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Posts Tagged ‘Camping’

Camping in Greenville, SC: 12+ Campgrounds that Are Perfect for Kids

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Want to go camping near Greenville, SC with kids? When it comes to hitting the Great Outdoors with your kiddos for an unforgettable camping adventure, there are lots of wonderful options for you to consider! Our area abounds with family-friendly campgrounds from the primitive to the RV type. Travel a little further for more wilderness or sandy beaches. Read on to learn more about some of our readers’ favorite spots!

For even more outdoor adventure ideas see our page: Things to Do Outside

Camping in Greenville, SC

Hester’s Bottoms: Family-Friendly Lakefront Campground Offers Tons of Fun in Upstate, SC

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Camping can be such a fun family activity to get outside, enjoy nature, and detach from technology. There are lots of great places in our area to go but Hester’s Bottoms in Mt. Carmel, SC is a special campground under two hours from Greenville, SC that we think our readers will really like. 

Camping is truly an enjoyable activity for my kids and I, even though I get so little sleep from a lack of finding a comfy sleeping pad (send recommendations if you have a good one!). I’m always looking for great campgrounds to bring my kids, which usually looks like a good location with either nearby trails in the fall and spring or a lake over the summer, spacious campsites, and a safe environment. 

Hester’s Bottoms in Mt. Carmel, South Carolina checks all those boxes and way more. 


Kampgrounds of America: Our Family’s Favorite Road Trip Lodging

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Kampgrounds of America offers family camping and convenient lodging for families on a road trip. As an alternative to staying on hotels, KOAs offer space, amenities and convenience for families. Plus, KOA campsites and cabins allow you to avoid crowded hotel lobbies and elevators. One Kidding Around contributor used KOAs for lodging along her family’s route to Colorado. Here’s what she loved about using Kampgrounds of America as road trip lodging.


The Davidson River Campground Is Lots of Fun for Kids & Adults

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Are you looking for the best place to camp in the Pisgah National Forest? We visited the Davidson River Campground near Brevard and think that you should consider it for your next camping trip! This campground offers not only hiking but also easy access to tubing.

For even more great camping choices see our list of 12+ Campgrounds Near Greenville that Are Perfect for Kids.

What is the Davidson River Campground

The Davidson River Campground is located in the Pisgah National Forest (off 276) just outside Brevard, NC. It is about an hour and 15 minutes from Downtown Greenville, moments from major grocery stores and dining, and yet seems an entire forest world away. Campers can enjoy wading in the knee-deep Davidson River, diving into the brisk swimming hole, hiking on beautiful mountain trails, tubing down the lazy waterway, fishing for trout, biking through the forest, or simply enjoying the quiet serenity found in the park’s many shaded campsites.


Keowee-Toxaway State Park Is Known for Spectacular Views of the Blue Ridge Mountains

Keowee-Toxaway State Park straddles Cherokee Foothills Scenic Highway (Hwy. 11) between Devils Fork State Park and Long Shoals Wayside Park, one of eight South Carolina State Parks located along the edge of the Blue Ridge Escarpment. Known for spectacular views of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the 1,000 acre park is considered a gateway to the Jocassee Gorges, the area defined by a series of steep-sided gorges delivering mountain rivers and streams down to the Piedmont of South Carolina.

Things to do at Keowee-Toxaway State Park

View of Jocassee at Keowee-Toxaway State Park

Have a picnic

The Park is split by Highway 11, with the picnic shelters located on a short loop to the south. Five picnic shelters are available for rental, and the picnic tables with free-standing grills throughout the park are offered on a first come, first serve basis.

Stop at the Visitor Center

Once you’ve finished your picnic lunch, head across Highway 11 to the north portion of the park. The Park Visitor Center houses exhibits about the natural diversity and history of the park, and its importance as a scientific research destination of the region. If you’re looking to check out the Visitor Center, be advised that office hours are 11 am to noon and 4 – 5 pm. Despite these rather short hours, the Park is open Saturdays through Thursdays from 9 am – 6 pm and Fridays 9 am – 8 pm. Keowee-Toxaway State Park is free to the public.

Hiking & Creek Stomping at Keowee-Toxaway

Mom and two kids splash near a small waterfall at Keowee-Toxaway State Park

There are 5.5 miles of trails in the Park, the two main hikes being Raven Rock Trail and Natural Bridge Trail. The trailhead for these two trails is located behind the park office. Natural Bridge Nature Trail is a 1½-mile loop, and at the far end of the loop is the Raven Rock trailhead, that combined with the Natural Bridge loop provide for a 4.4-mile hike to Raven Rock and back.

Natural Bridge Trail

Hiking the Natural Bridge loop clockwise starts you off along Poe creek and numerous small waterfalls. Soon you’ll come to the intersection with Raven Rock Trail with its views of Lake Keowee, passing rock outcrops and a boulder field before reaching Raven Rock. Looping back to Natural Bridge Trail you’ll cross Poe Creek on the trail’s namesake, an enormous natural rock ‘bridge’ before crossing through an upland hardwoods forest to reach the parking lot.

Lake Trail

The ½ mile Lake Trail departs from the campground, and emerges from the woods near the Villa to Lake Keowee, where guests can enjoy fishing for bass, bream, crappie and catfish.

Keowee-Toxaway is a perfect hike for a spring day; keep your eyes peeled for the wildflowers that enjoy the moisture along Poe Creek, and enjoy the rhododendron and azaleas blooming in late spring and early summer. On a hot summer’s day prepare to cool down in Poe Creek, the irresistible tumble of water making it hard to leave. Autumn brings colorful fall foliage, but catching the right day in winter means less-crowded trails and parking lots – this is a park for all four seasons.

Camping at Lake Keowee

Ten paved camping sites have individual water and electrical hookups for RVs up to 40 feet, while the tent camping area has 14 sites with central water, individual tent pads and fire rings. Restroom facilities with hot showers are available, as well as a dump station. Backcountry camping is allowed at three designated sites on Lake Keowee accessible by a hike on Raven Rock Trail, or by paddling to them in a canoe/kayak. For larger groups a primitive group area is located in the backcountry; registration is required and reservations are accepted.

If camping isn’t for you, reserve the three bedroom villa that overlooks Lake Keowee near the boat launch. The cabin is completely furnished, heated & air-conditioned with all the amenities: linens, cooking and eating utensils, washer/dryer, satellite television, Wi-Fi, two fireplaces and a private boat dock.

Enjoy Lake Keowee!

Boating: Keowee-Toxaway provides non-motorized boat access to Lake Keowee; to launch a motorized boat you have to use the access at Fall Creek Landing, five miles southwest of the park.

Fishing: Fishing is allowed. Bass, bream, crappie and catfish are commonly caught fish.

Swimming: Swimming is allowed, however there are no lifeguards or designated swimming areas in the park; swim at your own risk.

With easy access to Lake Keowee, three beautiful trails with all kinds of unique natural features, and spectacular views throughout the park, Keowee-Toxaway has plenty to offer. We’ve enjoyed our visits in all four seasons, however spring has a special magic with the ephemeral wildflowers blooming and trees budding electric green. Head north to this gem of a state park and experience the magic for yourself!

A portion of this post originally appeared on Femme au Foyer.

Keowee-Toxaway State Park website

Keowee-Toxaway SP trail map

What’s your family’s favorite thing to do at Lake Keowee?

Take a Trip to Caesars Head State Park this Fall

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Dramatic views over the Upstate along with easy access and ample parking make for a winning combination at one of our favorite SC State Parks – Caesars Head!

About Caesars Head State Park

Caesars Head and Jones Gap State Park form the 11,000-acre Mountain Bridge Wilderness Area, and are connected by several hiking trails including the popular Rim of the Gap Trail and Jones Gap Trail. Less than a mile from the Caesars Head Visitor Center is another favorite trail – Raven Cliff Falls Trail, taking you to a platform that looks across the gorge at the 420 foot waterfall.

However, you can get the grand views without the hike by heading to the Visitor Center, where it is only a couple hundred feet from the parking lot to the overlook. This time of year you’ll probably meet members of the Hawk Watch program documenting the annual hawk migration; the past few years the numbers of hawks counted peaked a little after mid-September, while large numbers of turkey vultures were seen into November. Bald eagles and even peregrine falcons can be seen during these months! To get an idea of how the migration is progressing this year, check the daily tallies; those can be viewed on the Hawk Count website. Also see our article on the Hawk Watch at Caesars Head for additional information and educational resources.

Autumn is a great time to visit for another reason, as the fall foliage in the foothills can be spectacular while cooler temperatures allow for increased visibility. Views extend over Table Rock reservoir all the way to North Carolina and Georgia. Remember to bring layers, as it is often 10 degrees cooler on Caesars Head than it is down in Greenville.

From the overlook don’t forget to walk the trail around to view “Caesar’s Head” in profile! The trail descends through “Devil’s Kitchen,” a crack in the granitic gneiss rock, and circles around to a viewing area from the side of the outcrop. If you cross US 276 from the Visitor Center you’ll find the trailhead for Frank Coggins Trail, which mostly serves as a connector to many of the Mountain Bridge Wilderness Area trails, but is also an easy hike in a less crowded section of Caesars Head.

Amenities at the State Park include restrooms, picnic tables and the Visitor Center, which houses exhibits, hawk displays and a variety of souvenirs. For those looking for a longer hike, or reservations at one of the 18 backcountry campsites, check in at the Visitor Center for trail maps and information.

Plan your own trip to Ceasars Head

Directions: From Greenville take Hwy. 276 W for about 30 miles. The parking lot and Visitor Center is located at the top of the mountain, 3 miles before the NC border.

Hours and Admission: Trail access cost: $3 adults; $1.50 SC seniors; $1 ages 6-15, ages 5 and younger are free

Days and Hours of Operation: 9 am – 9 pm, daily during daylight saving time. 9 am – 6 pm, daily, the remainder of the year. Trails close one hour before dark, year round.

Visitor Center Hours: 10 am – 5 pm Monday – Thursday and 9 am – 5 pm Friday – Sunday. The Visitor Center and gift shop are closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day, however the park remains open on these days.

Pets are allowed in most outdoor areas provided they are kept under physical restraint or on a leash not longer than six feet. Owners will be asked to remove noisy or dangerous pets or pets that threaten or harass wildlife.

This article was originally published on Femme au foyer.

Does your family love Caesars Head as much as mine does?


Paris Mountain State Park

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Are you looking for the perfect park to visit? Local mom Sherrica is sharing her review of Paris Mountain State Park.

The weather is warming up and many families are looking for outdoor activities. There is a place within 15 minutes of downtown Greenville where your family can enjoy an array of fun-filled activities. Paris Mountain State Park is overflowing with possibilities for the outdoorsy family looking to explore.

My daughter and I took to the trails a few days ago. We didn’t know what to expect, but we weren’t disappointed.