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Congaree National Park

Congaree National Park, just a few miles from Columbia, South Carolina, is an old-growth forest that contains some of the tallest trees east of the Mississippi River. The park also has abundant wildlife, including bobcats, deer, and feral pigs. You can also enjoy a variety of activities at the park, including hiking, fishing, and canoeing.

About the Park

Congaree National Park, located in central South Carolina, is a 26,276 acre park, designed to preserve old growth bottomland hardwood forest. This temperate deciduous forest contains some the tallest trees in the eastern United States.

Although thought of as a swamp, Congaree National Park is designated as an old growth forest. It has a number of champion trees. At least 15 of which are the tallest examples of their species. In addition, some of the cypress trees are over 500 years old.

Wildlife in Congaree National Park is plentiful. You can expect to see larger animals, such as deer, feral pigs and dogs, bobcats, and armadillos. The waters of the park have turtles, snakes, alligator gar, and catfish.
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What to Expect

Weather at the park is best described as humid and subtropical, with hot and wet summers, and relatively mild winters. In the summer, insects can be exceedingly aggravating. Consequently, the best times to visit are in the spring and the fall. Because the park can flood without current rainfall, it might be best to call ahead and check conditions prior to visiting.

Most visitors tour the Congaree National Park along its boarded walkway, the Boardwalk Loop. This trail covers 2.4 miles, and takes you thourgh the swampy backwoods of the park. You can also enjoy a volunteer-led hike that covers longer trails well of the Boardwalk Loop.

For canoeing and kayaking, you can take the Cedar Creek Canoe Trail. The waterway travels about 15 miles through the Congaree Wilderness, starting at Bannister's Bridge. You'll need your own kayak or canoe for this trip, unless you want to pay for a professional outfitter. Be aware that, along the way, you'll encounter a number of potential hazards, like snakes, stinging insects, downed trees.

Directions and More

  • Take Exit 5 off Iterstate 77 onto South Carolina Highway 48 East/Bluff Road.
  • Drive 8 miles, and veer right onto Old Bluff Road.
  • Drive 4.5 miles until you see the park sign on the right.
  • Drive one mile to the Harry Hampton Visitor Center, where you'll find ample parking.

  • Congaree National Park is open year-round, 24 hours a day.
  • The park has no entrance fee. Visiting is free.
  • Flooding can occur rapidly. Check water levels at Cedar Creek and on the Congaree River before visiting.
  • WiFi is available at the Harry Hampton Visitor Center 24 hours a day.
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This is a fantastic place to enjoy the culinary delights of Charleston! The atmosphere is fun, yet professional. The food presentation is lovely. I ordered a Petit Filet (8 ozs.) with yummy brussels sprouts and a simple green salad with a yummy dressing, and a glass of Sauvignon Blanc to top it off. The menu is extensive and the service is excellent. Thank you Hall's for a lovely meal!
Amazing Diner at Hall's Chophouse. Sue9832, Trip Advisor