Well, not quite first impressions. I drove over once for a quick look around a couple of years ago while camping at Keowee-Toxaway State Park. That impression was favorable, and I recall putting Table Rock on the “must-visit” list. It’s taken this long to get here! South Carolina’s full of “must-visit” places. In fact, that list got too long to be useful, so I’ve abandoned it.
The drive up exceeded expectations. Routes 56, 9, 156, and Highway 11 all are worth a trip just for the drive. The scenery along the way is quite different from other parts of the State. Well, the commercially planted pine forests are about the same. But the farms on either side of the road are quite different. I was tempted a number of times to stop to ask questions and take photos. But drove on, fearing I might be misunderstood.
I arrived at just 2:00 p.m., and drove to the West Road Gate. The Park was surprisingly busy. Several cars were ahead of me, checking in with the volunteer attendant at the gate. He told me the swimming area was the main attraction. No wonder. Hot as the dickens out. Even at this altitude.
The road to the White Oak campground loop and campsite # 97 passes right by the swimming area. It was packed then! Its main parking lot was full, and the swimming area itself was cheek-to-jowl crowded. With both adults and children. Lots of the sort of noise one likes to hear coming from such facilities.
Here’s a short video featuring the swimming area taken later. Can’t usually include people in these photos or videos, so they have to be done later or earlier than the rush.
Table Rock maintains two campground loops. You’ll pass the entrance to the first on your left as you drive in from the West Road Gate. That’s also the location of the Camp Store here. I had a look at that loop later on. Quite a few of its sites were occupied. Must be the more popular of the two.
Here’s a short video that shows Campsite # 97 and its surroundings.
If you really would prefer to be camping at one of those antiseptic “full service” commercial campgrounds, with restaurants, miniature golf, and a go-kart track, this isn’t the loop for you. Either camp in Table Rock’s A section, near one of the recently renovated bath houses. Or, wait until the Park’s budget allows the on-going renovation program to complete this area and its bath house.
If, however, you value the opportunity to camp quite comfortably as close to nature as you can get, with very few distractions, then you’ll be delighted with the White Oak Campground. Those of you pulling trailers will be pleased with the large number of pull-through sites here. And with the surrounding scenery.
That’s all I have time for now. Stay tuned, though. Next we’ll learn more about the Park and its development from Park Manager Mr. Poll Knowland.