Congaree National Park & Columbia, SC

Some of the beauty of being an RVer is that your plans are never really thwarted. They may have to change last minute, and we may end up visiting an unexpected place; but the overall goal of experiencing something new will still be met. As we make our way down the East Coast, we had our hearts set on visiting Charleston again. We had been there before, but it was during a tropical storm so our time there involved pelting rain, fierce wind and no boat to Fort Sumter. This time around we were fully expecting to realize that dream of visiting Fort Sumter and strolling Charleston’s beautiful rainbow row in the sunshine. As it would happen, our hopes for another visit to Charleston were disrupted when Chris’ hard drive crashed delaying our departure. Our new schedule would put us in Charleston over Memorial Day Weekend. Well, that just wasn’t going to happen. We could not find a single RV spot anywhere near Charleston, so we had to fix our sights elsewhere. Elsewhere turned out to be Columbia, SC, a trip to a floodplain forest, a visit to the home of the Gamecocks and a different spot impacted by the Civil War.

Congaree National Park

Congaree is an old-growth forest that lies in the floodplain of the Congaree and Wateree Rivers just outside of Columbia. It is a very flat area and the frequent flooding here continually changes the landscape. Congaree is recognized as an area of champion trees including a cypress tree measuring over 27 feet in circumference and a loblolly pine at 169 feet tall. It is also renowned as one of the few areas on the planet for synchronized fireflies. Each year, fireflies gather in Congaree and at some point during late May/early June their lights are synchronized together. Flash on, flash off. All together. Wouldn’t that be incredible to see? We missed it by 2 days this year, but maybe we will catch it another time. Here is a closer look at Congaree and its beauty…

McKissick Museum & USC

After Congaree, we decided to head in to Columbia to visit the University of South Carolina. McKissick Museum on campus is free to the public and there is a front desk manned by students to help visitors. It is a small museum with just a few exhibits on wood workers, impressionist paintings of the South, natural history and USC memorabilia. I was hoping for more on the history of South Carolina, but I think the State Museum would be a better option for that. Regardless, we enjoyed the building’s architecture and free exhibits…

mckissick museum university of south carolina

After the museum, we strolled along the horseshoe…

university of south carolina

We then visited the fountain…

university of south carolina fountain

And the Longstreet Theatre (completed in 1855) used by Southern and Northern forces during the Civil War…

university of south carolina theatre

And even Greek Row…

Greek Row university of south carolina

As you can see, it is a lovely campus worth an afternoon stroll and a great wrap-up to our time in Columbia.

Next stop, Andersonville Prison, GA.


Additional Information

  • We stayed at The Barnyard RV Park for $31.00 a night. Although a large campground (200 spots), it was very quiet and the spaces were large. There was a mix of permanent locals and travelers from all over the country.
  • There is a canoe path on Cedar Creek inside Congaree National Park park that would be idyllic with the still waters and cypress trees. You can rent a canoe nearby in Columbia.

About Jen

I love travel, which led me to become a fulltime RVer. I love wellness, which I can talk about 'til the cows come home. I love being self-employed, which means I get to dabble in what interests me from essential oils to RV planners. But most importantly, I love my husband and our life together on the road!

3 comments on “Congaree National Park & Columbia, SC

  1. Absolutely gorgeous and breathtaking. I just love traveling with you both from the comfort of my couch. Great article, Jen!

  2. I was giggling to myself about the Memorial Day campground disconnect. We had to be out of ours for the weekend and finding a place to be was challenging. We ended up at a scuba diving quarry. My husband was all smiles.

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