Aiken State Park can be found in the Midlands region of South Carolina, around a thirty-minute drive east of Aiken. Sitting halfway between the busy cities of Augusta, GA, and Columbia, SC, the state park has become a popular retreat for city folk and nature enthusiasts alike.
Built during the early 1900s, Aiken State Park was one of the first state parks to grace the state of South Carolina. Its history traces back to the times of the Great Depression when two Civilian Conservation Corps combined efforts to create an area of isolated natural beauty. For over 100 years now, the park has provided the general public with a picturesque and fun motorhome camping spot. With more than 1,000 acres of landscapes to explore, a winding river, and several lakes, rent an RV in Aiken County and begin your adventure today!
Water-based recreation continues to be the main reason why so many choose to rent a camper near Aiken State Park. Home to four spring-fed lakes and bordered by the South Edisto River, everything from kayaking to white-water rafting, fishing to wild swimming is possible here. Should you have your own kayak or canoe, or have rented one from the park, paddle over to the South Fork of the Edisto River to enjoy 1.7miles of scenic water trails. Leading boaters through ruggedly beautiful swamps and untouched bottomland forest, you’re bound to be wowed by some of the state’s unique flora and fauna.
Although no private boats are allowed on any of the park’s lakes, you are more than welcome to find a secluded spot along the lakes’ shorelines to fish from. Some of the best fishing can be found in the 14-acre Cabin Lake. Don’t be disheartened by its small size as largemouth bass, shell cracker, and bluegill are all restocked here annually. Just remember, you’ll need a South Carolina fishing license for anyone with a rod in hand over the age of 16.
Wild rambling and leisurely board walking are also great ways to pass the time when you’re RV camping at Aiken State Park. There are two main trails enjoyed here, The Jungle Nature Trail and The Old Tory Trail. The former is a three-mile-long dirt track with the occasional boardwalk that introduces walkers to wetlands, pine forests, and heaps of waterfowl. At just two-miles-long, the second trail is equally as scenic and ends up at Cabin Lake. When you’re traveling with kids, or just have a general interest in geocaching, you’ll find a treasure right here in Aiken State Park along the Jungle Nature Trail. Just remember to replace whatever you take with something new and equally as exciting.
Camping at Aiken State Park
When you want to be close to all of the action, there’s only one place to stay, and that is in state park RV campgrounds. Luckily, Aiken State Park has a very scenic campground, though it only accommodates 30 vehicles at one time. All sites are equipped with water and electric hookups, and there’s a dump station on-site too, should you need it. Those without a self-contained RV rental can take advantage of the flushing toilets and hot showers, fire pits and grill facilities.
Should you not be lucky enough to find a space here, then you’ll need to head to the next closest campground, Pine Acres Campground. Facilities here are good, if not a little better than in Aiken State Park. Each of the thirty sites is equipped with full hookups and are for self-contained units only. Unfortunately, there are no communal washroom facilities here. Additional perks include available WiFi, Passport America discounts, and pet-friendly facilities.
Exploring the Area
Aiken County may be known for its luscious forests and hidden national parks, but it’s worth checking out its historical hot spots too while camping with an RV in the area.
Should you only have time to visit one place, then make it to Redcliffe Plantation. Constructed in 1859 by its owner and cotton planter, James Henry Hammond, the site was one of South Carolina’s most prominent cotton plantations. Nowadays, it is open to the public as a museum that retells the experiences of the enslaved workers on the plantation and James Henry Hammond’s work as a congressman and senator. Some of the stories and documentary films act as a somber reminder of the country’s troubled past and can be particularly distressing for children.
For an overview of Aiken County’s history, head to the Aiken County Historical Museum. Housed in Banksia, a 20th-century mansion, visitors can educate themselves on the early pioneer history of the area through to how the county became what it is today. While exploring the displays, take time to appreciate the unique architecture and fascinating interior design of the mansion, the former winter retreat of successful entrepreneur Richard Howe.
To experience something a little different during your Aiken State Park camping trip, head to the DuPont Planetarium and RPSEC Observatory. Learn about the stars, constellations, and planets that shine above us with an hour show in the planetarium before exploring in the sky in more detail with a high-tech telescope. Public shows run on Saturdays from September through to April, but do check out their website for any additional showings, or call ahead to arrange a private viewing.