I had an extra 2 days and someone suggested this park so I booked for a Thursday and Friday night. There are 2 things I would have changed — reserved the north campground instead of the south campground and stayed longer. If you love wildlife, this is definitely the place. However, the south campground is just an ugly parking lot with kids and bicycles everywhere. For a real camping experience with grass and no neighbors right in your face, get the north campground.
Both campgrounds are within easy walking/biking distance from the beach, nature trails, gift shop, and Atalaya Castle. Dogs are allowed leashed outside but not in the gift shop, bathhouses, or Atalaya Castle. I probably would have had a better experience but check in didn’t go well so it tainted my feelings for the next 2 days. Don’t rely on the staff in the office/gift shop to give you the correct information — check with the South Carolina State Parks web site. She told me golf carts didn’t need to be licensed but I wasn’t allowed to use my electric bicycle while there. What! First of all, golf cart drivers anywhere in the state of South Carolina need to be licensed (state law) and secondly, there were electric vehicles all over the place but I didn’t want to start anything for only 2 days so I let it go.
Also, the gift shop has nothing in the way of food or RV supplies, just t-shirts, souvenirs, postcards, some drinks, so don’t rely on getting things while there unless you go out of the park. There is a lot of wildlife protected so definitely keep your dogs leashed and walk them in the southerly direction from both campgrounds because there is protected beach farther north. Atalaya Straight Road is a fun half mile walk on a paved sidewalk into the swamp. We saw a 10 foot alligator only about 30 feet away. And lots of birds everywhere. I didn’t get to see my beloved roseate spoonbill but I saw lots of herons and egrets.
The South campground is just a single lane road in/out and trying to back in to your spot with traffic behind you is a little unnerving. Then, I had a guy shout that there was a kid on a bicycle behind me while I was backing up. Well!!! Move your kid so I can park. Especially as there was a truck behind me waiting to go. And unless you keep your windows shaded and doors closed, you are going to see and hear everything the neighbors do and vice versa.
- Wildlife and nature trails
- Full beach access
- Historical things to sightsee
- Choices on type of site you want (2 campgrounds) if not during peak season but stays pretty booked all year
- Busy and staff don’t seem particularly customer friendly
- South campground has tight spots and only one road in/out
- Dogs aren’t allowed in some of the tourist sights