The state parks in South Carolina have been a good value for the money. We started out at Sesquicentennial State Park in Columbia, where the campsites were laid deep with fragrant pinestraw, and there was a pretty lake with good trails. The rangers in this park were always about and were uniformly friendly.
Next we moved to Givhans Ferry State Park, which is on the Edisto River (the longest freeflowing blackwater river in North America). We had family join us there for some weekend camping and visiting. Givhans has nice trails, but Joe and the boys (and their uncles and cousins) spent more time just off trail collecting firewood than doing anything else.
Edisto Beach State Park is in a higher fee tier, but still only $25/night with standard hookups. The water has been warm enough for my polar bears, who enjoyed their first taste of ocean since February in Southern California. The beach is a short hike or ride from the inland (Live Oak) campground, through quickly changing live oak forest, palmetto hammock, and reedy salt marsh habitats. Joe was scouting for firewood when he surprised a venomous snake, so we stuck to the path after the first day.
Almost as good as the scenery in the park was the beauty of the drive to get there. Ancient live oaks reaching out across the road turned some bits of highway into romantic tunnels, with dramatic curtains of Spanish moss.
And now we're tucked in at my brother's for Thanksgiving week. The weather has gone from sunny and warm (shorts and sunblock) to grey and just chilly enough to enjoy a fire in the fireplace. It's a pleasant time of year to be here, and the South has its own special loveliness. Happy holidays, everyone!