Congaree National Park, No Paddle Necessary

After working from 7 pm til  3am on a Saturday night at one of the busiest night club in South Carolina, we decided to take a road trip up to Congaree National Park. I was worn out from the busy night of work.  The Congaree National Park is the  largest remnant of old-growth floodplain forest remaining on the continent. It’s about a two-hour drive from Myrtle Beach and located right outside of Columbia, SC. Shawn did some research and found out that they offer free canoe trips guided by the park rangers. Have to make reservations ahead of time in order to do this activity. The park is way out in the middle of nowhere, which is the type of places I love to visit when on road trips.. Once we arrived at Congaree National Park (around 9am) ,  we had to sit in a class room and get the run down on the park and how our canoe trip was going to go. There was about 14 people in our group, the ranger asked the group who had experience canoeing, Shawn and Josh both raised their hands quickly like little children at school that knew all the answers in class.

After the brief discussion we had to get back in the car and follow the tour guide down to where we put the canoes in the water. We had light rain during most of the canoe trip. I was selected to be in the canoe with the park ranger while the “experienced” Shawn and Josh were in their own canoe. The water was a little low that day, so Shawn and Josh had a hard time getting around in the water. Out of all the canoes, they had the most weight in their canoe. When the water is low it take more time and effort to navigate around the shallow spots on the river. The Congaree National Park had a lot of shallow spots and broken tree limbs in the water. For most of the canoe trip, Shawn and Josh were way in the back and it was hard not to laugh at them. The park ranger had incredible paddling skills to the point that I decided to lay my paddle down and enjoy the scenery. We saw a few snakes hanging in trees, and we also saw a beaver dam which was a first for me. We were on the water for about 2 hrs and we covered a lot of water. The video below was shot from Shawn and Josh’s canoe.

I highly suggest taking a trip up to Congaree State park. The canoe trip was totally free and worth riding down the river in the rain.

Congaree National Park Trip

We took a trip to the Congaree National Park this past fall during a very rainy Sunday morning. This trip was also done iron man style. We worked at the club from Saturday 7pm to Sunday 3am and left for the trip around 5 am in the morning. Congaree National Park is right outside of Columbia, South Carolina which is about a three and half hour drive from Myrtle Beach. It is out in the middle of nowhere, down an old country road. Once again our Garmin came into great use with not getting lost on the way.

We had called in advance to their office to set up a time(9 am) for the free guided canoe trip they do for visitors of the park. This is a great thing they do for the public and I think any family should take this free opportunity. The canoe and gear are all provided for the 2 plus hours on the river, all you do is bring yourself. The guide was very knowledgeable and a 15min lecture was done before getting on the water. That day all together we had about a group of 15 people along with us, The water level was low that day, the next time I do this again I plan on going right after a heavy rain storm. It made it a little harder to navigate around the obstacles when the water level was low especially when two people in the canoe are around 200 lbs each. So Josh and I were pretty much in the back of the pack much of the morning. Nick had an easy time because he was with the guide on the river. I don’t think he even paddle that much during the whole time. We had a great time on the river, we saw a few snakes and a beaver dam. No gators were around so do not worry about that. Below is a very short clip of the canoe trip, we could not film more due to the heavy down pours at some times. The park do the canoe trip rain or shine but not when it’s lightening.

It was around noon when we were done with Congaree National Park and decided to go into Columbia for some food. I heard that Pawleys Front Porch had the best burgers around so we decided to go there. The burgers were great I just wished that I would have ordered the deep-fried pickles as a side too. We plan on going back in a few weeks when we visit the zoo in Columbia. I’ll make sure that I take some photos at that time.