Boardwalk over Lake Juniper with bridge in distance, Cheraw State Park, SC

Guide To Cheraw State Park, South Carolina

You can support this website, at no additional cost to you, by using our links to purchase; hotel stays, rental cars, travel products and more. Learn more.

In search of more beautiful outdoor destinations close to home, we stumbled across the Cheraw State Park in South Carolina. The park makes a great day trip from Columbia or Charlotte, but with its own cabins and campground,  it’s a relaxing spot to enjoy a weekend.

In addition to the usual park facilities, Cheraw has one very unique feature. Its own top rated golf course!

In this guide we’ll go through what to expect when visiting the park and suggestions on how to spend your time.
Cheraw State Park Pinterest Image

History Of Cheraw State Park

Though Myrtle Beach was the first South Carolina state park to open (1936), Cheraw was the first park to have designated land back in 1934.

Today Cheraw State Park encompasses 7361 acres. However, the first 700 of those acres were donated by the children of the town of Cheraw who saved pennies to make the purchase. Isn’t that an adorable start?

It took Company 445 of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) four years to build several structures and the dam that formed Lake Juniper, a key feature of the park. By 1942, permanent facilities for daytime activities, two camp sites, and cabins were in place. Many of these buildings are still used today.

If you’re interested in the CCC or the development of Cheraw State Park, the South Carolina Department of Archives and History has a fascinating paper with pictures on the CCC in SC from 1933 –1942.

Beach area with canoe rental, Cheraw State Park, SC

What To Do At Cheraw State Park

Water Activities

Getting out and enjoying the lake is why everyone loves Cheraw State Park. 

Just behind the Visitor Center is a small beach where swimming is permitted Memorial Day to Labor Day.

In season, the park rents kayaks, canoes, even stand up paddle boards. They also rent fishing boats for really reasonable prices ($30/day 2021).

You can fish on the lake, and the park even participates in the Tackler Loaner Program where you can borrow everything you need. However, fishing does require a SC fishing license.

If you do rent or bring a kayak, be sure to head south to the far side of the lake to enjoy the park’s famous cypress trees. There’s a small patch out by the island just south of the camping area, but the far south side of the lake has a heap. Just be sure you have the energy to paddle back, it’s quite the way.

Boardwalk over Lake Juniper, Cheraw State Park, SC

Walking, Hiking, Biking

Take a stroll along the park’s photogenic boardwalk. The 1/2-mile trail leads from the Visitor Center near the parking area, all the way over to the campground.

Just before getting to the campground the path crosses over a bridge above the dam. In summer, tons of children play in the water at the bottom of the dam.

Dam and bridge, Cheraw State Park, SC

The other hiking trail is on the far end of the park, on Cheraw State Park Road but near Hwy 1. Turkey Oak Trail is a 4.5-mile loop trail, with an inner 2-mile loop if you want to cut the hike short. The trail goes through the marsh, so in summer you need bug spray.

Note: At time of writing (winter 2021) Turkey Oak Trail was closed, so be sure to check with the park for reopening.

Just across Hwy 1, on Auction Barn Road, are roughly 9-miles of mountain biking trails.

Golfing At Cheraw State Park

If you’re a keen golfer, then the state park’s golf course should be high on your list. Built to feel like a golf course from the early 1900’s, the course is set entirely within the beauty of the park. Gently rolling slopes, pristine scenery and mostly par 4/par 5 holes make the course a local favorite. Not to mention the very reasonable fees.   

Where To Stay For Cheraw State Park

In the park of course!

The park has several cabins for rent. They require a minimum of a two night stay, but their location and reasonable cost make them an ideal option. Unfortunately, every one else thinks so too, so they sell out pretty fast, especially on weekends.

Another option is camping within the park. There’s about 17 sites with power and water, with 5 rustic camping spots. They also require a two night minimum stay.

Though restrained pets are allowed in the park, pets are not allowed in the lodging areas.

Outside the park there are not many options close-by; however, the Fairfield Inn in neighboring Hartsville has very good ratings.

Swinging Bench at Cheraw State Park, SC

Cheraw State Park
100 State Park Rd,
Cheraw, SC 29520

The park is free to visit.

Travel Resources

We recommend and use these companies to arrange our travel plans; they make travel planning easy and affordable. If you have questions on our experiences, feel free to ask us!

Book Flights
We use Skyscanner to compare flights all over the world. Their “anywhere” feature shows the cheapest destinations from wherever you want to fly.

Book Accommodation
Booking.com has been our go to hotel booking site since 2007. They are easy to use, with a great selection of accommodation, and usually have the best deals.

Book Rental Cars
Rentalcars.com make comparing offers across various companies easy. We find them the quickest and easiest way to identify the best deal, no matter the country.

Buy Travel Gear
Amazon consistently has the best range and availability of travel gear online.

If you found this post useful, share it. 

Thanks so much!

Your email address will not be published or used outside of this comment. You can also subscribe if you wish.

0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Become a Travel Expert!

Join the Expert Explorers community for exclusive access to travel resources, discounts, and special events.

Though we aim for accuracy, travel is an ever-changing world. Please check information with the facility you plan to visit. 

Scroll to Top