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How to get to Congaree National Park in 2022

Post Summary: How to Get to Congaree National Park

Located just outside of Columbia, SC, Congaree National Park provides visitors a chance to view what the eastern coast of the United States looked like before settlement. Located in an old-growth timber forest Congaree National Park is South Carolina‘s only National Park. Here is how to get to Congaree National Park in 2022.

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GETTING THERE: How to Get to Congaree National Park

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Planning a visit to Congaree National Park but confused on how to get there? Check out our to how to get to Congaree National Park guide.

Getting to Congaree National Park / Congaree getting there / airports near Congaree / best Congaree airports

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Quick Guide for Getting to Congaree National Park

Congaree National Parks is located just outside the South Carolina state capital of Columbia. Most visitors arrive at the park via personal vehicle; however, there is city transportation available. If you are visiting from afar there are various airports all within a day’s drive of the park, with Columbia Metropolitan Airport being the closest at just over 30-minutes away.

Related: 7 Things You Can’t Miss on Your First Visit to Congaree National Park

Where is Congaree National Park?

Congaree National Park is located within the Sandhills region of South Carolina, which is located in the middle of the state. Congaree National park is located just a few miles outside of the state capital of Columbia.

Congaree National Park Entrances

Hopkins, South Carolina

When navigating to Congaree National Park, some GPS systems are unable to pinpoint the exact location of the park entrance. It is recommended to navigate to the physical address of 100 National Park Road, Hopkins, SC 29061. Once you turn off either I-77 or I-26 you will be headed towards SC-48 (Bluff Road), this road goes on for about 5-miles before forking off onto Old Bluff Road. This is the road on which Congaree National Park is located. From the park entrance, it is about 1-mile to the Harry Hampton Visitor Center and Parking lots. There is limited parking for oversized vehicles at the visitor center and these vehicles are not allowed at the Bates Ferry and Fork Swamp Trail parking areas.

Congaree National Park Gateway Cities

Columbia, South Carolina

Columbia is the capital of South Carolina and is home to much of the state’s history. Visitors passing through the city looking to stop have various opportunities to sightsee around the city. One of the most popular destinations in the city is the Riverbanks Zoo. The Zoo is home to over 2,000 species of animals and even has a botanical garden within the park. Another popular destination in the city is the South Carolina State Museum, this museum is 4-levels of exhibitions that are always changing; bringing new experiences to seasoned visitors. The final highlight of the city is the South Carolina Statehouse, which is the capital building of South Carolina. Guided and Self-Guided tours are offered of the State House while Congress is not in session. Visitors do have the option of a virtual tour if Congress happens to be in session at the time of your visit. These are the three highlights of Columbia; however, there are many other great places to discover on the way to Congaree National Park.

Where to stay in Columbia, South Carolina?

Hotels in Columbia
Vacation Rentals & Airbnbs in Columbia
  • Charming Country Cottage is conveniently located to everything Columbia & Sumter SC has to offer, while nestled in a wooded setting for a peaceful stay. Sleeps 6. From $150/night; book on VRBO.
  • Cottage Tree house is located on a wooded lot on over 2 acres. Step out onto the deck overlooking the property and into the trees. Enjoy the unique solitude of the sound of the birds and peaceful serenity while giving up none of the amenities. Sleeps 5. From $148/night; book on VRBO.
  • Blue House is a quaint aparment located on 2 acres of land with plenty of amitities. Sleeps 2. From $102/night; book on VRBO.

Best Way to Get to Congaree National Park

The best way to get to Congaree National Park is by car or Central Midlands Transit (COMET). There is only one entrance into the park and visitors have to travel through Columbia, South Carolina. Transportation into Columbia is available; however, a car is then required to enter the park.

Flying to Congaree National Park

Map of Congaree National Park Airports

map of the airports near Congaree National Park

Click here for an interactive map of the airports near Congaree National Park.

Airports near Congaree National Park

Columbia Metropolitan Airport

Columbia Metropolitan Airport (CAE) is home to American, Delta, Silver, and United Airlines offering nonstop service to 12 major airports around the country. Passengers can find nonstop flights to and from Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Miami, New York (LGA), Philadelphia, Tampa, Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, and Washington D.C. airports.

Distance from Congaree Park Entrance: 28 miles

Drive time from Congaree Park Entrance: 30 minutes

an arieal view of the capitol bulding

Charleston International Airport

Charleston International Airport (CHS) is home to American, Delta, Silver, Allegiant, Alaska, JetBlue, Southwest, and United Airlines offering nonstop service to numerous major airports around the country. Passengers can find nonstop flights to and from airports like Atlanta, Chicago, Tampa, New York, Boston, Minneapolis, Denver, Dallas, Los Angeles, Seattle, and many other domestic locations.

Distance from Congaree Park Entrance: 101 miles

Drive time from Congaree Park Entrance: 1.5 hours

A quaint road in Charleston

Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport

Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport (GSP) is home to American, Delta, Silver, Allegiant, Southwest, and United Airlines offering nonstop service to 21 major airports around the country. Passengers can find nonstop flights to and from airports like Atlanta, Chicago, Baltimore, New York, Houston, Orlando, Denver, Dallas, and many other domestic locations. Passengers can reach other 150 other destinations by just adding a single stop.

Distance from Congaree Park Entrance: 125 miles

Drive time from Congaree Park Entrance: 2 hours

a dam in the river in a city

Major Airports within a done day drive of Congaree National Park

Charlotte Douglas International Airport

Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT) is the closest major airport to Congaree National Park that offers long-distance flights and international. Major airlines like Delta, American, Air Canada, JetBlue, Southwest, United and Frontier all fly to and from Charlotte. Charlotte Douglas International Airport does have seasonal flights from Swift Air, Sun Country, Vacation Express, and Viva Aerobus along with the major airlines. Being a major international airport, direct flights are offered to almost all other major domestic and international airports.

Distance from Congaree Park Entrance: 111 miles

Drive time from Congaree Park Entrance: 2 hours

the Charlotte Skyline

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) is the largest airport within the southern states. Major airlines like Delta, American, Air Canada, JetBlue, Southwest, United, and Frontier all fly to and from Atlanta daily. Being classified as a major international airport, direct flights are offered to almost all other major domestic and international airports.

Distance from Congaree Park Entrance: 234 miles

Drive time from Congaree Park Entrance: 4 hours

The Atlanta Skyline

Public Transport to Congaree National Park

The Central Midlands Regional Transit Authority (COMET) offers bus service via Route 47. The bus stop is #11 and is located at the Harry Hampton Visitor Center. A one-way bus pass costs $2.00. An all-day pass cost $4.00. On Monday – Friday, the bus only stops at Congaree upon request so you will need to let the driver know when you board to stop there. To be picked up by the bus, you need to call (803) 255-7124 and request pick-up about a half-hour before the scheduled stop at Congaree. If you don’t have cell service ask the ranger in the visitor center to call for you.

Other forms of transportation like UBER and LYFT may not pick up from Congaree National Park. So don’t count on this.

Driving to Congaree National Park

Driving into Congaree National Park is the preferred and most popular option to arriving at the park. There is not an entrance fee associated with Congaree National Park and ample parking is available throughout the park. It is to note that RVs, Trailers, and Oversized vehicles have limited parking at the Harry Hampton Visitor Center and are not allowed to park at the Bates Ferry and Fork Swamp Trail.

Drive time from South Carolina Cities

CityMileageKilometersDrive Time
Charleston101 miles163 km2 hours
Clemson152 miles244 km2.5 hours
Columbia20 miles32 km30 min
Greenville125 miles201 km2 hours
Hilton Head Island152 miles244 km2.5 hours
Myrtle Beach134 miles215 km2.5 hours

Drive time from Major US Cities

CityMileageKilometersDrive Time
Fairbanks, AK4,286 miles6,897 km69 hours
Anchorage AK4,401 miles7,082 km72 hours
Seattle, WA 2,898 miles4,663 km42 hours
Portland, OR 2,825 miles4,546 km41 hours
Bozeman, MT 2,188 miles3,521 km32 hours
Jackson, WY2,094 miles3,369 km31 hours
Boise, ID 2,397 miles3,857 km35 hours
Salt Lake City, UT2,100 miles3,379 km31 hours
Minneapolis, MN 1,221 miles1,965 km18 hours
Denver, CO1,632 miles2,626 km23 hours
Omaha, NE 1,214 miles1,953 km17 hours
Las Vegas, NV 2,194 miles3,530 km32 hours
Los Angeles, CA2,446 miles3,936 km35 hours
Chicago, IL828 miles1,332 km12 hours
Houston, TX1,017 miles1,636 km14 hours
Atlanta, GA230 miles370 km3.5 hours
Washington, D.C.482 miles775 km7.5 hours
New York City, NY718 miles1,155 km11 hours
Orlando, FL422 miles679 km6 hours

Freuently Asked Questions about how to get to Congaree National Park

What airport do you fly into for Congaree National Park?

Columbia Metropolitan Airport is the closest to Congaree National Park at just over 30min from the entrance.

What is the best way to get to Congaree?

The best way to get into Congaree National Park is by personal vehicle, there is not an entrance fee for Congaree National Park.

Final Thoughts on Getting to Congaree National Park

Congaree National Park is the only National Park located within South Carolina. A trip to Congaree offers a glimpse into one of the largest and last hardwood forests left along the eastern coast of the United States. Located just outside the state capital of Columbia there are many ways that visitors can approach Congaree National Park.

Do you have any questions about Congaree National Park or need help planning your National Park trips. Let me know in the comments or join me in my National Park Trip Planning Community!

More Information for your trip to South Carolina

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Pin for Later: How to get to Congaree National Park in 2022

Planning a visit to Congaree National Park but confused on how to get there? Check out our to how to get to Congaree National Park guide.

Getting to Congaree National Park / Congaree getting there / airports near Congaree / best Congaree airports

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