We launched from inside Lee State Park right from the edge of Loop Road that circles around the lower part of the park. The park offers camping and other typical park facilities, but is a pretty sleepy park as parks go. The road contacts the river in about four good spots. The second has what looks like an artesian spring bubbling up over some rocks (meant to ask park ranger about its potability).
Then there are a couple of small sites, but finally there is the site we used. It's about 3 car length of mown grass with deep-cut "V" in the high bank that serves as a very handy launch chute. We parked right there, unloaded our four boats from the trailer, made sure we were well stocked with water and took off.
The kayakers consisted of my wife and 5 kids. My wife, our 20-month old baby and myself were in our Pamlico. Our twins were each in their own Critter and our oldest boy shared his Critter with our 5 yr old boy. We're still a bit crowded so we're looking to get another Critter. We were expecting the trip to take about 2 hours. With the large number of fallen trees across the river, it ended up taking 2 hours and 47 minutes.
We reached the I-20 bridge in about 1 hr, 10 minutes. There are a number of small sandy beaches that could be used for cooking lunch or camping on. There were also a number of nice swimming spots. We didn't see any good wildlife. There were a couple of jumpy turtles sighted, but no alligators or snakes. I would have expected to see at least a few snakes with as many fallen trees as we banged against and climbed over. The total travel length was 5 miles since we took at E. Fields Bridge Road. (Fifty years ago, there might have been a bridge, but its long gone now, there's not even a trace. "Road" is a bit of a stretch too, it really a wide dirt path that looks like the entrance to a farm). It takes about 15 minutes to drive back to the launch site since they are mostly all dirt/gravel roads.
Camping, etc. at the State Park. There is a gas station north of the Interstate about half way to the park, but it is not open on Sundays.
Take exit 123 off of I-20. It's about 20 miles West of Florence, SC. Go south on SSR 22 about 1 mile and take a right onto E. Fields Bridge Road (see note above). Drive until it ends at the river. Leave a vehicle here, this is the takeout point. Retrace your steps to SR-22 and travel north, cross over the Interstate and go about a mile past and turn left into the Lee State Park entrance. The park hours are from 9 am to 9 pm. Drive back until you get to a Stop sign. Go straight; you are now on Loop Rd. Look for the launch sites described above.
The South Carolina Atlas and Gazetteer by DeLorme was very useful.
- Trip Duration: Day Trip
- Sport/Activity: Kayaking, Canoeing
- Skill Level: Beginner
- Water Type: River/Creek (Up to Class II)