The Ultimate Guide to RV Camping in South Carolina

Travel Inspiration

Headed on an RV camping trip to South Carolina? South Carolina is a beautiful state that’s definitely worth exploring on a road trip! Quaint coastal towns, historical sites, and bustling cities like Charleston and Myrtle Beach all make South Carolina a great place to vacation.

You’ll want to do some planning before heading on a trip to South Carolina. This guide will help! We’ll show you everything you need to know to plan a trip to South Carolina.

Preparing for RV Camping

The first thing you’ll need to do when planning your trip is to ensure you have everything you need. If you don’t have an RV, you can rent one from RVshare. Then, you’ll want to make sure you have it packed with everything you’ll need for your trip.

Choosing the right RV for your needs

As you choose an RV rental for your trip, you’ll want to think about how large of a rig you need. If you’re traveling with a large group of people or a big family, you’ll need a Class A motorhome or a fifth-wheel trailer. If you’re camping solo or with one other person, a campervan or pop-up trailer will suffice.

Think about where you’re camping with your RV. If the campground is small, you’ll need a smaller rig. You’ll also want to consider how you’re getting around after you set up camp. If you tow a trailer, you’ll have your vehicle to use at your destination. If you’re camping in a large Class A motorhome, you may need to tow a vehicle behind you to use. You might also check whether your campground has good public transportation or a park shuttle – perhaps you won’t need a vehicle at all.

Finally, consider the amenities you want in an RV. Campervans have very few extras, while some bigger motorhomes and trailers can have multiple bathrooms, a washing machine, and even a fireplace.

Packing essentials for a successful trip

Packing an RV requires a certain amount of thought and skill! You want to make sure you don’t forget anything, but you also don’t want to overload your RV – you still have to drive it there. It might be helpful to make two lists – one for your personal gear and clothing and one for the RV essentials you’ll need for your trip.

Personal Packing List:

  • Clothing – be sure to pack enough for your trip, or enough for between laundry days
  • Toiletries
  • Medications
  • Bug spray or citronella candles
  • Sunscreen
  • First Aid kit
  • Outdoor recreation clothing (hiking boots, bathing suit, or other specialized clothing)
  • Winter or summer accessories (winter hats, gloves, sun hat, etc)
  • Flashlight
  • Entertainment (books, games, movies)
  • Extra batteries
  • Groceries
  • Electronics & chargers
  • Pet supplies
  • Quarters for showers or laundry

When making an RV packing list, you’ll first want to check your listing to see what’s included. Some RV rentals include linens, dishes, and even outdoor equipment. Others don’t include any of those things. Make sure you know what your RV rental already has before packing things to bring with you.

RV Packing List:

  • Pots & pans
  • Dishes
  • Utensils – don’t forget a can opener, bottle opener, spatula, set of knives, etc.
  • Dish towels & sponges
  • Sheets & pillows
  • Bath Towels
  • Tool kit
  • Folding camp chairs
  • Blankets
  • RV leveling blocks
  • Sewer hose and adapter
  • Freshwater hose
  • Surge protector

If you’re afraid you may have forgotten something, check this comprehensive RV packing list to be sure you have everything you need.

Myrtle Beach South Carolina

Considerations for Camping in South Carolina

Now that you’ve figured out which RV to rent and how to pack it, you’ll want to learn the details of driving an RV in South Carolina. Most RV laws are the same from state to state, but there may be small changes. You’ll want to know South Carolina’s specific rules of the road so you don’t get a ticket!

The maximum width for an RV in South Carolina is 102 inches, and the maximum motorhome length is 45 feet. The maximum trailer length is 48 feet. The maximum height for an RV is 13 1/2 feet. You cannot triple-tow in South Carolina. Passengers are allowed to ride in truck campers. Overnight parking in rest areas is prohibited.

As far as general driving laws in the state, when your wipers are on, your headlights need to be on. A right turn on red (after coming to a complete stop) is allowed unless posted otherwise. All passengers in front seats need to wear seatbelts. Children under four need to be in child-restraint safety seats, and children ages 4-6 years old need to be in child-safety seats or wear seatbelts.

Researching campground options and making reservations

As you begin to look at campgrounds in South Carolina, you’ll want to consider the activities you want to do and the places you want to see. This will help you determine where you want to camp in the state. After you’ve narrowed down where you want to camp, you can start your search for campgrounds. Several websites can help you with this task. Hipcamp, The Dyrt, and Roverpass can all describe campground options to you and help you decide where to stay. These sites are also set up to take online reservations. KOAs are a fantastic family option and often have swimming pools, laundry, showers, and even planned events at the campgrounds. Harvest Hosts offer camping at farms, wineries, and other scenic places.

Finding Campgrounds

Depending on where and when you plan to camp in South Carolina, you’ll probably want to make reservations. This is especially true if you’re visiting during a popular time of year like spring break or summer. Fortunately, there are lots of South Carolina campgrounds you can choose from! If you want a glam experience, try luxury camping in South Carolina at places like Hilton Head Harbor or the Willow Tree RV Resort and Campgrounds. You can go urban camping at the Barnyard RV Park or the Myrtle Beach KOA Resort.

Exploring public campgrounds in South Carolina

Public campgrounds are a wonderful option if you’re traveling on a budget. These tend to be less expensive than private campgrounds, but they also have fewer perks. Public campgrounds in South Dakota include campgrounds at national and state parks, in national forests, and in other publically-funded areas.

cypress forest and swamp of Congaree National Park in South Carolina

National Park Camping

Congaree National Park is the only national park in South Carolina. There is no RV camping at the park, however. There are also several national historic sites, historical parks, and other national sites. Those include:

National Forest Camping

South Carolina’s national forests are another excellent option for public camping! Francis Marion National Forest is north of Charleston. Most of the forest has grown up since Hurricane Hugo devastated the area in 1989. You can hike, boat, mountain bike, or go target shooting, and there is an off-road trail for ATVs and dirtbikes. Sumter National Forest has a mountain biking trail system. There are also lots of water activities along the Chattooga River, including rafting and fishing.

State Park Camping

State parks are a wonderful place to find public campgrounds and South Carolina’s state parks are no exception! Relax along the shore at Edisto Beach State Park. Visit Givhans Ferry State Park in Ridgeville for exciting outdoor activities and views of nature. Or check out Hamilton Branch State Park for fishing, lakeside camping, boating, and more.

Exploring private campgrounds and RV parks

If you think you might prefer the amenities of a private campground in South Carolina, like showers, laundry facilities, and dump stations, there are lots of those as well! You can go glamping at places like Briarcliffe RV Resort which has bingo, ice cream socials, line dancing, and planned events. Ocean Lakes Family Campground has an oceanfront playground, outdoor recreational games, and a mini golf course.

Boondocking in South Carolina

Is getting off the grid more your style? Check out one of South Carolina’s many boondocking options! Boondocking allows you to camp for free, with few or no amenities available at your campsite. Halfway Creek Trail Camp is tucked into the Francis Marion National Forest and has hiking and mountain biking. The Marsh Wildlife Management Area near Gresham has fishing, boating, and birding. Grapevine Campground in Sumter National Forest has no services, but you can head to the wilderness for hiking and fishing.

Folly Beach pier

Planning your itinerary

After finding your RV and campground, your next step is to plan your itinerary! There are lots of museums, amusement parks, national sites, and other fun landmarks to visit in the state – your biggest challenge will probably be figuring out how to narrow down your options.

Features and attractions in South Carolina

Beginning your South Carolina vacation with a drive along a scenic byway will give you an appreciation for the state’s beauty and charm! The Ashley River Road Scenic Byway is likely the oldest road still in use in the state – construction was completed on it in 1721. You’ll drive past historic churches, public gardens, and other historical sites.

You’ll also want to see some of South Carolina’s landmarks. The Beaufort Historical District on Port Royal Island has many older buildings, which were preserved during the Civil War because the town was occupied by Union soldiers who did not destroy them. The USS Yorktown is an aircraft carrier that served the U.S. Navy during World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. It was also used as the recovery ship for the Apollo 8 space mission.

Finally, check out some of South Carolina’s national sites, like the Ninety Six National Historic Site which preserves the original site of the town of Ninety Six, SC. The town was established in the early 1700s and was a strategic point for the British during the Revolutionary War.

Festivals, fairs, and events in South Carolina

You may want to plan your camping trip around an event in South Carolina. The South Carolina State Fair happens each October, and there is camping on-site at the fairgrounds. The Charleston Wine and Food Festival takes place each spring and is a great time to explore Charleston. The Carolina Country Music Festival in Myrtle Beach promises a great time enjoying country music and coastal living.

If you decide to rent an RV to enjoy an event in South Carolina, you might even find an owner who is willing to set up your rental for an extra fee. That way, when you arrive you can get right to the fun!

Exploring Outdoor Activities in South Carolina

You’ll definitely want to take some time for outdoor activities in South Carolina! The area’s forests, mountains, lakes, and oceans will entice you outdoors for some fun adventures.

Hiking, biking, and nature trails

Hiking is one of the best, most inexpensive ways to enjoy nature! Hit the trails with one of these beautiful strolls through South Carolina.

If you prefer biking to walking, here are some great options for mountain biking trails in South Carolina.

If these trails don’t suit you and your family, hundreds more suggestions are available at AllTrails. You can search by difficulty, mileage, location, and other parameters.

Fishing, boating, and water activities

If you want to spend some of your South Carolina vacation time on the water, you’ve got lots of options! You can go fishing at Myrtle Beach or on one of the state’s many lakes, like Lake Murray or Lake Jocassee. Relax on South Carolina’s top beaches like Hilton Head or Litchfield Beach. You could also spend the day at one of the beautiful waterfalls across South Carolina, like Opossum Creek Falls or Laurel Fork Falls.

Wildlife viewing and photography

You can view lots of wildlife in South Carolina! On land, look for bears, weasels, beavers, deer, bobcats, foxes, and a variety of birds. You can also watch the waters for dolphins, whales, and other sea life. Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge is a prime spot for seeing sea and shorebirds, sea turtles, and dolphins. Congaree National Park, Lake Murray, and Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge are also excellent locations for viewing wildlife.

Family-friendly activities and attractions

Traveling with family to South Carolina? There are plenty of family-friendly attractions and sights to entertain people of all ages! Whether you’re headed to Charleston, Columbia, Myrtle Beach, or anywhere else in the state, you’ll find lots to do.

Historical sites and museums

It’s always nice when you can combine fun with a little learning as well! Check out national sites in South Carolina like Reconstruction Era National Historical Park or Historic Camden Revolutionary War Site.

You can also check out the excellent museums in South Carolina for more educational trips. Some of the best museums include:

  • Railroad Historical Center
  • North Charleston Fire Museum
  • Coastal Discovery Museum
  • Children’s Museum of the Upstate
  • Columbia Museum of Art
  • Myrtle Beach Pinball Museum

Amusement parks, zoos, and wildlife refuges

If your family wants to spend a day on thrilling amusement park rides, South Carolina also has plenty of those! Family Kingdom Amusement Park & Splashes Water Park in Myrtle Beach has hair-raising roller coasters, kiddie rides, and a water park where you can cool off in summer. Discovery Island Waterpark in Simpsonville is run by the county parks and rec department and features a lazy river, a tube slide, and a surf simulator.

Want to take your family to the zoo? Riverbanks Zoo & Garden has more than 3,000 animals representing over 400 species. The Greenville Zoo is a zoological garden that kids of all ages can enjoy.

Safety and Preparedness when RV Camping in South Carolina

While you’re sure to have a great time in South Carolina, you do want to be aware of safety threats so you can be prepared in case of an emergency! Here are the top natural disaster and weather threats, and what you can do to be ready.

Weather conditions and natural disaster preparedness

Some of the most common natural disasters in South Carolina include hurricanes and tropical storms, wildfires, and flooding. If you are in the state when there is a hurricane or tropical storm threat, the best thing you can do is leave the area before the storm hits. If you’re unable to leave, move to higher ground. Don’t stay in your RV during a hurricane, but seek shelter in a sturdier building. Move away from the coast and stay away from hills that could have landslides. Stay away from windows, and close curtains to protect the area from broken glass.

When camping during the summer, be sure to check any fire restrictions for the area of South Carolina you’re visiting. Know how to light and put out a campfire safely. Also, make sure you check weather conditions before you start a fire – dry, windy days are not a good time for a fire.

Wildlife encounters and precautions

You may encounter wildlife while exploring South Carolina’s national and state parks, national forests, and other areas. Don’t let small children or dogs run ahead of you on hiking trails. Try to make enough noise when hiking that you won’t startle an animal. Read posted warning signs and follow instructions on what to do if you encounter a wild animal. Also, give animals plenty of room and don’t get too close.

An RV camping trip to South Carolina is guaranteed to make memories for you and your family! Whether you explore the state’s many parks, the historic cities, or the other fun attractions in South Carolina, you’re sure to have a great time. Hopefully, this guide has helped you to plan an incredible trip!

More Inspiration for Your South Carolina Travels

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