When you get a good group of friends together for a camping trip, odds are that you are going to have a blast and make some memories, good or bad. And for all the praise we give Mother Nature, those of us who have to work within the confines of an office don't often get to enjoy spending quality time with her. To make it a little easier, we've compiled a short list of choice camping spots in the Charleston area where we think you might have a good time just being yourself, without that technological umbilical cord.
Accessible via the Limehouse Boat Landing on Johns Island
From the landing, go under the bridge and pass the sand bar. At the creek directly after that, take a right toward the train trussel. The spot is on the left. Dock up and make your way past a little beach about 200 feet long. You'll know you're on Wolf Island when you walk back and see all the big oak trees. It's a small, quiet spot under the oaks. And if you have any neighbors, make friends with them before you accidentally meet while taking a leak in the middle of the night.
15 miles north of Charleston, between Dewees Island and the Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge
Capers is an awesome place to camp. It's an easy kayak from the landing off Highway 17 near Awendaw; it's also doable from IOP. If you take a motor boat, anchor on the beach at the south end. Camping does require a permit, so before you make the trek, make sure to call the DNR at (843) 953-9300 to get one.
Accessible via Wappoo or Riverland Terrace Boat Landings
Head out through the harbor to the ocean. Once you hit Fort Sumter, Morris' large beaches will be on your right. Morris is generally known to the beer-and-boat-loving crowds as the best place to day drink during the summer, especially on the Fourth of July. For those wishing to camp out, remember, this spot is sandy and can be really windy. It was also once the scene of some serious combat during the Civil War.
BY CAR (AND FOOT)
Edisto Beach State Park
8377 State Cabin Road
Part of the beautiful ACE Basin and Edisto Island, this park is a fantastic resource for inland and beachfront camping, boasting some of the largest oaks and palmettos and a killer selection of sea shells to bring home. Only an hour from Charleston. Make sure to call ahead to make site reservations.
Hunting Island State Park
2555 Sea Island Pkwy.
Boasting over a million visitors per year, this semi-tropical barrier island is also home to a wide array of wildlife (including loggerhead sea turtles!) and some impressive beaches and marshes, as well as an inlet and a lagoon. It also has the only publicly accessible historic lighthouse.
Givhans Ferry State Park
746 Givhans Ferry Road
Good for both hiking and kayaking or canoeing to, Givhans is a very feasible day or weekend trip from downtown Charleston. It has a nice and shady campground, and well-kept, rustic cabins. Make sure to make a site reservation for this one.
Huntington Beach State Park
16148 Ocean Hwy.
Home to an old castle estate built in the Moorish-style on the beach called Atalaya, Huntington Beach is a pretty amazing place to camp. Campgrounds are located next to a pristine and sweeping Grand Strand Beach, and provide for excellent bird-watching and relaxation. The Atalaya estate also hosts an annual Arts and Crafts Festival in September, which makes for a great opportunity to get your camping, historic landmark site-seeing, and festival-going in at once. First come, first served! Oh, and watch out for alligators.
These are just a few of the many campgrounds and state parks South Carolina has to offer. To check out a full listing, visit the ever-helpful www.southcarolinaparks.com.