Field trips are a great way to keep your homeschoolers engaged. And what could be more interesting than nature and possibly some history? Fortunately, South Carolina offers a wealth of outdoor opportunities with its many state parks.
In fact, the Palmetto State has 47 state parks boasting over 90,000 acres of protected land. That’s a lot of area to choose from. If you’re not sure where to begin, here is a list of seven South Carolina state parks your family should explore.
Located in scenic and quiet Murrells Inlet, SC, Huntington Beach State Park is a 2,500-acre park that offers 3 miles of coastline, a fishing pier, and a 2-mile hiking trail. The park is a haven for birders, boasting more than 300 species of birds. It is also the home of the historic Atalaya Castle, the 1930s winter home of Archer and Anna Huntington. And it is just across the road from the 1,600-acre Brookgreen Gardens, which features a zoo, gardens, and sculptures.
Table Rock State Park is located in Pickens, SC. The park offers over a dozen miles of hiking trails ranging from the walk-in-woods variety to the more strenuous climb up to the park’s namesake 3,124-foot summit. You can also canoe, kayak, and swim in one of the park’s two lakes. There is camping, a lodge, a playground, and picnic areas.
Myrtle Beach State Park with South Carolina’s first state park, designated in 1936. This 312-acre park is bursting with lush vegetation like wax myrtles, live oaks, and magnolias. You and your family can hike through the maritime forest, enjoy the beach, or fish from the park’s fishing pier.
If you live in the Columbia area, Sesquicentennial State Park, also known as “Sesqui,” is an excellent option. The park has a 6-mile mountain biking trail, a waterfall on the Jackson Creek Nature Trail, and features a 26-sprayer splash pad for the little ones. You can paddle and fish on the 30-acre lake and camp in the park’s campground.
This is an ideal park for a history lesson. Charles Towne was the site of the first English settlement in the Carolinas, offering visitors an excellent opportunity to learn about the area’s roots. There are 80 acres of beautiful gardens in addition to a HIstory Trail and a 17-Century replica sailing ship called the “Adventure” that you can explore.
This 1,000-acre park was built in the 1930s during the peak of the Civilian Conservation Corps. It is a rugged park that includes a campground and more than 25 miles of hiking and mountain biking trails. There is also a 10-acre lake where you can swim, fish, and kayak. Another bonus is that you can reach Congaree National Park from this location in under 45 minutes.
If you’re looking for another beach destination to add to your list, consider Hunting Island State Park. This park on St. Helena Island enjoys over a million visitors each year, making it the state’s most popular park. It is just 15 miles east of Beaufort, and the park includes a historic lighthouse, incredible views of the Atlantic, beachfront, marshlands, a saltwater lagoon, and even a 2-mile Maritime Forest Trail.
Add South Carolina State Parks to Your Homeschool Activities
When you choose to homeschool your children in South Carolina, you gain flexibility in educating them so that you can support their strengths and interests. Adding exploring South Carolina state parks to your homeschooling activities is just one way you can move beyond the classroom to create a more varied and rich educational experience for your children.
At the South Caroline Association of Independent Home Schools (SCAIHS), we provide encouragement and educational counseling to homeschooling parents throughout the state as well as valuable resources. Contact us for more information about the benefits of membership in SCAIHS.