Spend a fun afternoon floating down the Edisto River with your friends and family or just chilling in its waters on the banks at Givhans Ferry State Park. Bring your tent or your RV, camp out for the weekend, and relax away from home! Kids will love the playground and open spaces to run, and adults will love fishing on the river. Come see what Givhans Ferry State Park has to offer!
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Top 5 Know Before you Go Tips for Givhans Ferry State Park
- The Edisto River is the heartbeat of the park. It’s all about the water!
- Small entry fee: $6 per adult (16+), discounts for children and seniors, age 5 and under free
- Large open field for kids (or pets) to run around. Pets are welcome so long as they’re polite!
- Stay in the park at the campground or in a furnished cabin.
- Only one short hiking trail here. This isn’t a hiking park.
>> The Ultimate Outsider stamp is located at the bulletin board in front of Riverfront Hall, the large building on the bluff by the river.<<
How to Get to Givhans Ferry State Park
Givhans Ferry is between Charleston and Columbia, along the same stretch of SC Highway 61 that’s home to several other state parks in the Lowcountry.
If you’re working your way through your South Carolina State Parks bucket list, the following are within an hour’s drive of Givhans Ferry State Park:
- Colleton State Park, 20 min
- Colonial Dorchester State Historic Site, 25 min
- Charles Town Landing State Historic Site, 50 min
- Edisto Beach State Park, 55 min
- Santee State Park, 55 min
- Battle of Rivers Bridge State Historic Site, 1 hour
- Lake Warren State Park, 1 hr 10 min
How Much Does It Cost to Visit? Do I Need a Permit?
This park has a small entry fee. Adults are anyone 16+ years old. Adult entry is $6, seniors are $3.75, kids 6-15 are $3.50, and kids 5 and under are free.
Kayaking and tubing down the Edisto River are, by far, the most popular things to do at Givhans Ferry State Park. The park doesn’t rent equipment, but their authorized concessionaire, Edisto Adventures, operates out of Riverfront Hall in the park throughout the summer.
Fishing is allowed on the Edisto River, but beware of kayakers and tubes. A freshwater fishing license is required. Prices vary for a fishing license based on residency. Check the South Carolina DNR website for more details.
Brief History of Givhans Ferry State Park
One of the oldest state parks in South Carolina, Givhans Ferry State Park was established by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in the 1930s.
This spot on the Edisto River was a crucial ferry point in the 1700s, owned by Phillip Givhans. It connected Augusta, Georgia to Charleston, and Savannah by extension.
As the country developed, and alternative roadways came into being, the ferry fell out of use. The land was acquired by the state in 1934 and turned into a state park.
The riverbanks are limestone and home to several rare plant species, for which the area was named a Heritage Trust Site and the park protects and maintains today.
What to do at Givhans Ferry State Park
This park is all about the river! Explore the Edisto River on a kayak, SUP, or tube, go for a quick dip in the waters to cool off, or find a cool, calm spot for some relaxing fishing.
Float Down the Edisto River
Get on the water and enjoy an afternoon of carefree floating. Whether you bring your own kayak or prefer full-service tube rental with Edisto Adventures, you’ll enjoy a peaceful and fun adventure.
The boat launch is 3 miles from the park.
Givhans Ferry State Park is also the end of the 21 mile Edisto River kayaking trail that starts in Colleton State Park. Experienced paddlers will be on the river for 7 to 9 hours to complete this journey.
The Edisto River is the longest, free-flowing blackwater river in North America. (Blackwater isn’t as bad as it sounds. See the picture below.)
It’s home to flathead, catfish, red breast, channel catfish, largemouth bass, striped bass, shellcrackers, blue catfish, and eels, according to the park’s website.
Don’t have your own fishing rod? No problem!
Givhans Ferry is part of the South Carolina DNR’s Tackle Loaner Program. Rod and reels are available (for free!) from the park office.
Swimming is allowed in the Edisto River, but there are no lifeguards. Swim at your own risk, and wave at all the kayakers and tubers as they float by!
Camping at Givhans Ferry
There are two options for camping at Givhans Ferry: the campground or the cabins.
Givhans Ferry State Park has both RV and tent campsites available. The main campground has 25 full-service sites, many of which can accommodate RVs up to 40ft.
This area has a dump station, restrooms, and hot showers.
Another 10 sites located at the back of the park are hike-in, tent-only campsites, but don‘t worry; they’re only 200 yards from the parking area.
These sites have water and electric, grills, fire rings, picnic tables, and storage boxes to keep wildlife out of your food.
The 4 rentable cabins were built by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) back in the 1930s. Each cabin has two bedrooms and can accommodate up to 6 guests.
These fully furnished cabins include bed linens and bath towels, kitchens with appliances, AC/heat, and, the best part, screened in porches.
Those screened in porches let you enjoy the outdoors without those pesky (and plentiful) mosquitoes. They’re a must-have in the South in the summer.
Pets are not allowed in the cabins and can’t be left outside either. If you’re staying in the cabins, leave your pets at home.
Hike the Nature Trail
One short, 1.5 mile River Bluff Nature Trail is hidden at the back of the property. It’s a good way to get out of the water for a bit or if you’re looking to kill time before or after dinner at the campground.
Near the river, the trail climbs up and down the hillside with a few viewpoints down by the river. It then continues up the hill and levels off in the pine forest.
This stretch runs parallel to the roadway and behind the campground. The trail ends near the playground, and you can walk back to your car.
Enjoy Visiting Givhans Ferry State Park!
If you love the water, you’ll love Givhans Ferry State Park! Make a weekend of it and camp out, so you can enjoy floating, swimming, and fishing in the river!
If you enjoyed this park, here are more state parks nearby and with similar activities.
- Colleton State Park, the beginning of the Edisto River Kayak Trail
- Colonial Dorchester State Park, fishing on the Ashley River
- Santee State Park, water activities galore on Lake Marion