When we arrived the park was super busy since it was the Saturday of thanksgiving weekend, but by Sunday evening it had all but cleared out! For the rest of the week it was pretty quiet with only a handful of campers dispersed through the campground. There are two campgrounds, we stayed at Cypress View and the other is called Lake View. Cypress View had just been updated with fresh asphalt roads and the electricity was newly redone. We felt we chose the right campground, although both had beautiful views.
We stayed at site 41 which was a pretty awesome spot. It was a pull-through right on Lake Marion. Our door opened towards the lake which meant we felt like we had our own yard. It was also right near the beach access where we would take the dogs each morning.
Santee is an interesting little town right off I-95 with a mix of nice hotels and run-down motels, a golf course right across from the state park, and a couple of good restaurants. There’s not much to do as far as the city goes, but the lakes and the park itself are great!
The Cypress trees growing in the lake were really cool! You can walk down to the pier by the Cypress View store and look through the viewfinder (bring quarters) to see them, but we just used our super zoom lens on our camera.
Since a lot of what we’re doing is online work, we loved that they had wifi in the camp store and a room overlooking the lake with windows all around it. They also had wifi in the office but there wasn’t a great place to use that unless you sat outside at the picnic tables.
The quick trail to the sinkhole pond was pretty cool with some info on limestone sinkholes - we saw a large alligator so be careful! We had the dogs on a leash but made our way quickly along once we saw that. Lake Marion near our campsite offered kayaks for rent, and apparently if you like to fish it’s a great lake for that. If you want to go out to eat, we went to Wilbur’s based on Google and Yelp reviews and the food was really good! Don’t expect a typical restaurant vibe though, this is a SC shag dance place complete with a stage, DJ, and dance floor.
The washing machine by the office didn’t work, and it stole my quarters since there was no sign on it saying it was broken. Also, the ticks are TERRIBLE here. I did let our dogs run on the trails with their electric collars on and they went through some pretty thick brush I think was infested. I pulled 6 off Baiden that were still crawling on him when we got back. And they are really tough to get off once they bite. I’m a bit picky about campground bathrooms but I didn’t like these much at all. They were old and whatever cleaner they used was really, really, strong smelling. Although I’d rather it smell strong of cleaner than something more repulsive, I just used our RV bathroom 99% of the time. The two grocery stores nearby also didn’t offer much healthy food variety either, so most exciting to me when we moved was finding an option other than a very small IGA grocery store.
Overall, Santee State Park was a great stop along our route. It isn't much of a destination spot, but it does offer great connectivity for those who work on the road as well as opportunities to get out in nature.