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It's not like the authorities will let you pitch a tent in Marion Square

Camping Out of Town



Not everyone can afford to post up in an Edisto treehouse and tweet about how they're becoming one with nature. For those of us who want to get their outdoor adventure on but don't want to break the bank, camping is a pretty cheap option.

If you have your heart set on the Carolina Heritage Outfitters' blackwater property, but can't afford the price of a treehouse, Scott and Anne Kennedy offer up spots on their 150 acres of riverside land for tent camping. Ten bucks will get you a quiet spot along the blackwater river, and while you'll still have to pay the $30-$35 for a canoe or kayak if you don't bring your own, it's much more reasonably priced for someone on a budget.

However, if you have a more flexible budget and want a splash of luxury with your Mother Nature cocktail, reserving a cabin is a good way to go. And if you want a cheap cabin in the mountains — or at least the little foothills that we call "the mountains" in South Carolina — head to the Upstate. At Oconee State Park, you can nab a one-bedroom cabin for $60-$89 or a 16-person barrack for around $106-$160 a night, or you can get more upscale cabins at Keowee-Toxaway State Park for $93-$169 a night. As a heads-up: Most parks requires a two-night minimum stay.

The campers cabins at Lake Hartwell State Park offer a more frugal option for the poor schmuck who wants nothing more than a sturdy roof over their head and a bunk bed to sleep on. These cabins ($24-$42 a night, prices vary depending on the season) feature heating and air conditioning, indoor lights, electrical outlets, and not much else.

For the steel-calved camper who think cabins are camping cop-outs, there's trailside camping. Once again, these campsites exist mostly in upstate South Carolina, in this case Table Rock, Jones Gap, Caesar's Head, and Keowee-Toxaway parks. The only downside: There's no running water and no restrooms, and oftentimes you've got to hike to get there.

Now, the Upstate ain't the only place in South Carolina where you can get your camping fix. The lower part of the state has plenty of spots too. Santee State Park on Lake Marion offers furnished villas on the pier facing the water for rates as low as $80 a night, and tent camping on the beach is available at Edisto Beach, Hunting Island, Huntington Beach, and Myrtle Beach State Parks — all within a few hours of Charleston. Around these parts, you can also camp at Buck Hall Recreation Area in McClellanville on Highway 17 North, and if you're feeling adventurous, you can camp on the beach at Capers Island, but you'll have to get a permit from the Department of Natural Resources.

A mere 48 miles in Walterboro, Colleton State Park offers canoe trails, boating opportunities, swimming on the Edisto River, geocaching, a baseball field, a volleyball area, a self-interpretive walking trail, and biking trails along the park roads. Campgrounds include individual water and electricity hookups and shower facilities. Standard sites go for $15 a night, with discounts offered in the low seasons.

Now, we're not sure how many poor schmucks happen to own horses, but if you're one of them, you don't want to miss out on equestrian camping at one of four parks in South Carolina (H. Cooper Black Jr. Memorial Field Trial and Recreation Area and Kings Mountain, Lee, and Cheraw state parks.) If you want to bring your rich bastard buddy, we'd suggest Cheraw, where they have an 18-hole golf course as well.

For more on camping at one of the Palmetto State's top-notch state parks, visit southcarolinaparks.com.

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