Top 3 Must-Visit South Carolina State Parks for Families

I grew up in a road-tripping family. Every single vacation we went on started off with a car trip that was usually several days there and several days back. There are so many amazing memories from my childhood that all lead back to those trips. From the games we played, to those hole-in-the-wall restaurants we tried along the way, I just knew that those were the kinds of memories I wanted to make with my children as well.

With a family that includes three kids, we are always looking for fun and educational ways to spend the day… all while being reasonably priced and for the most part, within driving distance. The beauty of living in Atlanta, Georgia and taking road trips is that we really can see more of the United States without having to have a huge travel budget. So, we take a road trip at least once a month.

Of all of the various activities that we have tried, by far the best bang for our buck has come from state parks. These hidden gems offer all-day experiences that everyone in the family will enjoy. Fishing, hiking, camping and biking can all be found at the parks, and we haven't even touched on the professionally run programs that are offered. Let's take a look at our top three must-visit South Carolina State Parks for families!

Battle of Musgrove Mill State Historic Site

First on our list of awesome South Carolina State Parks for families is the Battle of Musgrove Mill State Historic Site. Once you arrive, it’s best to head straight to the visitor center. We were immediately greeted by the park manager who explained that kids and adults alike can learn all about the battle, plus they can even dress up in period-specific clothing. The visitor center sports a wraparound porch that offers some fantastic views of the property (as well as cornhole). It’s a great place to start because you can grab drinks and check out the souvenirs, plus find great educational books and toys in the gift shop.

Musgrove Mill was the site of a critical Revolutionary War battle, and the interactive diorama at the visitor center explains the battle, plus there are other interpretive exhibits to check out. The property features the battlefield, but also includes a picturesque pond, hiking trails and a waterfall. The park manager was on hand to give us an idea of what to see first and answer our questions about the battle itself, as well as, any other things that we wanted to know more about.

The actual Battle of Musgrove Mill commenced on August 19, 1780, lasted just over an hour and covered an area of about two miles. The Patriots claimed a victory over the British.

Not only did we walk the entire length of the site, we also brought food for a picnic, and boy do they have many great picnic spots. We then headed over to Horseshoe Falls where we hiked about three miles total along the river. It had been raining recently so the river was really flowing and we had a fun day together. We actually discussed bringing fishing poles on our next visit because there were many people fishing, and the fish were clearly biting that day. It’s also a really fun place for a picnic, so we made plans to return this spring.

Sesquicentennial State Park

Located in the midlands of South Carolina, Sesquicentennial State Park packs a ton of fun for everyone in the family. Known as “Sesqui”by the locals, the park itself features a 30-acre lake and 12 miles of hiking and biking trails set within more than 1,400 acres of parkland.

Sesqui offers everything from fishing to boating, biking and more. There are several geocaches to find for those looking for an adventure. The splash pad with its 26 sprayers is a great spot for anyone looking to have fun and stay cool with water.

And who doesn’t love a hike or a program with a ranger?  Sesqui offers regularly scheduled programs throughout the year.  It’s also a fun place for a field trip if you’re a teacher looking for something new. (link to Discover Carolina programs)

Don’t forget to check out the Top 5 Things to Do list for more ideas and family fun!

Myrtle Beach State Park

Located on the coast of South Carolina, Myrtle Beach State Park is one of the must-see South Carolina State Parks for families. This park features a mile of pristine beach, a pristine maritime forest, cabins, 278 campsites, a fishing pier, picnic shelters and more. Here, you can have fun in the sun while learning all about what makes this park so special.

The park also has a great Nature Center staffed by knowledgeable park rangers who host fun and informative programs for all ages year-round.  At the Nature Center, kids can also participate in Patch Programs offered by the park. Kid can earn a Sea Turtle Patch by taking part in the Sea Turtle Patrol during the summer, or they can become a Habitat Hero by taking part in the various programs offered at the park.  If you have kids, the Nature Center and the park programs are a must-do!

Also, don’t forget to check out the list of the Top 5 Things To Do at the park!  Rent a cabin or stay overnight in a campsite.  You’ll find fun for days at this popular park.

Junior Ranger Program

The Junior Ranger Program is a great way to get your kids moving outdoors while learning all sorts of cool stuff about the natural world around them in South Carolina. This free program is designed for kids ages 6 to 9, but anyone who is interested in learning and exploring the parks is welcome to take part in the program. Kids will have the opportunity to interview a Park Ranger, learn about the environment and earn cool prizes. To take part in the program, head to the website, grab a Junior Ranger activity sheet, and then visit the parks. It is super simple and a ton of fun.  

By Stacie Connerty