'Tis the Season

You’ve got to love the holiday season in South Carolina, where you can wear shorts and flip-flops or boots, gloves andajacket all in the same week. You can also comfortably enjoy the outdoors year round, and there are still plenty to activities to participate in in the winter weeks ahead. A walk in the woods anytime of the year is great, but winter often provides different perspective. The views are more open without leaves on the trees, the water feels cold even from a distance and best of all you don’t have to deal with any of the bugs or heat. Hikes are great exercise and there are benefits for your mental health as well. It certainly helps me recharge my batteries and have time for reflection. How about a New Year’s resolution – no, make that a New Year’s tradition – and start the New Year off on the right foot with a First Day Hike in a state park. This year there are tons to choose from throughout the entire state.

As I reflect back on 2013 I’m reminded of the significant amount of rain we experienced in the spring and summer. Although it was much needed, it did have a negative impact on a lot of outside activities. What I was most impressed with was, despite the rain, after a few consistently wet weekends that outdoor spirit kick in for a lot of our visitors. Instead of being chased away by bad weather, folks said “it’s just a little rain, let’s go anyway!” I bet there are a lot of great memories and stories about camping and hiking in the rain this year. Everyone who camps or hikes has a great memory of the rain, although admittedly sometimes it takes a few months for the experience to become a great memory. A special thanks to all our visitors who didn’t let a little rain get in the way of enjoying your state parks.

In 2013 we also started our Ultimate Outsider Program, an initiative rolled out with our new state parks guide. The idea was to traverse the Palmetto State in search of a stamp from each of your 47 state parks, while along the way discovering the beauty of our state and creating a lifetime of memories, and a free t-shirt as well. Find out more about the Ultimate Outsider Program and make plans to start your adventure.

As I look back on 2013, I’m excited for all of the new memories to make in 2014. There are some new and exciting programs coming in the next year so stayed tuned. From all of us in the South Carolina State Park Service, we wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas and a happy holiday season!

See you in the parks next year!
Phil