Santee Coastal Reserve in South Carolina is comprised of a 25,000-acre Wildlife Management Area reserve that features trails and a wooden boardwalk that goes out into a freshwater swamp for viewing. It also includes two barrier islands that are accessible only by watercraft. There are no fees to enter the SCDNR controlled area.
This is the view from the end of the boardwalk overlooking the swamp. There is bench seating at the end to kick back and take it all in. This is a great place for birding early in the mornings if you are one to venture out that time of day.
I have personally have spotted Wood storks, Tricolored Heron, Great Blue Heron, Snowy Egret, Great Egret, Black-Necked Stilts, Anhinga and many more at this location.
Warning!! In the summer mosquitoes are DEET resistant so cover up. Also there are plenty of snakes around the trails and alligators in the swamp.
This alligator, along with 5 of his buddies, were floating just below the boardwalk.
Santee Coastal Reserve Fees: None
From Georgetown SC, go south on US 17 for 15 miles (one mile after the second bridge which is the South Santee River) and take the left onto Santee Road (S-857). Travel 1.3 miles and turn left onto Santee Gun Club Road just after Lillypond Mission Baptist Church. The trailhead with map stand is 3 miles down Santee Gun Club Road on the right.
Days and Hours of Operation:
7 days a week daylight to dusk. A few areas are closed during a few hunting seasons.
Camping in a few areas is allowed in the Santee Coastal Reserve with a permit from the reserve office.
More Information: Santee Coastal Reserve, P.O. Box 37, McClellanville, SC 29458, Telephone: 1-843-546-8665.
The video above was taken at the end of the Santee Coastal Reserve boardwalk trail on the opening end of the swamp in September 2015.