Goodale State Park
Yes, yes and yes! This park has got to be one of the SC State Park’s greatest kept secrets! It was full of adventure, fun, friendliness, and beauty!
It’s tucked away just past Camden – a short drive from I-20. Easy to find, but you will want to arrive right at 11:00 (if you plan to rent a canoe, kayak, or John boat). The office is only staffed from 11-12:00 each day, but if you arrive at other hours, simply drive around and look for the ranger truck.
While we get into the parks for free with our Park Passport, this park is free to all. You can rent boats for about $7.00 per half day.
A couple of notes:
- If we can do it… you can do it! While I like to act big and bold, truth be told, I had never canoed before this adventure. Our oldest wasn’t with us, so my husband and middle child were in one canoe and my 7 year old was my paddling partner (insert eyeroll here). The first 15 minutes consisted of me thinking we would flip the canoe, while she curled up on the floor stating (by stating, I mean screaming!) she didn’t want to canoe EVER again! BUT – by the end of the trip, I felt like a pro and she fell in love.
- While they provide life jackets, bring your own. I was thankful we did… if I am in a lifejacket for the better part of the day, my comfort level and germaphobe self appreciates it.
- There are alligators, snakes, and wasps nest on the canoe trail. My novice canoe skills grew quickly at the thought of running into any of the above. It’s not a reason to avoid this masterpiece of nature, but just a caution (and pack an epipen if you are allergic to wasps, etc).
- Another note – I didn’t realize the canoe trail wasn’t a loop. You actually turn around at the end. Fortunately some kayakers ahead of us gave us a heads up and we were able to turn our canoes in a larger space away from the gators. 🙂 As you pass areas, just remember you will see it again on your way out.
Family friendliness – absolutely! Staff was extremely helpful, there were facilities and a playground, and we picnicked after.
Facilities: There are numerous restrooms, but due to the floods of 2015, the restrooms at the main building are still not working. There are picnic areas, trails, benches and a playground.
Accessibility: GPS found it easily, signs were accurate, and it was just a short drive through Camden off interstate I-20.
Favorite feature: the pond. It’s gorgeous with the cypress trees, etc. I could sit in it all day!
Overall: 10 out of 10! We will go again, and we would go out of our way to go!