Sleep Under the Stars in the Upstate

Now that the sweltering summer heat has mostly dissipated, it’s time to once again head outdoors.

South Carolina has more than 3,000 campsites statewide with a good majority of them in our area- and that’s just in the state parks. Add in private and commercial campgrounds and that makes for a lot of places to hang your head in the great outdoors.

Camping takes on many forms here in the Upstate- there are primitive and trailside campsites with no facilities, campsites that can only be reached by boat and campgrounds that have playgrounds and offer restrooms and showers. Some campgrounds have RV-hookup’s and others have facilities to bring your horses. Don’t have a tent or camper? That’s covered too with camper cabins on Lake Hartwell and rustic cabin rentals across the region.

Devil’s Fork State Park offers a little camping for everyone. There are two “traditional” campgrounds with restrooms and hot showers and campsites with RV hookups and a dump station. Devil’s Fork also has 25 walk-in tent campsites with picnic tables and a fire ring and several boat-in only sites along the northern shore of Lake Jocassee.

At Lake Hartwell, if you don’t have a tent or RV and want to “test drive” camping, you can rent one of the only two camper cabins of their kind in the South Carolina State Park system. Each 11×13 one-room cabin sleeps four and has lighting, heating and A/C but no running water or restroom.

Lake Hartwell State Park also has 115 paved campsites with water and electrical hook-ups and 13 walk-in tent sites.

Chattooga Sounds in Long Creek has sleeping sheds available for rental for a different kind of camping experience. Tents can be pitched under a covered, raised platform. Each site includes a picnic table, fire ring and lantern post.

Chattooga Sounds also offer a low-ropes course and can customize trips to hike, raft or kayak the Chattooga River.

In Oconee County, Chau Ram County Park is considered one of counties best kept secrets. Hidden away in Westminster, even some locals don’t know this park exists. This little gem offers waterfalls, sandy beaches for swimming and 4 major sets of rapids for kayaking, canoeing and tubing.  Just off the parking lot is Ramsey Falls, a nice 40-foot waterfall. There are several other waterfalls downstream and the park features the longest suspension bridge in Oconee County.

The park has 28 camping sites, four picnic shelters-one with a large outdoor fireplace, Restrooms, swimming, kayaking and a playground.

The KOA campground in Cowpens can serve as a base camping site to explore some of therevolutionary war sites in the Upstate with both Cowpens National Battlefield and King’s Mountain National Military Park nearby.

The campground has 127 camp sites available and amenities that include satellite TV, a swimming pool, mini-golf, volleyball, along with billiards and a shuffleboard court.

Horses are welcome at Kings Mountain State Park. In addition to the two fishing lakes, hiking trails and 1800’s living history farm, the park also offers 15 equestrian campsites and has more than 15 miles of equestrian trails that connect to the adjacent National Military Park.

The State Park has 115 standard sites, 10 tent sites and a primitive group camping area for up to 30 people. The campground also has restroom facilities with hot showers and packed-gravel sites with water and electrical hookups.

These are just a handful of the many, many options available for camping in the Upstate. So set aside the alarm clock, ditch the down comforter, get in touch with nature and sleep under the stars.

About the Author

Sherry Jackson


Sherry Jackson’s love of travel came at a young age. Her family would load up the car on the weekend, pick a destination and set off to explore. She has traversed thru jungles, snorkeled the turquoise waters of the Caribbean and wandered the streets of Paris, always searching for her next adventure. Her articles have been featured in a variety of outlets including USA Today, Blue Ridge Country, Foothills Spotlight Magazine, Jetsetter, Bootsnall, Gadling, Yahoo, CityRoom, The Simpsonville Sentinel and countless other print and online publications. She owns and maintains four websites (www.seethesouth.com , www.dragonflyventures.com, dvtravels.net and www.rulesforeveryday.com). Sherry is a member of the International Food, Wine and Travel Writers Association (IFWTWA) and the North American Travel Journalists Association (NATJA). Her work can be viewed at www.dragonflyventures.com.

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