Chester State Park has been a fixture of the South Carolina system since first constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps during the 1930s. Citizens have enjoyed this fine facility for such varied activities as hiking, fishing and water sports throughout the last 80 years, with little respite from the number of visitors who make their way through the turnstiles each year. Located on a 523 acre tract, the park features a 160 acre lake which is also encircled by a two mile nature trail that meanders it way through the nearby pine forest. With the central location between Columbia and Charlotte, the site is easily accessed from both areas, ensuring that a constant flow of people gets to see the marvelous flora and fauna on display.
Camping is probably the most popular thing to do for both residents and non-residents. There are twenty five sites with full water and electrical hookups along with the more primitive tent styles for persons who prefer a more rustic approach to the great outdoors. Most of the sites can accommodate RVs up to 33 feet in length, but only 5 of them are of the pull-through variety. There are also hot showers conveniently located nearby, with restroom access as well. Interested parties can make camping reservations by calling the toll free number 1 866 345 PARK or by visiting the park website and clicking on the Park Reservation link included there. There is a minimum two night reservation that has to be made one day in advance of check in.
The prices are quite reasonable, with sites including water and power hookups only costing $14/per night. This is the high end of the price scale, and when the tourist season is considered off peak, the price may be even lower. Group camping is also available in the primitive camping area, with up to 50 people able to be booked at one time. This includes the use of picnic tables, a fire ring, and water supply, and is located only 100 yards from a restroom building. At a minimum rate starting at only $10 and subsequent increases by $5 for each additional camper, this makes great financial sense for groups considering a family get-together or informal business meeting.
A couple of the other popular activities to do at this location include boating and fishing. The area has long been renowned for its attractive fishing in the 160 acre lake located in the middle of Chester State Park, and anglers typically can find bass, catfish and crappies among the catch of the day. A valid fishing license from the state of South Carolina is required in order to enjoy this fine sport. For boaters there is an access point for private boats which have to be either powered by hand or use an electric trolling motor. Boat rental is also offered through the park services office, and can be obtained for either $12/day or $2.50/hour, depending on the preference of the boater.
Two other things which are favorites among the visitors who frequent the park are hiking on the natural trails and using the picnic area. The Caney Fork Creek Nature Trail is about 1.3 miles long and traverses throughout the park, winding around the lake and is great for wildlife observation, bird watching or burning off those excess calories from lunch. The meal was possibly prepared at any of the 3 picnic shelters that can be reserved for family or group events or outings. At only $25/30 per day, the stipend is good for anywhere from 50 up to 120 people at one time. If there is no reservation scheduled for that day, park guests can make use of this spot at no charge. Prospective visitors can reserve the picnic shelter by calling toll free 1 866 345 PARK.
Chester State Park is open from 9am to 6pm daily with extended hours to 9pm during the months designated by Daylight Savings Time. At an admission price of only $2 for adults, $1.25 for South Carolina seniors and free for youths 15 years and under, this remains a most affordable getaway or weekend excursion. The variety of activities and scenic wildlife make this one of the must see venues in the entire state of South Carolina.