Given nature’s power to soothe the body and soul, making a trip to one of South Carolina’s 47 state parks is a likely antidote for the fatigue brought on by months of quarantine. An easy drive will transport you to parcels of the state’s 80,000 acres of protected land, laced with tranquil trails for hiking, still waters for canoeing, and secluded spaces where you can immerse yourself in nature. As you’re planning your summer sojourns, consider this advice from nineteenth-century naturalist John Muir: “Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt.”

Devils Fork State Park
Boasting some of the best trout fishing in South Carolina, Lake Jocassee forms the centerpiece of Devils Fork State Park, which offers the only public access to the lake. Favored by divers for its clear waters, the 7,565-acre mountain-spring-fed lake also attracts fleets of boaters. In spring, the one-mile Oconee Bell Nature Trail is one of the few places in the southern Appalachians where you can find the rare Oconee Bell flower. 161 Holcombe Cir, Salem. (864) 944-2639, southcarolinaparks.com/devils-fork

Dreher Island State Park
Three islands linked to the shore of Lake Murray by a causeway and two bridges make up this water-based state park in the Midlands. A half-hour drive from Columbia, Dreher Island is the perfect getaway for anglers and boaters. The former can cast their lines for trophy striped bass and largemouth bass on the 50,000-acre lake, while the latter benefit from the park’s three boat ramps and in-water refueling. Rent one of Dreher Island’s five lakeside villas and make a weekend of it. 3677 State Park Rd, Prosperity. (803) 364-4152, southcarolinaparks.com/dreher-island

Hunting Island State Park
One of South Carolina’s loveliest parks, Hunting Island’s 5,000 acres include five miles of palmetto-fringed beach backed by ancient sand dunes and semi-tropical maritime forest. When you need a break from the sun, search for seahorses in the park’s lagoon, catch a sunset from the Marsh Boardwalk, or climb the 167 steps up to the top of the Hunting Island Light—the only publicly accessible lighthouse in the state—to take in a panorama of the coast. 92555 Sea Island Pkwy, Hunting Island. (843) 838-2011, southcarolinaparks.com/hunting-island

Huntington Beach State Park
There is much to love about this 2,500-acre coastal park. There’s the three miles of undeveloped, Grand Strand sands along the Atlantic—known for its great surf-fishing—and the 300 species of birds that inhabit the adjacent marshes. For history and art buffs, a tour of Atalaya Castle reveals the Moorish-style winter home of philanthropist Archer Huntington and his wife, sculptor Anna Hyatt Huntington. Anna’s work is featured in nearby Brookgreen Gardens, which the couple founded in 1932. 16148 Ocean Hwy, Murrells Inlet. (843) 237-4440, southcarolinaparks.com/huntington-beach

Landsford Canal State Park
The Catawba River forms the backdrop for this park’s 448 acres, home to the world’s largest-known stand of Rocky Shoals Spider Lilies. Follow the 1.5-mile Canal Trail along the river to a platform for the best views of these stunning white flowers, which bloom from late May through early June. Along the way, you’ll also spot remains of the canal system built in the early nineteenth century to facilitate commercial navigation on the river. 22051 Park Dr, Catawba. (803) 789-5800, southcarolinaparks.com/landsford-canal

Paris Mountain State Park
Located in Greenville’s backyard on a small isolated mountain—or monadnock—that rises abruptly above the city, Paris Mountain is named for the area’s first European settler, Irishman Richard Pearis. The park, one of 16 built in South Carolina by the Civilian Conservation Corps during the Great Depression, attracts locals in summer to swim or go pedal-boating and canoeing in Lake Placid, one of four lakes on-site. In any season, folks enjoy a hike along some of the 15 miles of trails that thread the park’s 1,540 acres. 2401 State Park Rd, Greenville. (864) 244-5565, southcarolinaparks.com/paris-mountain

Got wheels? If you’d like to try out a camper or RV for a weekend, check out the rental site, outdoorsy.com.