Congaree National Park
A 30-minute drive outside Columbia, South Carolina lies Congaree National Park. As much as I love my cities, I love a good getaway just as much. There’s something so refreshing and calming about being in nature, making Congaree the perfect afternoon excursion. Not wanting to get lost, we started our trip at the visitor center. The guides gave us maps and told us what trails were better for sightseeing and which featured more unique trees. In the words of the guide, “you can see pines anywhere, you don’t want to see pines you want to see other trees”. Upon their recommendation, we chose to go the boardwalk route, and were given a pamphlet to reference during our walk, with explanations of different trees and how they ended up in Columbia.
Our walk was pretty shady, which kept us cool, despite the 75-degree day. Columbia has a tendency to flood when it rains and our visit was the day after rain. The elevated paths made the walk so much easier, especially because we read the black mud reaches 8 feet deep (yikes!). We didn’t get more than a mile before we came across some mud we weren’t willing to go through, so although we cut our walk short it was still a great experience. The trees were incredible; tall and continuing for miles every direction you looked. We weren’t the only visitors with cameras – almost everyone else we saw was taking pictures of the trees and hoping to get a few snaps of the birds or butterflies (I failed at this venture but I did get some good pictures of the trees).
It was such a welcome break from the usual and I would definitely recommend checking it out if you’re in the area. What are some other great national parks on the East Coast I should be on the lookout for?