congaree national park with kids

Tips for Visiting Congaree National Park with Kids

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Heading to Congaree National Park with kids and wondering what to do with kids in Congaree National Park? You’ve come to the right place! From kid-friendly hiking trails to the Junior Ranger program, we have some tips for visiting Congaree National park with kids.

How to get to Congaree National Park

The closest major airport to Congaree National Park is Columbia Metropolitan Airport, about 30 minutes from the park. Since we were visiting Charleston and Savannah on our trip, we opted to fly into CHS which is 1.5 hours from the park entrance.

If you are driving, nearby cities that are 2 hours or less from the park are Columbia, Charleston, Augusta GA and Spartanburg.

Best time to visit Congaree National Park

The best time to visit Congaree National Park is spring (March to May) when temperatures are still mild and not as hot and humid as the summer months. We didn’t have much of a choice since we were in the area in August, and we were shocked that it was 73 degrees on the day we visited, not humid at all and a nice, cool breeze for hiking. We somehow didn’t experience the heat and humidity during our entire week in SC and GA at all and it was August! 70s and low 80s the entire time we were in the area. So don’t be scared to come in the summer, I’m hearing lots of the same reports from others.

Where to stay when visiting Congaree National Park

Camping near Congaree National Park

Congaree National Park has two designated campgrounds, Longleaf and Bluff campground. You need reservations for these so make sure to make them well in advance if you’re traveling during the busy season.

Best family-friendly hotels near Congaree National Park

Looking for the best family-friendly hotel near Congaree National Park? Your best bet is going to be the city of Columbia. We stayed at the Courtyard Marriott Columbia Cayce which was just 20 minutes to Congaree National Park.

Things to bring when visiting Congaree National Park with kids

  • National Park Journal: This is the journal we bring on all of our National Park trips and Milana fills it out as we go.
  • Sun hat: Don’t forget a hat for your kids, we love the Sunday Afternoon ones.
  • Sunscreen: Especially if you are coming in the hot summer months!
  • Bug spray: There are lots of biting insects here, don’t forget to bring bug spray!
  • Water shoes: It may be wet on the ground, depending on when you go. Be sure to have shoes that dry fast!
  • Binoculars: Milana loved having her binoculars to see the different animals and insects.

Books and games about Congaree National Park

Things to do in Congaree National Park with kids

The most popular thing to do with kids in Congaree National Park is hike. There are several kid-friendly hiking trails in Congaree National Park for you to enjoy.

Best kid-friendly hiking trail in Congaree National Park

  • Boardwalk Loop: This is the most popular hiking trail in Congaree National Park, located just outside of the visitor center. This is a 2.4 mile loop trail, and it’s dog friendly so if you have your furry family member with you, they can join you on this walk.
  • Weston Lake Loop Trail: This 4.6 mile loop trail hikes along a boardwalk. Make sure to check conditions before hiking here, as it is subject to flooding.
  • Sims Trail: This trail is 2.4 miles and out and back. The best scenery is at the beginning, so don’t feel like you have to do the entire trail if you just want to see some animals.
  • Bluff Trail: This is a 2.1 miles loop trail that will take you to the Bluff campground.
what to do in congaree national park with kids
Boardwalk Loop Trail
what to do in congaree national park with kids
Boardwalk Loop Trail
what to do in congaree national park with kids
Boardwalk Loop Trail
best hiking with kids congaree national park
Bluff Trail
best hiking with kids congaree national park
Sims Trail

Junior Ranger program in Congaree National Park

Congaree National Park has a Junior Ranger program, just like all of the other National Parks. Be sure to stop at the visitor center and pick up your activity book and badge!

Where to eat with kids near Congaree National Park

There aren’t many places to eat near the park, since it’s in such a secluded area. Your best bet for food will be Columbia and if you plan to eat while in the park, it’s bets to pack your own food.

Have you been to Congaree National Park with kids? While unlike other parks that I recommend making a special trip for, I personally would only visit this park if already in the area since it’s small and not as much to do as the other parks. We had fun exploring for a few hours but it’s not one we would return to. Want to save this post to read later? Pin one of the images below!

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