Poinsett State Park, nestled in the heart of sunny South Carolina's Midlands region, is the ultimate vacation destination for RV campers. Whether you and your camping crew are after a little peace and quiet or you're searching for a thrilling adventure in nature, Poinsett State Park has activities and amenities to accommodate your needs.
There's no better place to enjoy the lush wetlands which characterize South Carolina's Low Country than Poinsett State Park. Aptly nicknamed "the mountains of the Midlands", this hilly region of the state boasts terrains of all types, from sandhills complete with arduous climbs to the calm and quiet Levi Mill Lake.
This varied ecosystem allows for all kinds of outdoor activities, from hiking, boating, and fishing in the summer to birdwatching, picnicking, and geocaching during the off-season. The state park sprawls over 1,000 acres and connects to the Manchester State Forest, where campers and visitors can find even more activities and scenic sights to enjoy.
RV campers who consider themselves history buffs will feel right at home at Poinsett State Park, thanks to historic structures like the old grist mill, coquina bathhouse, and rustic cabins.
If you're planning an RV trip to Poinsett State Park, though, beware of bugs! South Carolina is infamous for its insect population. Mosquitoes will most likely be a problem down by the lake in the summer, and the Spanish moss at the park, though beautiful, may hide "chiggers", tiny bugs with an incredibly itchy bite.
Those camping at Poinsett State Park in RVs up to 40 feet long should have no trouble driving around the park. The main internal road through the park is paved, but the roads in the campground are packed dirt and gravel, so be mindful of mud after a rain. RV and trailer sites are level, gravel, and back-in.
The park is easily traversable by foot, bike, and regular car or truck. If you're walking along the hiking trails in the park, watch your step on the wooden footbridges. The terrain is mostly packed dirt, and good hiking shoes are recommended for exploring the park.
If you're not staying at Poinsett State Park overnight in an RV, a spacious parking lot is located a short walk away from the lake and one of the park's restrooms. This is the only parking area, apart from the campgrounds. The parking lot isn't shaded, so keep this in mind if visiting during the summer.
Poinsett State Park's campground offers a total of 50 sites spread across two loops: one for RV campers and one for tents. Of those 50 sites, 24 include water and electric hookups and can accommodate RVs up to 40 feet long, while the remaining 26 sites are reserved for tent campers and come with water. A primitive group site which can accommodate up to 200 campers is also available.
Each individual site comes with its own picnic table, fire ring, and water. If you're camping in an RV at Poinsett State Park, you'll enjoy convenient access to restrooms and hot showers. A dump station is also available. Sites cannot accommodate awnings or slide-outs due to the dense tree cover. Dogs are allowed to accompany both tent and RV campers.
The five cabins available at Poinsett State Park come complete with all the amenities you'll need, as well as screened-in porches where you can kick back, relax, and sip some sweet tea like a true South Carolinian. However, if you're bringing your dog along for your camping trip, note that pets are not allowed in the cabins.
Sites are available by reservation only. Campers must reserve their site at least three days in advance. Those who are unable to reserve their site within this time frame must contact the park directly.
Forgot to pick up some necessary supplies for your RV camping trip? The quaint, historic town of Sumter is just six miles down the road, and you'll find gas stations and grocery stores just eight miles away. The park is also convenient to Columbia, the state capital, where you can find all the creature comforts you could need or want.
Poinsett State Park's extensive trail network offers several hiking paths of varying lengths and difficulties. Some of the trails connect to Manchester State Forest, like the Palmetto Trail, the park's most popular route. Many trails here, including the Hilltop, Laurel, and Bowline trails, are under a mile long, but if you're looking for a challenge, try the Knot Trail. This three-mile route features steep ascents and descents, but the views you'll enjoy of the lake along the way make the legwork worth it.
Poinsett State Park's ten-acre lake is a popular destination for avid anglers. Catfish and bream tend to be the catch of the day here, though it's unclear whether there's a catch-and-release policy in place. RV visitors looking to fish will require a South Carolina state fishing license. On your fishing excursion, you'll want to watch out for cottonmouth snakes — this venomous species is often found near freshwater lakes and ponds and packs a brutal bite.
RV campers who enjoy being on the water rather than in it will be pleased to discover that Poinsett State Park offers boat rentals. Whether you're looking to go kayaking, canoeing, or paddleboarding, you can rent a watercraft at the state park for an hourly fee. Private boats are also permitted to launch into the lake; however, there are additional restrictions for private boats, so be sure to double-check any requirements before towing your own watercraft to the park.
Though South Carolina typically enjoys mild temperatures all year round, some activities won't be suitable for the colder months. If you're planning an RV trip to Poinsett State Park during the winter, don't forget to bring your binoculars along! You'll find several prime areas for birdwatching. See if you can spot a red-bellied woodpecker drilling away at one of the park's countless pine trees, or the stunningly blue belted kingfisher diving into the water in search of dinner.
For those RV campers who prefer to keep things calm and casual, picnicking at Poinsett State Park is a wonderful activity. The park's four covered picnic shelters are usually available on a first-come, first-served basis. If you're planning a family reunion or large get-together at the park, advanced reservations are required. The picnic areas only offer picnic tables. Picnickers are permitted to bring their own grills.
Biking is also a popular activity that can be enjoyed year-round at Poinsett State Park. Most of the hiking trails are also open to cyclists, including the Palmetto Trail and the Knot Trail. If you plan to go biking in the Manchester State Forest, you'll need to acquire a permit. Want to take your cycling obsession to the next level? Visit the park during The Knot Mountain Bike Race event in early spring. The winner of this killer 12-mile course will get a cash prize, and an intense workout to boot!