Croft State Park in South Carolina
Camp South Carolina: I’m talking with Dave today. He’s a ranger at Croft State Park in South Carolina. Dave, why don’t you get us started by giving a little bit of background about Croft State Park?
Dave: Yeah. Croft State Park originally was a military training ground for World War II.
Camp South Carolina: Interesting.
Dave: We actually had over 750 POWs – German POWs – that were held in this area.
Camp South Carolina: Wow.
Dave: Yeah, it’s pretty cool. A lot of people don’t know it. They just see it. I mean it’s a beautiful Park. It’s huge. Seven thousand acres. We’ve got a 165-acre lake, and it’s an amazing area. 40 miles of trails. So, there are horseback riding trails. Bike trails. Multi-use hiking trails.
Camp South Carolina: Do you ever find artifacts from that era?
Dave: Yeah, actually we find really cool stuff in the office itself. We have three grenades, and the grenades are practice dummy ones, so it was cored so they don’t have the inside bomb attachment. But just this summer we found an M2 – a bouncing betty mine – that was in our lake and it’s in perfect condition.
Camp South Carolina: What?!
Camp South Carolina: So someone just tossed it into the lake at some point?
Dave: Yeah, it was either just the shelling of it. I mean it weighs about six pounds. It’s sturdy, but it’s really cool.
Camp South Carolina: Wow.
Dave: That area of the lake may have been a lot more shallow at the time and they might have just been part of a training area, but yeah, it is pretty cool.
Camp South Carolina: That’s very cool. What types of camping do you offer there?
Dave: We have a couple different styles. We have, like most Parks, primitive camping. Primitive group camping, so the spots are up to 10 to 15 people, but we’ve got a site that will hold up to 100 people for primitive. So, it’s doesn’t have water and electric, but within like a four-minute or five-minute walk you’ve got showers, restrooms, and all that stuff. We’ve got two regular style camping. One side has 15amp and 30amp power, and there’s about 25 spots on that side. And then there’s the lake campground area, which has 25 spots also, but it has up to 50amp service up there.
Camp South Carolina: Okay, so pretty good size.
Dave: Horseback riding is extremely popular in the area. We actually have 51 horse stalls that we rent out. So, if they want to camp here, they can also rent out a horse stall so their horses can stay.
Camp South Carolina: What if I don’t have a horse? Can I rent a horse somewhere?
Dave: No, we don’t do that, unfortunately. I think the liability might be a touch too high to have something like that.
Camp South Carolina: Sure.
Dave: Horses are expensive.
Camp South Carolina: Yeah, they are. Yeah, they are.
Dave: But we definitely have all the mountain bike trails that we keep up really well. We have a lot of volunteers that come out. We have camp hosts come out and help us maintain the trails. We’re actually working on a project right now where one of the hosts and myself are walking the trails and taking pictures of connector points and significant sites. So, if someone does get lost, they can contact us and we can walk them back pretty easily.
Camp South Carolina: Sure, that’s cool. Now, what are some of your favorite attractions around that area outside of the Park?
Dave: It’s a cool little town – Spartanburg. We’ve got Greenville close by also, but there’s a decent little art scene in both areas. They’re small Southern towns, but they’re both growing a decent amount. So you’ve got a decent downtown structure, where you’ve got shops and bars and restaurants, and all kinds of fun stuff to do.
Camp South Carolina: And how far are you guys from that?
Dave: From Downtown Spartanburg, probably – well, I live there, so about 15 minutes.
Camp South Carolina: Oh, okay, pretty close.
Dave: Yeah, and then you’ve got your basic supermarkets, Wal-Marts, Targets, and all that stuff nearby also.
Camp South Carolina: Very cool.
Dave: And then, South Carolina Systems Parks – we’ve got Musgrove Mill right down the road from us. There’s a bunch of Parks within an hour.
Camp South Carolina: Awesome.
Camp South Carolina: Two more questions for you, Dave.
Camp South Carolina: If you were going to spend just one hour at Croft State Park in South Carolina, how would you spend your time there?
Dave: Actually, I have one of my favorite paths. There’s a little trail that not a lot of people take to. It’s kind of connected to the Palm Meadow Trail, but it walks you down to one of our creeks and it has picnic tables, bench swings, and you could take a bridge over to the mountain bike trails. But it’s just a cool little creek area. I take my wife there. I have a ten-week-old son, and I’ve taken him hiking with me already down to that little area. So you can stare at the water go by. It’s just laid back and beautiful.
Camp South Carolina: Very cool. And if you were going to spend just one night at Croft State Park in South Carolina, which specific site would you choose and why?
Dave: Oh man, that’s deadly. Let’s see here. I mean it totally depends on if you’re tent camping or if you have a camper itself. If you’re tent camping, I like Site 11. It’s right in the corner of our office side campground area and it’s right next to that trail that leads you to that creek that I just mentioned.
Camp South Carolina: Sure.
Dave: If you’ve got a bigger RV, I would totally say just go to the end of the lakeside area, like 36 or 37, because you don’t really have a neighbor. You’re kind of pushed out on the point and you’re overlooking our lake, which is pretty.
Camp South Carolina: Sounds gorgeous. Well, Dave, thank you for taking some time out of your morning to chat with us and give us a little bit of information about the town there as well as some more information about Croft State Park in South Carolina.
Dave: Yeah, it’s no problem. We’re here to have fun, so that’s the important thing.