Congaree National Park
Since 2003, South Carolina has an additional National Park, namely the Congaree National Park. The park is one of the smallest National Parks in the US, at just 89 square kilometers. The Congaree River flows through the park making it a fertile area with lush flora and beautiful fauna.
This park contains the last piece of hardwood primeval forest, called old growth forest, which means that this forest has existed for centuries and has retained its unique and original characteristics. Mainly deciduous trees grow here, of which the bald cypress is the best example. This beautiful tree only occurs on swampy ground and can grow up to 40 meters.
In terms of wildlife, you might encounter bears, coyotes and lynx on land. Snakes, turtles and alligators live in the waters of the Congaree River or one of the beautiful creeks. You can take a beautiful walk in the park on the specially constructed paths. The Boardwalk Loop is a popular walking path, where you can explore nature on your own through the swampy surroundings. Want some more action? Then get on the water! You can explore the swamp under supervision by boat or canoe.
Fort Moultrie National Monument
Are you interested in all things war related? Then the Fort Moultrie on Charleston Harbor is a must-see. This area was vital for South Carolina to protect, especially during the American Civil War. When South Carolina withdrew from the Union, it was here in the mid-19th century that it fought against the northern United States.
As early as the 18th century, Sullivan’s Island, on which Fort Moultrie is built, was used to keep the British out. Hours of fighting were the order of the day, but the resistance persisted and the British withdrew. When peace was restored, one of the forts was named after the commander at the time of the battle against the British, one William Moultrie. When the American Civil War broke out, Fort Sumter and Fort Moultrie were heavily bombed, but miraculously the defenses stood.
Fort Moultrie at the time of WW II
At the time of World War II, Fort Moultrie was found not to have all the modernized equipment with which to attack the harbor. The Fort continued to function as a checkpoint during WWII. For more than 171 this fortress played an important role in the defense of the US, which is why it has great historical value.
A visitor center and a museum have been built to make people aware of the important role this fort played for America. This National Monument also possesses the largest collection of coastal defense mechanisms in the entire US.
Savannah River National Wildlife Refuge
In 1927, the Savannah River National Wildlife Refuge was established near the city of Savannah, Georgia. Are you near the Georgia border? Then enter a land of deciduous forests and wetlands, home to many animals such as crocodiles, salamanders, the majestic bald eagle and many other species of birds.
The park is 118 square kilometers in size, 61 square kilometers of which is in South Carolina. Almost 100 kilometers of water flows through the park: streams and creeks run through the park everywhere. Many birds, including mallards, migrate to this area every year to hibernate, making it an excellent place for bird watchers.
In the park you can walk and cycle to explore the area. There are several routes that you can follow through the park, including The Cistern Trail and the Tupelo Trail. Fishermen can also indulge themselves here. They can fish here for most of the year just fine freshwater.