To visit Charleston, we parked at Lake Aire RV Park in Hollywood, SC, about 12 miles southwest of Charleston. While here we visited downtown Charleston, took a tour out to Fort Sumter and checked out Kiawah Island.
Fort Sumter is on a small island strategically located in the Charleston Harbor. It was originally one of a series of coastal fortifications built by the United States following the War of 1812. It was still unfinished in late 1860 when South Carolina seceded from the United States as a statement about state sovereignty regarding slavery. At this point a garrison of 85 federal troops led by Major Robert Anderson moved to Fort Sumter from nearby Fort Moultrie. Within 4 months Confederate troops fired the first shots of the Civil War by attacking the Federal troops on Fort Sumter. Three days later Major Anderson had to surrender Fort Sumter and was allowed to leave with all of his troops. For the next 20 months Confederate troops held Fort Sumter against repeated assaults from Union cannons and gun ships. Today it is Fort Sumter National Monument.
While in Charleston, we began to realize we would need to change our travel plans due to Hurricane Matthew. We had planned to go to Savannah, GA, next but that would put us too close to the coast and too exposed to potential harm from the hurricane. We postponed our Savannah plans and instead reserved a spot in Statesboro, GA, approximately 55 miles inland from Savannah. Even 3 days ahead of the storm we had trouble finding an available RV spot.
We visited Columbia during our road trip in 2013. This time we parked at The Barnyard RV Park in Lexington, SC. Our primary objective this time was to visit the only National Park in South Carolina.
Pop quiz: What is the most visited US national park? Many people might think it’s Yellowstone or Grand Canyon. Actually, by a wide margin, it’s Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Makes sense since it is easily accessible to a large number of people in the surrounding states of Tennessee, North Carolina, South Caroline, Kentucky, Virginia, Georgia and West Virginia. So after having been to the most visited national park we went to one of the least visited, Congaree National Park.
The South Carolina Capitol or State House in Columbia (pics) had a difficult beginning. Construction began in 1851 but the architect was dismissed for fraud and the structure was largely dismantled. A new architect restarted construction in 1855 but had to be halted in 1865 due to the Civil War. The unfinished building was damaged by artillery shells when Sherman’s army occupied the city. Construction was finally completed in 1907.
When we visited the State House we were able to have a guided tour. The tour guide was a good representative for his state. He was able to point out the many accomplishments of South Carolina’s residents as well as many significant unique aspects of the state’s culture. He seemed to exhibit a little chip on his shoulder like he wanted us to know that South Carolina has a lot to offer and has played a large role in our history.
Our one night stop in Columbia didn’t allow us to see much more than the State Capitol and the Riverfront Park. Columbia sits at a point where the Broad River and the Saludo River combine to form the Congaree River.