With two lakes, two rivers, two canals, a vast swamp, 450 miles of shoreline, and 171,000 acres of land covered by 756 billion gallons of water, Santee Cooper Country is a mélange of fishing, boating, paddling, camping, hunting, hiking and practically any other type of outdoor recreation that you can name.
The Intracoastal Waterway begs to be explored from Buck Hall boat launch on the Francis Marion, or perhaps you’d prefer to paddle, hunt or fish the three rivers on the Enoree Ranger District. Nine rifle ranges will help maintain your aim for hunting season. There are hiking trails, campgrounds and picnic areas, a human-made shell ring built 4000 years ago, fishing rodeos and waterfowl hunts, and an environmental education center.
The High Hills of Santee are dotted with the hiking and biking trails that wind through the park – some of which connect to the Palmetto Trail that leads hikers through the Manchester State Forest. Poinsett’s 10-acre lake makes for a serene setting, and can be used for fishing and johnboat rentals. The park also offers campsites, a fishing pond, a coquina bathhouse built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s, pre-revolutionary grist mill ruins and rustic cabins.
Santee State Park sits along Lake Marion. Locals know the lake for its abundant population of large catfish. Santee State Park camping is offered on the lake, but for guests who prefer to spend the night indoors, rondette cabins, 10 of which sit on piers over the lake, are available. Other amenities and activities found in the park include biking and hiking trails and pontoon boat tours of the flooded cypress forest on Lake Marion.
Frequented by nature photographers from all over for its unique landscape and dynamic ecosystem, the swamp at Beidler Forest offers a beauty unsurpassed by any other nature sanctuary in the South Carolina Lowcountry. Here, 1,000-year-old trees and native wildlife abound in a pristine sanctuary that has been untouched for millennia.
Explore the black water swamp on a flat bottom boat amidst blooming azaleas, camellias and other native flowers and flora featured in the gardens. Enjoy 3.5 miles of nature trails, experience our amazing butterfly house with over 12 species of butterfly and the reptile center and aquarium.