Driving / RVing: Beware of the roads and large rig navigation in central South Carolina. Case in point, our experience about 15 miles away from our camping destination of Poinsett State Park. We were using google maps (I neither use it or iphone maps any longer) to navigate our final few turns toward the park. It took us through a one way road about as wide as our rig with really low hanging power lines that almost caught on our front A/C unit! Also, there were telephone poles placed at the edge of sharp hairpin turns.
Camping: Poinsett State Park. This was a wonderful find and you can’t beat the $19 per night. It is actually one of only 3 campgrounds within 30 minutes drive of Congaree National Park. There are about 30 sites with water/electric and it has a dump station. At the park, you can walk down to the lake and visit the old mill ruins along the river behind the visitor center. Be sure to bring plenty of bug spray! The bugs and flies definitely seem to like to get out during both dawn and dusk hours. During the actual daytime they were non-existent.
Congaree National Park for kids: we decided to just do the short 2.5 mile boardwalk loop hike. We were happy to stay on the boardwalk and not trek through the swamp when we saw a rather large Water Moccasin, also known as the Cottonmouth snake, down below us. The boardwalk was a fantastic and fun hike for our little kids. We made a game out of finding the 20 numbered site markers where we would stop and read the information from the self-guided tour. Be sure to also find the Mosquito Meter that is updates daily! Fortunately for us it was only at a 2. I can’t imagine the days where it is a full force 6!
Local eateries: we didn’t find much in the ways of local restaurants. You could always venture into Columbia which is about an hour away from poinsett and 30 minutes from Congaree, but we only had booked 2 nights in the area. There are a few smaller grocery stores close to the state park.