Calhoun Falls State Park

Abbeville - Calhoun Falls SP - 04 marina

It was a hot day in July when I visited Calhoun Falls State Park and I didn’t give it the due it deserved, but I did enjoy my visit. They have a nice visitor center and store that I visited. I took a walk around the swimming area as well. There’s a nice beach with shower facilities. Close to the ranger station and shore are picnic tables shaded by tall trees with great views of Lake Russell. There’s even a marina.
I’m told the campground is one most popular ones in the state. If it hadn’t been so hot, I might have asked if a space was available, but one probably has to make reservations for the sites here.
The park is located on Lake Richard B. Russell created by the Russell dam, one of several on the Savannah River. There’s an overlook of the dam south of US72. The park occupies one of the many points that jut out into the lake.
Along with swimming facilities, the park offers fishing, equestrian trails, and hiking trails, one I had to pass up on, but next time. There’s also a tennis court and a playground and plenty of views of the lake.
The park is also referred to as Calhoun Falls State Recreation Area.

How to Get There:
Calhoun State Park is off SC81, north of where it intersects with SC72 in the town of Calhoun Falls.

Links:
Calhoun Falls State Park
Calhoun Falls SP Video

What’s Close By:
Sumter National Forest
Mt. Carmel Park
Lake Russell

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St. Helena Island

Beaufort - St. Helena - Fort Fremont 2

I’ve usually only driven through St. Helena Island on my way to Hunting Island State Park. I think one impetus that prompted me to explore more of the island was Fort Fremont. I’m a sucker for old forts. Then I discovered the Chapel of Ease. Not to be missed also is the Penn Center, located not far from the Chapel of Ease.
St. Helena Islands lies close to Beaufort. It sits between the mainland and the barrier islands like Hunting Island and Fripp. Though 64 square miles in area, it isn’t densely populated nor does it have expensive island developments like Hilton Head. Driving around the island I found a field of colorful flowers and a large fenced in orchard. It was a pretty place for a nature drive.
The island has quite a history. The Spanish were the first to explore here, establishing a colony at Port Royal. Then came the French, then it went back to the Spanish until the British got it, but lost it in the American Revolution.
As the land is similar to West Africa’s rice region, slaves from Africa were brought over. Their knowledge of growing rice made it an important crop. From the mix of cultures here and the islands seclusion led to the Gullah culture.
Other crops grown here were, indigo, spices, and cotton.
Several films were made here including one of my favorites Forrest Gump.
On my trip I visited the Chapel of Ease taking in the early morning sun. I missed the Penn Center because I was so early. A flat tire in the afternoon made me go home, but that was the worst of my trip. I stayed on Dr. Martin King, Jr. Drive/State Road 45 to Fort Fremont. The name of the road changes to Land’s End.

How to get there:
St. Helena’s Island is east of Beaufort on US21.

Links:
St. Helena Island

What’s Close By:
Hunting Island State Park
Beaufort

Boat Ramps and Landings

a Edgefield - Stevens Creek Park - 01 Stevens Creek

Boat Ramps and landings may not sound terribly exciting unless you have boat, yet since I’ve been actively exploring South Carolina, I find myself following the river and lake access signs to see what I may found. Some offer nature views of rivers and environs. Others I’ve found a bit junky with trash. I’ve encountered the former more than the latter so I continue making my way to those ramps even if they end up being nothing more than a gravel parking lot with a cement ramp leading into the water. There may not be scenic views, but I’ve come across interesting sights like the line of vultures sitting on a boat trailer.

a Charleston - US174 - Dawho River Bridge 02

Then again there have been landings with awesome views of the rivers especially in the morning when mist rises up from the water and birds swim, slow, across a lake. I haven’t found one with a walking path yet, but I think there’s one in Horry county.
When your out on your day drive, look for the boat ramps or river access signs and make your way over. Several have picnic tables and make for a nice rest stop.

a Berkeley - Bonneau Beach - Lake Moultrie 02

This web sites lists a number of boat landings. The department of natural resources has a list too, but I haven’t been able to link to it.
http://www.scgreatoutdoors.com/hb-rivers.html