Sunday, May 23, 2010

Aiken State Natural Area, South Carolina. Part II. The Campground and Setting Up.

Click here for the first post in this series.

site 12 a Back around the loop, I drove directly to campsite # 12. As described on the reservation website, it’s a level pull-through. Ideal for RVs of the Aliner size. The hard-packed sand surface easily supported even the Aliner’s little front wheel. Everything neat and clean, which makes for a nice welcome.

The Park maintains primitive campgrounds, some that hosts groups. But the RV camping area here is quite small. Only 25 sites. Each with electricity and water. All now reservable.

another site The campsites are laid out in a circle that surrounds an attractive central area. I didn’t look at every site. But those I saw looked pretty much like the one above. All were appropriate for comfortable RV camping. Though some might challenge drivers of huge motor homes.

Like some of the other State Parks CarolinaConsidered has visited, Aiken State Natural Area isn’t for RV campers who usually camp at and enjoy busy “full-facility” commercial campgrounds. With their concrete sites, elaborate children’s play areas, put-put golf courses, restaurants, and comprehensively stocked campground stores.

Campgrounds where every precaution is taken to insulate RV camping guests from forests, wetlands, or even woods. Let alone the full-time resident critters who call such places home.

Aiken State Natural Area isn’t like that at all. Here every effort has been made to allow RV camping visitors access to the hardwood and dry sand hill pine forests, the bottomland, and even the river swamps that surround them.

And to minimize activities here that would interfere with efforts to learn from and enjoy this remarkable natural environment. Nobody here will try to sell you a golf shirt, or encourage your children, for a fee, to bounce on a huge rubber pillow!

central picnic area This campground’s designers didn’t waste the area circumscribed by the campsites and road. It’s carefully landscaped with straight, tall pines, and many other species positioned here and there for best effect. This gives every campsite a nice view of the dry sand hill pine forest aspect of this Park.

fire pit benches Here’s a closer look at the central picnic area. The first of its kind that I’ve seen. Note the big stone fire pit, the surrounding in-place benches, and the electrical connection on the right hand side. Oh, that and one of four horseshoe pits. Talk about an inviting picnic spot!

bath house 2 The bath house and restroom building is positioned a discreet distance away. With shower and washing facilities fully renovated just this March. The brand new ceramic tiling and shiny fixtures were a real treat. Have a look here:

That’s all we have time for today. Lots to see and do here at Aiken State Natural Area. So stay tuned!

Click here for the next post in this series.

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