State Parks Set to Reopen on Friday May 1!

Yippee! If you frequent Sesqui, Dreher Island or any of our awesome South Carolina state parks, you can once again visit them beginning Friday, May 1. There are some qualifiers – for example each park will lower its visitor capacity, only allowing so many park guests at one time. Once that point is reached, they’ll close the park to incoming guests until the capacity is lowered. In other words, get there early. Also, playgrounds will remain closed due to the difficulties in cleaning the equipment.

Dreher Island State Park on Lake Murray

Below is the directive from park administration:

PLEASE READ ALL INFORMATION BELOW

Following public health protocols, South Carolina State Parks plan to reopen on Friday, May 1, on a limited basis.  Group facilities like picnic shelters and community buildings, will remain closed for the time being, and visitor gathering places like interpretive centers and park offices also will remain closed initially or will operate on a limited scale.

  • SCPRT will continuously monitor visitor usage and adjust visitor services as needed to ensure compliance with the guidance provided by SCDHEC and the CDC.
  • Each state park plans to lower its carrying capacity, allowing a limited number of visitors at once. Levels vary by park. When a park reaches its threshold, the gates will be closed until the number of visitors decreases.
  • State parks also plan to honor any existing camping and cabin reservations that were scheduled to check in on Friday, May 1, forward. Some state parks will begin taking new reservations for stays that begin May 11 forward, and all park accommodations will come back on line as staffing levels return to normal.
  • State park Visitor Centers are scheduled to reopen on Monday, May 11, and feature proper signage, physical indicators and barriers in place to ensure the safety of staff and visitors. 
  • All state park retail stores and spaces should open by Friday, May 15.  SCPRT will use SCDHEC and CDC guidance to determine the maximum occupancy in these common area facilities in order to maintain social distancing rules and limit contact between staff and visitors.
  • Due to the difficulty of effectively cleaning equipment, all playgrounds will be closed until June 1. All playground areas will be cordoned off and signed appropriately.
  • Existing reservations for group rental facilities will be cancelled through June 1.  These facilities include all shelters and community buildings, wedding venues, group camps and any other facility rented for the purpose of a large gathering. All groups will be given the opportunity to re-book at no additional cost. No fees will be assessed for any cancellation or rescheduling for events occurring prior to July 1. Determinations regarding future cancellations will be made in accordance with the status of health and safety guidelines.
  • Until further notice, state parks will not conduct park programs or tours of historic homes or other historic structures such as the Hunting Island Lighthouse or Atalaya Castle at Huntington Beach State Park.  Meanwhile, Facebook Live interpretive programming that became popular in March and April will continue on a limited schedule and can be followed here (on parks website).

PARK PASSPORT HOLDERS:

If you are currently a park passport holder, we will do one of two things to give you back the month you will be missing.

  • When you purchase a new passport, we will add the extra month on to that passport at no charge.
  • When your current passport expires, you may turn it in and we’ll give you another passport for the month missed at no charge.

Thank you for your understanding and patience during these unprecedented times.  Please stay tuned to our social media and website, for updates and information.”