Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Congaree National Park


The coming Fall is a perfect time to visit Congaree National Park in Hopkins, SC just outside of Columbia. When we were there this summer it was incredibly buggy and we had just missed the unique show offered here in the summer months... the synchronized lightning bugs that are known to flash in an awesome display. There are only a few spots in the US to see these amazing bugs and this is one of them. It's also the site of the nation's tallest loblolly pine tree. This park is just an incredibly diverse property and, at over 26,000 acres, there's a lot of ground to camp, fish, hike, and canoe.

A South Carolinian named Harry Hampton (for which the visitor center here is named - see below) started working to preserve this area in the 1950s and the land was officially named a national park in 1976. I love the 2.4 mile board walk here and I would recommend it if you are only spending a few hours in the park. The park is free of cost including the guided tours. 

September is a great time for butterfly sightings here. The park is offering two chances for free programs that are specific to butterfly study.


Congaree National Park
100 National Park Rd. Hopkins, SC 29061
110 miles from Charleston, SC (2 hours) and just 25 minutes South of Columbia, SC
Admission: free
Hours: the park is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The Harry Hampton visitor center is open from 9-5. Effective October 5, 2013 the center will be closed on Sunday and Mondays and all Federal Holidays.

PMK dog Winston approves! Dogs are welcome if kept in check and on a lead. (currently on a trial basis through October 1, 2013)
Fishing is allowed (currently on a trial basis through October 1, 2013)
*be sure to pack bug spray year round!

There are no canoe rentals at CNP, but you can bring your own.
*the south cedar creek canoe launch is temporarily closed for improvements.   click here for details on where to launch a canoe or kayak at Congaree National Park

click here for more information on Congaree National Park

click here for upcoming butterfly programs at Congaree. These programs meet at 9am at the visitor center.

learn more about conservationist Harry Hampton here

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