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Hi, I'm Georgina! A coffee-loving adventure enthusiast here to share my favorite travel tips with you! My goal is to inspire others to get out and explore this wild planet by camping, hiking, or wandering around a fun new city!

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  • Georgina D'Angelo

South Carolina Road Trip for Nature Lovers

Updated: Apr 22

It's no secret the United States is the perfect place to road trip. 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.

South Carolina Road Trip - Alpacka My Bags

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!

It is nature-focused and includes camping and hiking. But you'll also get to visit Charleston for a real Southern city adventure!

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.

Ultimate South Carolina Road Trip

Explore Nature and City With The 7-Day Dog-Friendly 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

South Carolina Road Trip - 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

South Carolina Road Trip - 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

South Carolina Road Trip - 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.

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.

Plan Another National Parks Road Trip!

South Carolina Road Trip - Alpacka My Bags

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.

You might like to read next...

South Carolina Road Trip Itinerary | Alpacka My Bags Pinterest Cover


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Hi, I'm Georgina, adventure enthusiast and creator of Alpacka My Bags. I'm here for all of your travel and adventure planning needs! 


I've been exploring this beautiful planet since I was a child, so I decided it was time to share my travel tips with others to enjoy. After college, I knew the "traditional career path" was not for me.


I needed to travel and explore what this world has to offer. It sounds cliché but you do only live once. So I made going on adventures a priority, and soon realized that I wanted to share them with others so you can enjoy them too! 

My passion is spreading the travel bug and showing others that travel is attainable and so worth it. From itineraries to camping tips to packing lists, Alpacka My Bags has you covered!

Join me, and often my partner and my dog, as we find exciting adventures and travel recommendations for you! If you've been bit by the travel bug just as I have, I hope you find my tips useful for all of your future travels.

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