Located in the eastern part of Charleston County where the South Santee River meets the Atlantic Ocean, Santee Coastal Reserve includes a piece of the mainland and two barrier islands that can be accessed only by boat. It is a great place for nature lovers – there are plenty of paths and boardwalks leading through the woods, swamps, channels, and rivers. Very quiet, private, and serene.
Location and Access
Santee Coastal Reserve is located in the far eastern corner of Charleston County, South Carolina. You can find it at 220 Santee Gun Club Road, McClellanville, South Carolina, which is off US #17.
The reserve is open during the daylight hours. Before entering, it is necessary to get free daily use cards – you can pick them up at the entrance. Admission and parking are free.
Santee Coastal Reserve offers tent and RV camping sites in the shade of large oak trees. The sites are spacious and can accommodate rigs of any size. There is also plenty of space between the sites. The campground is clean, well-kept, and quiet. There are neither hookups nor any facilities but there are some fire rings and picnic tables.
When you arrive you’ll need to fill out a registration card. You can stay for four nights at no charge.
Hiking and Biking
You can use all the service roads for hiking and biking. It is a great place for a peaceful walk through the woods as well as for a nice scenic ride. There are several marked trails:
- the 1.6-mile Eldorado Trail (purple) running through pine forests;
- the 2.3-mile Woodland Trail (blue) running through pine forests;
- the 1.7-mile Big Well Trail (green) leading through marshland at the South Santee River;
- the Marshland Trail (orange) including a 1.9-mile trail and a boardwalk leading to a freshwater swamp;
- the longest trail is the Ormand Hall Trail (red) that runs for 6.2 miles through all of the abovementioned habitats.
Fishing and Hunting
The reserve is also a nice place for fishing and hunting.
Naturally, there is a lot of wildlife in the reserve, including wild boar, alligators, and a variety of bird species, especially shorebirds and warblers. Many visitors come for birdwatching during the winter months.
In addition to the other natural treasures, there are some isolated beaches in the reserve.
Good news for dog owners – you are allowed to bring your four-legged friends with you!
To reach the beach, you can drive till Santee Coastal Reserve campground, leave your car and swim by boat. There are no boats for rent in the coastal reserve, so you need to take yours with you.
- 1 hour from Charleston, SC
- 2 hours 40 minutes from Wilmington, NC
- 3 hours 55 minutes from Charlotte, NC
Additionally, there's a number of beaches near Santee Coastal Reserve Beach which you can visit: