NPS Getaway of the Month: Congaree National Park

Head to South Carolina to explore this wild expanse of untamed forest

National Park Service

Every month the National Park Service highlights one of our nation’s most notable parks. This month’s featured escape boasts over 26,000 of untamed forest in South Carolina.

Situated just 20 minutes southeast of the state’s bustling capital city, in the southeast United States Congaree National Park is the largest remaining area of old growth bottomland hardwood forest.

National Park Service

Congaree is considered one of the most diverse forests in North America. The park houses 22 different plant communities, many of which were saved from loggers by conservationists who lobbied to protect the park until the late 70’s and early 80’s when it was finally designated as an International Biosphere Reserve and then eventually recognized as a national park in 2003.

Of course, opportunities for excitement within Congaree extend far beyond the brush. Outdoor enthusiasts will find an array of activities to choose from. The park can be explored by foot via hiking trails or by boat via the Cedar Creek. Explorers can expect to see wildlife like red-shouldered hawks, wild turkeys, white-tail deer, river otter, heron, and sometimes even alligators.

Popular routes include the 2.4-mile boardwalk loop, which provides day hikers with a short-but-sweet snapshot of all the park's best features, and the Congaree River Blue Trail: a 50-mile paddling course that begins in Columbia and takes canoers and kayakers downstream to the park where they can then access any of its pristine hiking trails by foot.

National Park Service

With plenty of campground space available, visitors are welcome to set up camp and spend a night within Congaree’s wilderness, and for the more courageous vacationers backcountry camping is permitted, too.  

A rich history, boundless biodiversity, and many miles of wilderness to be explored make Congaree the perfect getaway for nature lovers, history buffs, and active adventurers alike.

Click here to learn more about planning a visit to Congaree National Park.

Past NPS Getaways:
NPS March Getaway: Horseshoe Bend National Military Park


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