Francis Marion National Forest
|Cruising the Intracoastal Waterway|
One of the highlights of Francis Marion National Forest is Buck Hall Recreation Area. It is located on the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway on the site of an old plantation. Buck Hall provides excellent opportunities for campers, picnickers, boaters, nature viewers, anglers, and crabbers. Nearly 300 yards of sea wall provide visitors with cool breezes and spectacular views of the waterway and the Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge.
A popular activity in autumn is shrimp-baiting. Visitors cast shrimp nets and are permitted to keep (and cook!) what they catch. Be aware that during shrimp-baiting season (September-November) the recreation area sustains extremely heavy use of the boat ramp and is often crowded, even during the week.
The Interpretive Area near the entrance off U.S. Highway 17 offers an opportunity for visitors to learn about the destructive winds of Hurricane Hugo and how they impacted the forest.
Buck Hall Recreation Area, open year-round, has 14 campsites with camp pads, picnic tables, fire rings, lantern posts, and electric hookups. Water spigots are centrally located. The bathhouse features warm showers and flush toilets. There is a motor home dump station.
The picnic area has shelters, picnic tables, grills, flush toilets, an accessible walkway, a boat ramp, and a fish cleaning station.
Buck Hall charges a fee for campers and also a parking fee for non-campers. There is a fee for groups to use the picnic shelter. Visitors should use the self-pay station along the drive into the recreation area. Contact the Wambaw Ranger District office for more information.
Directions: From Charleston, take U.S. Highway 17 North to Buck Hall Landing Road (FS 242). Turn right into the recreation area. This recreation area is about 30 miles north of Charleston.
Other recreation and picnic areas on Francis Marion National Forest are:
Huger Recreation Area
Highlights: This scenic shady wayside rest is near Huger Creek outside Huger, SC. It is well suited for group gatherings or a quick picnic.
Facilities: Picnic shelter, boat ramp, spigot water, vault toilets, grills, picnic tables.
Season/Hours: Year-round, day-use area only; camping not permitted.
Directions: Just north of Moncks Corner, on US Highway 17-A. Turn right onto SC Highway 402 and drive 13 miles to the recreation area on the right.
Canal Recreation Area
Highlights: Canal Recreation Area is located between Bonneau and Moncks Corner next to Lake Moultrie. It provides a welcome wayside rest area for travelers along SC Highway 52 and refreshing cool breezes often greet visitors to the area. Canal Recreation Area is the linkage point for the Moultrie and Swamp Fox Passages of the South Carolina Palmetto Trail.
Facilities: Picnic tables, picnic shelter, hand pump for water, grills, vault toilets.
Season/Hours: Year-round, day-use only; camping not permitted.
Directions: From Moncks Corner, take SC Highway 52 north for 6 miles to the recreation area on the left.
Guilliard Lake Recreation Area
Highlights: This recreation area is on the bluff of an oxbow on the Santee River, near Jamestown. The recreation area offers a primitive boat landing and access to the 5-acre Guilliard Lake. It is bordered by the Santee River floodplain forest of bald cypress, tupelo, sweetgum and sycamore.
Facilities: Boat landing, vault toilet, picnic tables, grills.
Directions: From Charleston, take US Highway 17 north to McClellanville and the intersection of SC Highway 45. At the yellow caution light turn left and continue 17 miles to Guilliard Lake Road (FS Road 150). Turn right and drive 2 miles to F.S. Road 150-G. Turn left and continue one mile to the recreation area.
Honey Hill Recreation Area
Highlights: This primitive camping facility is located between McClellanville and Honey Hill. A short camp loop swings through an upland pine/oak forest and encircles a fire lookout tower, which is no longer in use.
Facilities: Hand-pump water, vault toilet, picnic tables, grills.
Directions: From Charleston, take U.S. Highway 17 north to McClellanville. At the intersection of SC Highway 45 (the yellow caution light) turn left and drive 8 miles to the camp.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication