One of the lesser known parks in the South Carolina system, Barnwell State Park near Blackville, South Carolina is one of 16 state parks built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the Palmetto State during the Great Depression and features some great CCC era buildings which are still used today.
The park covers 307 acres and features two fishing ponds, great walking trails and a chance to enjoy the great outdoors, usually without large crowds.
When I used to work in Blackville, I drove down at least once a week at lunch time to have a picnic and get out of the office for a few minutes. Many days I was the only person at the park it seemed and it never seemed crowded.
Hours and Fees: Admission is free! But donations are accepted.
The park office is open daily from 11 a.m. to noon and 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. The park itself is open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. (extended to 9 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays during Daylight Saving Time). For more information call the park office at (803) 284-2212.
Fishing: Cast a line from the fishing pier of the 16-acre lake for large mouth bass, crappie, bluegill and catfish, or try your luck in the adjacent 8-acre lake. A valid South Carolina fishing license is required.
Contact the park at (803) 284-2212 for instructions about bringing your own boat. If you don’t have a boat with you there are some non-motorized boats available for rent at daily or hourly rates.
The park’s four picnic shelters can be used on a first-come first-served basis if they are not already reserved for private use.
The Dogwood Interpretive Trail loops around one of the two ponds for an easy/moderate 1.5 mile hike. Many of the trees and shrubs are marked to help all you weekend botanists with identification. In the thick wooded areas of the trail you’ll see yellow jessamine, wild orchids, hollies, poplars and large oaks and pines, among other flora. You will also see plenty of birds also around the lake and in the surrounding pine/hardwood forests.
Camping Info: The park campground features 25 gravel RV campsites with water and electrical hookups. The campground is near restrooms with hot showers, and features picnic tables and fire rings. Rates range from $10 to $13 per night (plus tax) depending on the season and type of site.
The park also has five cabins which are available and sleep a variety of sized groups and are located near the larger lake.
Getting there from the CSRA
Take US78 east from Augusta to Blackville, SC. At the junction of SC3 (the only stoplight in Blackville) turn right and follow SC3 approximately 3 miles to the park.