Nature, History Highlights of Charleston Area Parks

We’re fortunate here in the Charleston region to have public parks ripe for exploration. They are not only beautiful places to visit but many are rich in history, culture and environmental resources. Here are three parks on the outskirts of Charleston you can put on your must-visit list:


Caw Caw Nature & History Interpretive Center

Photo/Charleston County Parks

Caw Caw Nature & History Interpretive Center has more than 6 miles of trails, elevated boardwalks through wetlands areas plus exhibits, displays and programs. The park is a former 18th and 19th century rice field and is filled with alligators, swallow-tailed kites, bald eagles and other rare wildlife.

The park is part of the Charleston County park system so admission is just $1 (free for children 2 and under). Caw Caw Nature Center is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. Dogs and bicycles are not permitted. The park is located at 5200 Savannah Highway (Highway 17 South) in Ravenel.

Old Santee Canal Park is a 195-acre park in Moncks Corner celebrating the area’s rich history and habitat. Among its attractions are the Stony Landing House, built in 1843, and 4 miles of boardwalks winding through the backwaters of Biggin Creek and its surrounding swamp. Be sure to visit the Interpretive Center that chronicles the area’s history as far back as 4000 B.C., including the 1863 construction of the Little David, a semi-submersible Confederate torpedo boat used in the Civil War. The Berkeley County Museum and Heritage Center is also located within the park’s gates.

Visitors can enjoy canoe and picnic shelter rentals as well as audio tours and scavenger hunts. The Berkeley County Museum and Heritage Center includes exhibits and artifacts about Brig. Gen. Francis Marion (known as “the Swamp Fox”), American Indians, Colonial life, the Civil War, early medicine, rural electrification, early education and the Francis Marion National Forest. Please note, the museum is closed on Mondays.

The park is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Admission is $3 per person; $2 for seniors and groups and free for children 6 and under.

Givhans Ferry State Park

Photo/South Carolina State Parks

Not far from Summerville, you’ll find Givhans Ferry State Park a peaceful retreat situated at the end of the 21-mile stretch of Edisto River ideas for kayaking and canoeing that begins at Colleton State Park. The Edisto is the longest free-flowing, blackwater river in North America and it is a highlight of this state park. The park has cabins, a shaded campground, a nature trail and picnic shelters. Visitors can enjoy kayaking and canoeing, trails, fishing and more.

Park hours vary depending on the season, and admission is $2 adults; $1.25 South Carolina seniors; and free for ages 15 and younger. Pets are not allowed in the cabins or the cabin areas. Pets are allowed in most other outdoor areas provided they are kept under physical restraint or on a leash not longer than six feet.

Let us know if you visit one of these parks and what other parks you like exploring while in Charleston.