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Santee National Wildlife Refuge in South Carolina

Trip Overview

The Santee National Wildlife Refuge is on a huge impounded lake in lower South Carolina. We started at the visitor center where you can get maps and information about the refuge. The put-in is a sandy beach a short distance away. Once in the water you can remain in the lake, or paddle many streams and ponds that connect to the lake. It is literally lake to one side and southern swamp to the other. There were thousands of water lilies in the coves and the number of birds is phenomenal. We saw osprey, bald eagles, sea gulls, warblers, gallinules, anhingas, and herons of all kinds. There were also plenty of alligators around. We are planning a return trip in November when the ducks and geese are migrating through.

Addendum from 11/21/2001: We returned to the Santee National Wildlife Refuge specifiically to see migrating waterfowl. We were not disappointed. We saw thousands of geese and hundreds of ducks.


There is camping at nearby Santee State Park. All the major motels are in town. Clark's is a good local motel and restaurant.


The Santee NWR is right on I-95 at Santee, South Carolina. It is about 15 minutes north of the intersection of I-95 and I-26.It is about an hour drive from Charleston, S.C.

  • Duration: Day Trip
  • Sport/Activity: Kayaking, Canoeing
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Water Type: Flat/Sheltered Water
  • Group Rates: No

Locations on this Trip