various parks throughout the state.  We encourage you to get to your local park and spend some time outdoors. So follow our social media sites for upcoming "Happy Hours" locations and be sure to grab some friends, your dog or even go solo; regardless, come outdoors and be happy!