Santee State Park is a gem of South Carolina. Santee campers get a taste of all different kinds of natural beauty in the 2,500-acre park. Explore the thick woodlands, boat on the state’s largest lake, and tour the flooded cypress forest. Thirty miles away is Orangeburg, a small, bustling college town. Drive about 70 miles, and you'll find yourself on the coast in Charleston.
Whether you're most excited to fish off the wheelchair-accessible pier right next to the park store, bike on a nature trail, swing a tennis racket, or go geocaching, there are activities for everyone at Santee State Park. Search for an RV in Orangeburg County and get your adventure started.
Step out of your RV rental and go for a trek on one of the four trails in the park. While all the trails are considered easy, you'll get to experience various terrains, including wooded areas, swamps, near-desert spots, and pine forests. Along the way, you'll likely see deer, wildflowers, and even a few sinkholes.
Hop on your bike and cruise down the seven-mile-long bike trail. Ride through the pine and hardwood forest dripping with Spanish moss. The trail is mostly level and an easy ride. Get ready to see gorgeous views of the expansive lake and cypress trees along the way.
If you prefer to be on the water, Lake Marion is the place for you. Sitting next to Santee State Park, the 110,000-acre lake draws locals and visitors alike. You’ll find plenty of space to fish, whether it’s from your boat or off the pier. Record-size largemouth bass have been caught in Lake Marion, which seems fitting, as it’s the largest lake in the state. Santee campers can also expect to catch a variety of other fish, such as striped bass, trout, and catfish. The cypress forest sits right in the middle of Lake Marion and can be seen from the pier or accessed with kayaks and canoes for an intimate adventure. Want to see osprey nests, alligators, and other wildlife up close? Claim your spot on a pontoon boat for a two-hour wildlife swamp tour.
There are also plenty of things to do and see with the kids. Swimming areas and three playgrounds are just a couple of activities at the park. You can also learn about the limestone in the region from an educational display next to a limestone sinkhole along one of the hiking trails. Enjoy the evenings by roasting marshmallows around one of the fire pits with the whole family.
Camping at Santee State Park
Camping at Santee State Park offers boundless adventures and relaxation. RV campers will find everything they need for their stay. The park includes two campgrounds. The Cypress View Campground on the west side of the park has 50 sites, and the Lakeshore Campground on the east side of the park has 108 sites. Choose from 48 RV sites at either campground. Each RV site has 50-amp service and accommodates vehicles up to 40 feet long. Sites also have picnic tables and water hookups. Campers looking for an accessible site should contact the main office directly.
Restrooms and showers are located at both campgrounds. Wi-Fi is available at three different spots in the park: the visitors' center, park store, and the village round. Feel free to bring your pet in the camping areas; just keep them on a leash or crated.
Exploring the Area
Santee is known for its golf courses, so grab your clubs and head to the green. While it’s a small town, Santee offers a variety of restaurants. Choose between tacos, a fresh salad, pad thai, or just the classic shrimp and grits. While you’re in town, stock up on all the necessities at the town’s superstore, or one of the local grocery stores. If you get back to your RV rental and realize you forgot something, stop by the park store.
Nature lovers should consider checking out Santee National Wildlife Refuge, located on the north shore of Lake Marion. You can expect to see animals indigenous to the area, such as the endangered American alligator, along with migrating neo-tropical birds who are just passing through. Take some time at the refuge to learn from the visitor center’s exhibits, hike on a trail and take photographs, or go on a tour with other wildlife enthusiasts.
Want to see some quirky local culture? Head to the teapot museum that's just a few miles from the state park. For a fee, you can walk through the giant teapot-shaped entrance and check out the thousands of teapots, ranging from classic China to Winnie the Pooh-themed. At the museum, it's always tea time, so sit and sip before you go.
Once you’ve finished your time camping at Santee State Park, drive a few miles and hop on I-95 North to Florence or South to Hilton Head Island.