Barnwell State Park, located just outside the town of Blackville, South Carolina, is a hidden gem for angling enthusiasts. This spacious state park offers not one, but three fishing holes that are well-stocked with crappie, catfish, and bream. If you're motoring around South Carolina's metropolitan Midlands region, park the RV at Barnwell State Park for a quiet stopover complete with all the creature comforts you could possibly need.
Whether you're looking to wet a line, stroll down a nature trail, or treat the family to a picnic lunch, Barnwell State Park is the perfect place to enjoy a variety of outdoor activities. Fishing is obviously a fan favorite here, so much so that the park even offers fishing rod and boat rentals for amateur anglers who don't have their own gear. The park's picnic facilities are well-equipped for family gatherings, and the kids in your camping crew will love the playground, volleyball court, and horseshoe pit.
Fishing and volleyball aren't the only things Barnwell offers. Hikers can explore three miles of trails with gorgeous lakeside views. Bring your binoculars so you can catch a glimpse of wild turkeys and deer on the nature trail. The park has a rich history as well, as it was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s. Curious RVers will still find some remnants from this tremendous past, including the old pumphouse and tiered-spillway.
If you're planning to spend time down by the water at Barnwell State Park, though, you'll want to bring some insect repellent along. Where there is water in South Carolina, there are bound to be mosquitoes. You'll also want to keep an eye out for the occasional alligator, too! Don't fret if you forgot to pack any necessities, though. Barnwell State Park is a short drive away from the town of Blackville, where you'll find a grocery store, a gas station, and a few local restaurants serving up signature Southern comfort food.
The park is conveniently located just off SC Highway 3, which leads straight into the town of Blackville. Barnwell State Park is also just about an hour from both Columbia, SC, and Augusta, GA, so the amenities of city life are not far away. Local roads near the park are generally wide and well-maintained and shouldn't cause any trouble for RVers. Most of the park's internal roads are paved, although some are gravel. Note that the park is located in a densely wooded area. Take care when traveling through the park after a storm, as broken tree limbs and other hazards may be a problem.
All of the parking areas at Barnwell State Park are gravel. Day-use visitors will find a lot by the park office. No parking fees or passes apply at Barnwell State Park, so feel free to park the RV and set off for an outdoor adventure!
Tent and RV campers at Barnwell State Park can choose from 25 campsites, eight of which offer full hookups with electricity, water, and sewer. The remaining sites feature water and electrical connections. Sites are comprised of packed gravel and provide easy access to restrooms, hot showers, and a dump station. You can enjoy hot meals thanks to the fire ring and picnic table provided at each site.
Four sites can accommodate RVs up to 36 feet long, while the remaining sites have a maximum length of 28 feet. Pets are welcome, as long as they remain on a leash when outside of the RV. Campers must reserve their site at least one day in advance; however, those who are unable to make a reservation within this time frame can reserve a site by contacting the park directly.
If you are heading to the park with an organized group, there is a primitive group site that can accommodate up to 50 guests. The group camping area is equipped with picnic tables, fire rings, and restrooms. Only organized youth or adult groups can reserve this group campground.
Prefer to camp in comfort? Rent one of the park's five furnished cabins! These come with all the bells and whistles, including heating, AC, satellite TV, a fully equipped kitchen, and even linens. You'll have everything you need to cook up some grub, including a microwave, frig, stove, coffeemaker, and utensils. All of the cabins are ADA-accessible and feature two bedrooms that can fit four people. The cabin area is located just a few hundred yards from two of the park's ponds, so early morning anglers won't have to travel far to fish. You can enjoy an outdoor bbq or go stargazing at night, thanks to your private grill and porch. Keep in mind that pets are only permitted in Cabin 2.
Barnwell State Park is considered one of the state's best fishing destinations -- and considering the sheer number of fishing holes in South Carolina, that's saying something! Cast a line into one of the park's three freshwater ponds in search of a catfish dinner. Bass, bluegill, bream, and crappie are also on the menu. Don't forget to pick up a South Carolina fishing license first! If you don't have fishing gear in your campervan, you can rent some from the park office, thanks to the state's Fishing Tackle Loaner Program.
Boating is available at Barnwell State Park, with a few caveats. Motorized boating is allowed, but gas-powered watercraft is prohibited. There's also no boat launch at Barnwell State Park, so boaters will need to carry their craft with them from the parking lot. You'll often find kayakers and canoers drifting on the lake's peaceful waters. RV guests without a private vessel can rent a non-motorized boat from the park office. Those who have questions regarding the park's boating policies are encouraged to contact the park office.
There's only one word to describe a South Carolina summer: scorching! Park visitors can enjoy a break from the humidity with a dip in the swimming area, followed by a picnic lunch in a shaded shelter. If you want to celebrate an event with a group, you can reserve one of the four picnic shelters in the park. For those spontaneous picnickers, the shelters are available on a first-come, first-served basis as long as they have not been reserved.
Most folks would consider hiking a summer activity, but native South Carolinians know that tackling a difficult trail in the summer can be a death sentence. Those visiting the park in the cooler months of spring and fall can enjoy a serene stroll along both the park's 1.5-mile trails without sweating buckets.
The Dogwood Interpretive Trail features informational plaques to learn more about the park's flora and fauna as you stroll through beautiful wild orchids and towering oak trees. The Fern Hill Nature Trail is perfect if you want to get some shade under seeping pines and listen for the whistle of songbirds flying above.
Don't forget to pack those binoculars in the camper. This biodiverse area is a natural haven for a wide variety of species, from birds and bees and everything in between. Birdwatching is a popular activity at Barnwell State Park, with osprey and ducks being the most common sights. Those looking to spot something a little more exotic will want to keep their eyes peeled for wild turkey, deer, and even alligators!
This scavenger hunt is gaining popularity with avid adventurers all over the country. A few geocaches are hidden throughout Barnwell State Park, inviting visiting sleuths to hunt them all down! Though most phone networks should receive decent coverage here, Wi-Fi is also available at the park, making it easy to download the map and clues on your smartphone before setting out. Once you find the cache, go ahead and sign the logbook and replace the trinket with your own so you can keep the game going.