Birding Hotspots in South Carolina State Parks

November 11, 2021

Birding Hotspots in South Carolina State Parks

You can find popular birdwatching hotspots in every state. But it's here among the diverse landscapes of South Carolina where you'll encounter a truly unique birding experience.  

With six state parks along the Atlantic Coast and more than 40 more inland, many of which highlight the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, it's no secret that South Carolina State Parks are home to highly varied wildlife species—including an array of feathered friends! 

Discover which parks in the Palmetto State are your best bet for an unforgettable birding experience! 

Birding Hotspots in South Carolina State Parks

Birdwatching in South Carolina State Parks is a fun and relaxing activity for guests to enjoy year-round.  

Yet, you might be surprised to learn that winter is often prime time for birding in this southern state. Consider planning your birdwatching trips around migrating patterns for the best experience. 

Table Rock State Park

A 3,000-acre park in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Table Rock State Park is home to striking mountain views, two lakes, a secluded swimming hole, hiking trails and more.  

Deemed an "important bird area in South Carolina," you're likely to come across falcons, ravens and warblers among other mountain-nesting birds during your visit to Table Rock.

Cheraw State Park

Cheraw State Park is located in northeast South Carolina and features an 18-hole championship golf course. But birdwatchers travel to this South Carolina State Park in an attempt to see: 

  • Anhingas
  • Bald eagles
  • Wood ducks
  • Summer tanagers
  • Great-crested flycatchers
  • Brown-headed nuthatches 

But what makes this park truly unique is that it contains a mature longleaf pine habitat that the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker calls home.  

Estimates suggest that 1.5 million of these beautiful creatures once inhabited the southeast region of the US. In comparison, their population today totals somewhere near only 15,000 birds. 

Huntington Beach State Park

Coastal birds are a joy to observe. And here at Huntington Beach State Park, you'll find one of the very best spots in the state for birdwatching. Every year more than 300 species of birds make this state park, just thirty minutes down the coast from Myrtle Beach, their home.  

Although birdwatchers flock to the area throughout the entire year, you'll have the best chance of viewing a wide array of birds making their way to warmer waters during the winter season.

Landsford Canal State Park

This South Carolina State Park is located just 40 minutes south of Charlotte, North Carolina, along the historic Catawba River, an essential waterway for commercial purposes in the early 1800s. Today, the park is home to several species of birds, including: 

  • Warblers
  • Herons
  • Ospreys
  • Hawks
  • Owls 

Yet, the most well-known feathered inhabitants at Landsford Canal State Park are a pair of bald eagles who have been nesting there for more than ten years! December through May is your best shot at spotting this dynamic duo from the park trails.

Caesars Head State Park

Another perfect spot for birdwatching in the Blue Ridge Mountains is at Caesars Head State Park. Offering 60 miles of hiking trails and rewarding picturesque views some 3,200 feet above sea level, you're sure to get a bird's eye view here! 

The park provides educational programming on hawks that frequent the area during the fall. However, you can also spot kites, eagles, falcons and more soaring along rocky ridges throughout the year. 

Hunting Island State Park

If colorful painted buntings, white egrets and slender terns are on your birdwatching bucket list, then this coastal state park in South Carolina should be your next destination!  

Other species of birds you can see here include:  

  • Skimmers
  • Tangers
  • Orioles
  • Pelicans
  • Oystercatchers
  • Wood Storks 

One of the park's most unique features is that it's home to the only lighthouse in South Carolina open to the public. Climb more than 160 steps to the top for one-of-a-kind ocean views! 

A Field Guide Full of Memories

As you visit these (and other) South Carolina State Parks, you'll certainly want to keep track of your birdwatching experiences and where you've had the most success.  

You could even turn one of our South Carolina State Parks Bucket Journals into a field guide full of birding memories!   

In it, you'll find individual pages for each of the 116 state parks and historical sites in South Carolina, with ample room for recording notes about your exploration. Discover all the fun and natural beauty South Carolina has to offer, and best of all, bring back memories to treasure for a lifetime!  

Do you have a favorite feathered friend to spot while birdwatching? Leave a comment and let us know! 






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