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Go Hiking or Canoeing at Congaree National Park In SC

Located just a 15-minute drive from Columbia, Congaree National Park in South Carolina is a must-see destination for outdoor lovers. Spanning nearly 27,000 acres, it is the largest expanse of old growth hardwood forest remaining in the southeastern United States. Stop by the Harry Hampton Visitor Center first to pick up maps, information on guided tours and a schedule of ranger programs. Ranger-guided canoe tours are a fun way to learn more about the park and the natural history of the region.

If you prefer canoeing or kayaking on your own, rent equipment in Columbia and paddle along the Congaree River Blue Trail. With miles of acres to explore, hikers can choose from the Oakridge Trail leading to old-growth forests or the King Snake Trail, where you’re likely to catch glimpses of native birds and wildlife. Designated as an International Biosphere Reserve, the park is an important research center for naturalists studying wildlife and the area’s ecosystem. The bookstore, operated by the National Park Service, offers a variety of books about the park and the surrounding region. Pick up nature-themed gifts, snacks and essentials like sunscreen and insect repellant.