South Carolina Road Trip for Nature Lovers
Explore Nature and City With The 7-Day Dog-Friendly South Carolina Road Trip
One of the best countries to go on a road trip is the United States. With a plethora of places to choose from and an incredible diversity of nature and cities, the road trip choices are endless in the US.
So why South Carolina? With Spanish moss painting the trees, historical charm in Charleston, peaceful beaches, a gorgeous national park, delicious food, and more, South Carolina is hands down one of the best states to go on a road trip in the US.
Having a route to follow will make your travel planning easier. We've found the best places to visit in South Carolina and checked them out ourselves. So now we're sharing the ultimate South Carolina road trip itinerary with you!
And the best part? It's dog-friendly too! If you want to comfortably explore outdoors and possibly hike, we recommend going on this South Carolina road trip in the spring or early fall. The plants will be prettier, the weather will be pleasant, and the crowds will be smaller.
South Carolina Road Trip
If you don't live in or near South Carolina, you have two options. Drive your own car, van, or RV into South Carolina, or fly into Charleston and rent a car for the road trip. We personally drove from Texas so we could camp in our rooftop tent when we wanted.
If camping isn't your thing, we've found some great alternatives for you to enjoy. But if you do plan on camping on parts of this South Carolina road trip, check out our top car camping essentials.
Stop 1: Santee State Park
Start your journey with a peaceful stay at Santee State Park. Spend 2 days here enjoying the views from the pier on Lake Marion, hiking, boating, fishing, and staying in cabins. Some of which are also dog-friendly!
I highly suggest you wake up early for sunrise one morning. Watching the sun rise over Lake Marion is incredibly peaceful.
Lodging & Camping
If you want to go camping, there are two options in Santee State Park: Lakeshore Campground and Cypress View Campground. Both campgrounds have restroom and shower facilities, as well as water and electrical hookups.
Make sure you book in advance if you want to stay in either the cabins or the campgrounds. You might get lucky and be able to get a last-minute campsite by calling the park. But if possible, I highly recommend booking in advance.
For all cabin and camping reservations, visit the Santee State Park website.
Day Trip to Congaree National Park
For a fun day trip from Santee, head to Congaree National Park. This gem is a must-visit for nature and hiking lovers alike. It's not a very large park, so you can easily get in some fun hikes here in a day trip. Our top hiking trail pick at Congaree is:
Boardwalk Loop Trail - 2.6 miles roundtrip; it begins at the visitor's center and is also wheelchair and stroller accessible
Stop 2: Charleston
Next on the itinerary is the quaint, historical city of Charleston. You can't visit South Carolina without going to this charming port city. In Charleston, South Carolina, you will find beautiful architecture to admire, delicious southern food at cute restaurants, beaches to stroll down, and so many other sights and activities.
There are a plethora of places to stay in Charleston, from hotels to Airbnbs. If you're an Airbnb fan, or if you're traveling with a dog, check the availability of the cute guesthouse below. It's a 1-bed, 1-bath, dog-friendly place.
I recommend spending 3 to 4 days in Charleston to experience the best of the city, try lots of food, and go on plenty of beach walks. Head to Folly Beach for a peaceful, pretty stroll. Check out other free things to do in Charleston for a fun trip, and refuel with coffee or tea at one of the best coffee shops in Charleston.
Stop 3: Edisto Beach State Park
Head to the final destination on your South Carolina road trip for a relaxing 2-day stay on Edisto Beach. This state park is located right on the South Carolina coast where you can sunbathe, hike along the beach, and swim in the ocean.
There are also two campgrounds at Edisto Beach State Park, one more inland and one right on the coast. There are also several miles of hiking trails at Edisto Beach Stae Park, as well as fishing and boating activities.
For those who don't want to camp, take a look at the cabins on site. Make sure you book in advance for camping or lodging. Because Edisto Beach State Park is right on the coast, it's a popular place and fills up quickly.
This South Carolina road trip is best done in 7 to 10 days. If you're in a time crunch, you can still enjoy this route, but taking a little longer to enjoy your stay is always a good idea.
If you are flying into Charleston to go on a South Carolina road trip, I suggest going in the following order so you are close to the airport when it is time for you to depart back home.
Santee State Park
Edisto Beach State Park
If you're planning on being in the state longer, check out other campgrounds in South Carolina for more nature exploring.
This South Carolina road trip is short, but sweet and really allows you to see the diversity of the state. From hiking in Congaree, admiring the sunrise over Lake Marion, finding free things to do in Charleston, and strolling down Edisto Beach, South Carolina is a must-visit place.
Another bonus about this South Carolina road trip? It's dog-friendly! We traveled this exact route with our dog JoJo and found all these locations to be very welcoming to dogs.
Are you a road trip lover? Or is this something you've always wanted to try? Reach out if you have any questions about road-tripping with dogs, camping, or South Carolina travel. Alpacka My Bags is here to help you plan all your travels. Sign up for our newsletter for exclusive tips and travel hacks!