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Explore All National Parks in South Carolina (2024)

Steeped in history, six of the seven South Carolina’s National Park sites are dedicated to events in our nation’s history. It is also home to one the south’s few National Parks, Congaree.

We’ve enjoyed visiting almost all National Parks in South Carolina on our travels as there is always something new to see and learn.

When planning a visit here, get ready for battlefields, forts, historic homes and beautiful loblolly pine trees!

Table of Contents

Fort Moultrie entrance US Flag on a clear blue sky day
Fort Moultrie

How many National Parks are in South Carolina?

There are actually seven National Park locations managed by the park service in South Carolina. This includes one designated National Park, Congaree National Park.

You will also find a National Battlefield, two National Historic Sites, a National Military Park and two National Historic Parks.

List of National Parks in South Carolina

  1. Charles Pinckney National Historic Site
  2. Congaree National Park
  3. Cowpens National Battlefield
  4. Fort Sumter and Fort Moultrie National Historic Park
  5. Kings Mountain National Military Park
  6. Ninety Six National Historic Site
  7. Reconstruction Era National Historic Park

National Historic Trails

  1. Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail

Map of National Park sites in South Carolina

Pavillion at Charles Pickney NHS
Pavillon at Charles Pinckney NHS

Charles Pinckney National Historic Site

This park houses the location of the plantation owned by Charles Pinckney, a principal author and signer of the US Constitution. He was also a prominent politician and landowner in South Carolina. He owned several houses and plantations, which meant he was also a sizable slave owner. 

Park Details


The grounds are beautiful and even a visit when the home is closed is enjoyable. Spanish moss can be seen on trees as you walk around the grounds and can be a nice respite during the day. 

While only a small portion of the original plantation is part of the park, it still provides a place to reflect on the history of the region.

Trees and forest at Congaree National Park
Congaree National Park

Congaree National Park

The only designated National Park in South Carolina, Congaree National Park is a unique place that is worth a visit. Holding the largest continuous tract of southern old-growth forest, the park was established in 1976 after a sustained local effort to environmentalists.

Park Details

  • Operating Hours:  Park Open 24×7, Visitor Center hours vary
  • Harry Hampton Visitor Center:   100 National park Rd. Hopkins, SC 29061
  • Entrance Fees:  No entrance fee is required
  • Activities: Hiking, Camping, Fishing, Kayaking, Wildlife viewing 


One of the main draws is the firefly festival in the spring. You can walk through specific trails surrounded by a canopy of firefly lights! Reservations are required, and the dates change each year depending on the conditions in the park.

Check out our first time visit guide which includes a cool high-speed video of the boardwalk trail.

Cowpens National Battlefield

One of three Revolutionary War battlefield sites in South Carolina which also includes the Overmountain Victory National historic trail, the Battle of the Cowpens took place later in the war. The events down here in South Carolina had a strong impact on the war and lead to events and actions allowing the patriots to achieve victory in Yorktown.

Park Details

  • Operating Hours:  9:00am – 5:00[pm  Wed – Sun
  • Visitor Center:  4001 Chesnee Hwy, Gaffney, SC 29341
  • Entrance Fees:  No entrance fee is required
  • Activities: Hiking , Wildlife viewing, Driving Tour


There is a 3.8 mile driving tour along the perimeter of the battlefield.  The website and NPS app have an audio tour of the battlefield which includes talks at five stops along the route.

View of external Fort Sumter from water on sunny day
Fort Sumter

Fort Sumter and Fort Moultrie National Historic Park

Comprised of three locations around Charleston Harbor, the park includes Fort Sumter, which was besieged at the start of the Civil war. Fort Sumter can only be visit via Ferry. 

There is also a visitor center in liberty square in Charleston, which has amazing exhibits and displays as well as one of the two locations to jump on the Fort Sumter ferry. Finally, Fort Moultrie on Sullivan’s island, provides a great overview how our defensive structures have evolved from the American Revolution through World War II.

Park Details


If taking the ferry from Patriot’s Point, you can also tour the aircraft carrier Yorktown (CV-10) and the Destroyer USS Laffey. Both have incredible stories from their deployments during World War II. Note, it is recommended to have reservations in advance for the ferry ride to Fort Sumter.

Inside Fort Sumter, a profile picture of a 15" Rodman Cannon with Park ranger in the background speaking to a crowd.
Ranger talk inside Fort Sumter

Kings Mountain National Military Park

The first major patriot victory after the invasion of Charleston in 1780, the park highlights this major Revolutionary War battle. 

Park Details

  • Operating Hours:  9am – 5pm, 7 days a week
  • Visitor Center:  2300 Park Road, Blacksburg 29702
  • Entrance Fees:  No entrance fee is required
  • Activities: Hiking , Wildlife viewing, Horse trails, Fishing, Camping, Cycling


There is a 1.5-mile self-guided battlefield trail that takes you along the park.  You will find monuments and information signs along the route to learn more about the battle. Note, the state of South Carolina has a state park less than 3miles of this National Park site.

Ninety-Six National Historic Site

This location highlights the struggle of the first western settlers in the region as they lived in the backcountry and established a bustling town.

The Fort repelled attacks by the local Cherokee Indians, as they were being encroached by the settlers.  It was also the site of the longest field siege during the Revolutionary war.

Park Details

  • Operating Hours:  9:00am – 4:30pm Wed – Sun
  • Visitor Center:  1103 Hwy 248, Ninety Six SC 29666
  • Entrance Fees:  No entrance fee is required
  • Activities: Hiking , Fishing, Bird viewing, Self-Guided Tour, Museum, Horseback riding

Why is the park called NinetySix?

Charleston traders from the early 1700’s thought it was about 96 miles from there to the Cherokee village of Keowee in the South Carolina Foothills.

brick building with three arches and round centerpiece in courtyard
Reconstruction Era Visitor Center

Reconstruction Era National Historic Park

A multi-location park around the coastal town of Beaufort, South Carolina, which was one of the first areas freed from slavery by Union soldiers in Nov, 1861.  There are four locations that helps tell the story of the integration of former enslaved people into society.

Park Details

  • Operating Hours:  Park Open 9am to 5pm,  Mon – Sun
  • Old Beaufort Firehouse Visitor Center:   706 Craven Street, Beaufort SC 29902
  • Entrance Fees:  No entrance fee is required
  • Activities: Ranger tours, Historic homes visit, Hiking


Check out the visitor center in downtown Beaufort, which sits in the old Firehouse. It has some great exhibits to explain the period of reconstruction and how it ended with the Jim Crow. Several historic buildings are within walking distance of the Visitor Center in case you do not have time to visit St. Helena Island or Port Royal.


What is the largest National Park in South Carolina?

Congaree National Park is by far the largest in area, with over 26,692 acres. While not as massive as some of the other National parks, it is larger than all the other South Carolina parks combined.

How many people visit South Carolina’s National Parks?

While not as popular as some other locations, South Carolina parks attracted over 1.28 million people last year.

Black Rodman Gun Fort Moultrie pointing over battlement
Cannon Placements at Fort Moultrie

As a key point during the start of the Civil War, it should not be a surprise that out of the seven National Park sites in South Carolina. Fort Sumter and Fort Moultrie National Historic Park had the most visitors of the parks in the state with over 411 thousand visits last year.

What was the least visited National Park in South Carolina?

Tucked away in the small town of Beaufort SC, the Reconstruction Era National Historic Park only commanded visits of just over 23,000 visits last year.

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