Tucked away on the western banks of the Broad River in Irmo, SC, just a few miles away from Columbia and Chapin, Harbison State Forest is a favorite destination for motorhome camping enthusiasts in central South Carolina. Located in the suburbs of the State’s capital, finding this lovely forest is easy for the adventurers seeking an escape from the hassle and bustle of city life. When you book an RV in Irmo, you’ll begin to understand why this forest has long captivated the attention of explorers and travelers alike.
Encompassing more than two thousand acres of woodlands, meadows, and bottomlands, Harbison State Forest is named after Samuel P. Harbison. Harbison contributed the majority of the funds needed to acquire the land where the forest now stands. Currently, this charming forest is a hotspot for hiking, biking, and nature studying. The adjacent Broad River is popular with fishing, canoeing, and kayaking. On the other hand, Lake Murray and Dreher Island State Park are a hotspot for hiking, fishing, and scuba diving.
The main draw to Harbison State Forest is the fact that it neighbors Broad River, which is famous for smallmouth bass fishing. If you’re the kind of angler who loves catching a variety of fish, don’t fret. The adjacent lake Murray is dotted with a wider variety of fish, which includes largemouth bass, channel catfish, and trout. Lake Murray also allows visitors to get close to the colorful fish as they scuba dive in the blissful waters.
Boating is just as popular as fishing in the region. Whether it’s boating, kayaking, or canoeing, paddling across the deeper waters is immensely relaxing. Don’t have a boat? Don’t worry, the marinas by the lake offer boat rentals and public ramps where you can launch your boat. If paddling is not your thing, book a luxurious sunset dinner cruise and explore the lake in style with your better half.
Carry your best-hiking boots while camping at Harbison State Forest as the forest is perfect for long slow walks. Start your day hiking the easy 4.2 miles Firebreak Trail that meanders through the woods. This trail is scenic, and in case you need some rest, there are several picnic pavilions and restrooms along the path. For more hiking and wildlife watching, head over to the expansive Congaree National Park and hike under the canopy of some of the tallest hardwoods in the southeast.
Camping at Harbison State Forest
After renting an RV, you’ll soon be looking for a convenient spot to camp in your Irmo camper rental. One place to check out near Harbison State Forest could be Broad River Campground and RV Park in Winnsboro. Open year-round, this pet-friendly campground is graced with ample-sized gravel sites. Laundry, fire rings, and firewood are just some of the amenities in store for campers. Children have a large playground to themselves, and the whole family can enjoy traversing the diverse nature trails in the area.
Another campground worth considering is Barnyard RV Park in Lexington. What makes this park popular with Columbia campers is its size and the closeness to the state’s capital. Interior roads are easy to navigate your travel trailer, and there are no overhead obstacles. Campers enjoy facilities like full hookups, a fitness room, and propane. For resupplies, there’s a flea market and a Walmart nearby.
Exploring the Area
When RV camping at Harbison State Forest, try to spare some days and explore the neighboring attractions. A few miles away lies the Frankie’s Fun Park, one of the most visited fun park in Irmo. Featuring go-karts tracks, mini-golf courses, and a drop tower, this local park has something for everyone. After all the fun, spend your afternoon at the nearby Irmo Town Park. This park comes complete with a gazebo, water features, and an amphitheater where the family can watch a concert. Irmo Town Park is also a perfect wedding spot.
The Riverbank’s Zoo and Garden is an awesome place to add to your bucket list if you’re an animal lover. Don’t forget a good camera to take images of different animals like giraffes, koala, and whales. Later, take a stroll around the gorgeous botanical garden enjoying the garden-fresh air. If not afraid of heights, take a zip line ride above the zoo’s grounds on cable lines that run from one treetop to the next. Afterward, wander the Columbia streets and take your pick among the long list of great restaurants for a meal.
The best way to learn the history of South Carolina and the scientific advancement is by touring the South Carolina State Museum. Located at the heart of downtown Columbia, you’ll get to experience the interactive exhibits, watch a show about astronomy in the planetarium, and also enjoy epic views of the city’s skyline at the observatory.
Should time allow, drive your rental RV to the Columbia Museum of Art. Some of the highlights here include some of Vincent van Gogh’s paintings. Why not soak up South Carolina’s political history by taking a guided tour of the South Carolina State House? If you’re a culture buff, don’t leave the area before attending at least one of the numerous Columbia festivals that happen throughout the year.