For Memorial Day weekend, our boyscout den decided to bond over roasted marshmallows, historic hikes and campfire songs at Kings Mountain State Park in upstate South Carolina, along the border of the two Carolinas.
Reviews on TripAdvisor.com were not so nice about this particular state park so I was apprehensive. We arrived late Friday evening around 8:15 and the entire campground was packed and rocking. Having never camped in a packed campground, I though this was going to be a pretty hellish weekend (my happy meter was running on low apparently). Signage wasn’t as forthcoming as in other state parks either so we felt…lost. After what seemed like a 50 mile drive around the campground loop, we made it to our group of reserved sites, #63, 64, 65, and 66.
Our site, #64, on the inside of the loop was HUGE! We were in eye site of the bathhouse, had 30/50AMP electric, site water, and full shade (plenty of trees for hammocks!). It was so large that even though every site was full, we felt fairly secluded with plenty of room for our large tents and everyone (7 kids, 1 baby, 1 teen, 8 parents) in our den to spread out. Needless to say, my initial apprehension was swept away fairly quickly.
Since we arrived so late, it was dark during tent set up (we have a 20’x10′ family tent). Fortunately with so many men there, I got to sit back and watch this time. 🙂 After unpacking, my two youngest (ages 3 and 7 months) were pretty exhausted so we changed, settled into our sleeping bags, and passed out while the big kids and dads hung around the group campfire.
Saturday morning, after a hearty McDonalds breakfast (we forgot the frying pans), we all headed over to the National Military park area where we watched an awesome “Military Thru the Ages” demo, hiked a pretty decent historical trail, spent time in the museum, and watched a movie about Kings Mountain (and how important it was to the American Revolution).
The kids also completed activities in the free Junior Ranger workbook, which earned them a small ceremony complete with certificate, Park Pin and Junior Ranger Kings Mountain badge.
It was closing in on 2 pm by the time our den broke up for a few hours of much needed rest and alone time.
Back at camp that evening, the kids played on the hammocks while the Dads prepared a group meal of hamburgers and hotdogs.
Darkness fell, and the evening was capped off with adults playing card games, kids roasting marshmallows, everyone learning campfire songs (“Hello! My name is Joe! And I work in a button factory!”), and the whole den telling round robin spooky stories around the fire.
Sunday morning was pack up time. Everyone else scooted out pretty soon after breakfast, but our family stayed around enjoying the last moments at the spacious site, reading field guides about the local trees and birds, and working through another ranger activity book. We pulled away at 11:55 am, just 5 minutes shy of official eviction time.
The little camp store was at the head of the campground so we stopped at it for a while, grabbed some kid shirts, played basketball at the adjacent courts, and then walked over to the (unshaded) playground. The kids weren’t too thrilled with how hot the playground felt so we hopped in the car and headed back to the National Military Park area of Kings Mountain where we roamed the museum again, purchased souvenirs, had a picnic, and and toured the large Living History “Working Farm”.
We finally said goodbye to the park and the fabulous historical American features it held, exhausted but filled with terrific family memories that (hopefully) will leave a lasting mark on our children.
To learn more about Kings Mountain State Park in South Carolina, click here.
For information on the National Military Park portion of Kings Mountain, go here.