ON THE ROAD: Midlands state park offers fun recreation on and off Lake Murray

PROSPERITY, SC (WOLO) — With more than 90,000 acres of protected lands from the mountains to the coast in South Carolina, there’s plenty of outdoor fun to be had in the Palmetto State.

One of those places is right here in the Midlands.

“I’ve been working out here the better part of four years and my favorite part is driving across that causeway bridge everyday and seeing the openness of Lake Murray,” said Sam Worley, Dreher Island park ranger. “I personally have a 32-foot camper myself so I am avidly going camping every month. I bring my camper out here and to other state parks.”

The summer is a popular time for South Carolina’s 47 state parks, especially Dreher Island.

“Anywhere between March 31st and October 1st is our peak season as we like to say. Approximately 250 to 300 thousand people a year visit Dreher Island State Park,” Worley said. “It’s at high capacity during the months of summer when schools are out. The biggest day of the year is the fireworks show. It’s always the Saturday before the 4th unless the 4th is on a Saturday.”

General admission to Dreher Island is only $3.

The state park offers fantastic views of 50,000-acre Lake Murray. You can even stay at one of the park’s waterfront villas or camper cabins. 

 “There’s definitely a lot of places you can go to get away from distractions. Place a hammock there,” Worley said. “The big part about our state parks, specifically Dreher Island, is to create an environment for a getaway.”

If you want to go out on Lake Murray while you are at Dreher Island, there are boating ramps at the state park. Use of them is included in the price of admission. The park ranger says there’s plenty of fish to be caught out there as well.”

“Striped bass and lots of catfish. Off the banks, you’ll find a lot of brim and crappie,” the park ranger said. “Dreher Island is a host site for a lot of fishing tournaments. That’s a good thing for recreation and fun.”

If being out on the water isn’t your thing, there’s plenty to do on dry land.

“We also have hiking trails. One is a quarter mile that features Billy Dreher’s old homestead,” Worley said. “We have a two-mile Little Gap trail that is for anyone who wants to see a bigger peninsula of the island.”

If you like to come to Dreher Island a lot or just enjoy state parks, you should think about getting a park passport. Select park passports cost $75.. The all-park pass is $99 and gets you to all 47 in South Carolina.

If you want to learn more about South Carolina’s state parks or how to get one of those park passports, check out the South Carolina Park website.

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