Orangeburg County is a prime destination for those who love adventure, recreation, arts and culture, whether you’re a tourist or a local resident.

The county offers plenty of fishing, hunting, golfing, camping, museums and festivals. The area features recreational parks and boat ramps, cultural centers, and even a Revolutionary War battlefield, with activities going on year-round.

Along with the wealth of recreational choices, Orangeburg County’s location, interstates and amenities make it an optimal choice for tourism, Orangeburg County Chamber of Commerce President Melinda Jackson said.

“I think with our central location, our access from both interstates, as well as the concentration of hotels and restaurants along (U.S.) 601, that we are an ideal spot for tourism – for golfing, for recreation,” Jackson said. “We’ve got the lake, we’ve got the black water river. So we’ve got tons of water sports as well as recreational opportunities.”

Also, “we are extremely easy to navigate as a county – that’s our biggest strength, due to the intersection of the interstates,” she said.

 

Golfing

Golfing in Orangeburg County costs less than many other places. Orangeburg Country Club, Santee Cooper Country Club, Santee National Golf Club and Lake Marion Golf Club offer uncrowded courses for golfers of all skill levels.

 

Fishing

The Santee Cooper lakes offer adventure for fishermen. Lakes Marion and Moultrie comprise 174,000 acres of public water. Public-access boat ramps, some free of charge, line the 450 miles of shoreline. There are motels, campgrounds and rental cabins around the lakes.

Known as the original home of the landlocked striped bass, the lakes are filled with bream, crappie, bass, stripers and catfish.

The longest continuous-flowing black water river in the world, the Edisto River can be accessed with a boat, kayak, canoe or float tube. For fishermen, catfish is a common catch in the Edisto.

 

Hunting

Deer hunting is king in Orangeburg County, which consistently ranks high as a producer of deer in numbers and size. Sportsmen can also hunt wild turkeys, ducks, doves and other game fowl.

The Grand American Coon Hunt, which draws thousands to the county each January, is the country’s largest field trial for coon dogs. Founded in 1966, the event attracts as many as 30,000 visitors from across North America to the Orangeburg County Fairgrounds.

 

Camping

Camping is available around the region. Santee State Park near Santee is a state park along Lake Marion with hiking, biking, camping, fishing, cabins and pontoon boats. There are plenty of trails for hiking and biking, and pontoon boat rides on the flooded cypress forest. Camping is also available in the Eutawville area at sites like Rocks Pond Campground.

 

Heritage Corridor sites

South Carolina’s Heritage Corridor highlights attractions and places of historical and cultural interest for visitors from around the nation. Edisto Memorial Gardens in Orangeburg is a 150-acre garden along the Edisto River that is famous for its impressive rose varieties. Edisto Memorial Gardens is made up of 150 acres of azaleas, camellias, roses and other flowers spaced among giant oaks and century-old cypress trees, cherry and dogwood trees.

The Arthur Rose Museum at Claflin University in Orangeburg is a museum on the campus of the oldest Historically Black College in South Carolina. Erected in 1898, it is one of the older remaining structure houses on the Claflin campus.

The Great Branch Rosenwald Teacherage near Orangeburg is one of eight homes built in S.C. to house African-American principals and teachers who taught in the Great Branch Rosenwald School. The restored home has a welcome center, artifact room and a student research room.

Other sites in Orangeburg County include: the old Springfield High School, which houses the Springfield Military Museum; the Santee Cultural Arts and Visitors Center; the Historic Church of the Epiphany and the Parish House in Eutawville; the I.P. Stanback Museum and Planetarium at South Carolina State University; Santee Cooper Visitors Center; Vallentine’s Store and Cotton Gin in Cope; the Old Willow High School in Norway, and the Holly Hill Depot.

 

History and culture

There are significant historical sites, museums and arts centers in Orangeburg County. Eutaw Springs Battleground Park, a historic site located near Eutawville, was the site of the American Revolutionary War Battle of Eutaw Springs. The battle occurred on Sept. 8, 1781, and was the last major engagement of the war in the Carolinas. The site includes a historic marker, a monument by the local chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution and the tomb of British Commander Major John Marjoribanks.

The Elloree Heritage Museum & Cultural Center in Elloree offers visitors a chance to look back on rural history in an interactive setting, with docents dressed in period clothing similar to that worn by farmers 100 years ago.

The Branchville Railroad Junction and Museum denotes Branchville’s distinction as the “World’s Oldest Railroad Junction.” Presidents William H. Taft, William McKinley and Teddy Roosevelt are among the many visitors to the depot over the years.

Located in Edisto Memorial Gardens, the Orangeburg County Fine Arts Center serves the community by offering children's summer arts programs and piano lessons, as well as adult painting classes and craft workshops.

Local performers are featured on the center’s stage and in the city auditorium for Showcase Orangeburg, held in conjunction with the city's annual Festival of Roses. The center’s Lusty Art Gallery features the works of area artists on a rotational basis.

 

Festivals

The county boasts several family-friendly community festivals each year.

  • The Elloree Trials horse race for thoroughbreds and quarter horses is held each March.
  • The Governor’s Frog Jump and International Egg Strike draws visitors to Springfield in April.
  • The Elloree Pork Fest features a barbecue contest and draws cooking teams from around the state in April.
  • The Orangeburg Festival of Roses showcases Edisto Memorial Gardens, as well as food, fun and attractions, in early May.
  • Branchville’s Raylrode Daze Festivul celebrates the town’s railroad history in the last weekend of September each year.
  • Bowman’s Harvest Festival is held in September.

Contact the writer: chuff@timesanddemocrat.com and 803-533-5543

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