With picturesque lakes and beaches, charming towns, and unforgettable sunsets, South Carolina is every traveler’s ultimate fantasy. Blessed with countless natural treasures and unparalleled historical wealth, the area has something to offer to people of all ages. It also boasts some truly spectacular reel action. Obviously, this makes South Carolina exceptionally attractive for family fishing. Today, we’re going to take a look at the five best South Carolina family fishing locations. Let’s dive in.
When you’re thinking about the richest states in the country, South Carolina might not be the first to come to mind. As you’re about to see, it actually is one of the wealthiest– only the wealth we’re talking about is of the priceless kind.
Fishing in South Carolina is so diverse, it’s hard to believe that all of what we’re about to show you exists in one place. No matter what fish you’re after, South Carolina seems to have a keeper with your name on it. It also has a bunch of other activities for you to check out with your loved ones. To make things simple, we’ve covered each location first by the fishing it offers, then by breaking down the family friendly activities it has.
Without further ado, the five best family fishing locations in South Carolina are:
Hilton Head Island boasts some of the best inshore fishing in the country. It’s also one of the top tourist attractions in the nation.
Fishing – Autumn marks the start of the inshore fishing season, with species ranging from Redfish (Red Drum), Sheepshead, and Speckled Trout to Flounder. Fishing for Redfish is exceptionally good from October all the way through April. These critters are known to range between 20 and 40 pounds. Summer months are reserved for the hard-fighting Tarpon, as well as a variety of Sharks. Inshore fishing trips (up to 4 miles offshore) usually last four to six hours, with some charter operators offering eight hour outings.
Nearshore fishing will take you anywhere between 5 and 25 miles out. From October to April, you can go for Grouper, Snapper, or Black Seabass, while warmer temperatures attract exciting species like Amberjack, Cobia, Spanish Mackerel, and King Mackerel.
If you’re feeling adventurous, offshore fishing might be your game. These trips will usually mean going out on a bigger boat, as far out as 40 miles. You’ll be going after big game fish such as Mahi Mahi, Billfish, Sharks, Snapper, Grouper, etc.
Things to do – Hilton Head Island offers an array of family friendly activities. You can explore its dense network of bike trails and enjoy some spectacular scenery along the way. A kids’ favorite, the Coastal Discovery Museum, displays the Lowcountry’s natural history and cultural heritage. Alternatively, if you’re looking for a more relaxing approach, you can visit the upscale Shelter Cove Towne Centre and enjoy one of the many modern restaurants it offers.
2. Myrtle Beach
The crown on South Carolina’s Grand Strand, Myrtle Beach attracts more than 14 million tourists each year. Separated from the continental U.S. by the Intracoastal Waterway, Myrtle Beach owes a lot of its rapid growth to the proximity of the water.
Fishing – Inshore fishing in Myrtle Beach can take you through a variety of settings, such as estuaries, mud bars, sounds, and bays. These waters are brimming with Redfish, as well as Speckled Trout, Flounder, Black Drum, Pompano, and Bluefish.
Myrtle Beach boasts some of the best Shark fishing on the East Coast. Depending on the time of year, you can catch anything from Hammerheads and Blacktips to Tigers and Bull Sharks in these nearshore waters. Other nearshore species include King Mackerel and Spanish Mackerel, which are great from June through August. You can also venture further offshore for some Mahi or Yellowfin Tuna.
Things to do – The 60-mile stretch of white sand offers a wealth of water sports activities, as well as some relaxing beachside bars and restaurants. You can visit the Naval & Maritime Museum at Patriots Point to learn some of the nation’s proudest stories. If history is not your thing, maybe you’ll be interested in something more exotic like the Myrtle Beach Safari.
To keep this list as diverse as possible, we’ll give Murrells Inlet an honorable mention here.
Lake Murray is known as one of the most productive lakes in the Southeast for Largemouth Bass and Striped Bass fishing. It’s also just half an hour away from the capital city of South Carolina, Columbia.
Fishing – The lake boasts 500 miles of shoreline, and a variety of species to go for. Apart from Largemouth and Striper, there is also a good presence of Crappie, Bluegill, Catfish, and Redear Sunfish. You can choose from a multitude of public access locations such as boat ramps, piers, and marinas. Most of these should provide you with the necessary amenities such as toilets, parking areas, picnic spots, etc.
Much like the artificial reefs in saltwater, there are a number of man-made fish attractors in Lake Murray. These attractors are maintained by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources.
Things to do – Columbia is the capital and the second largest city of South Carolina. It’s recognized as the educational hub of the region, with The University of South Carolina at its center. The city’s rich historical heritage combined with a thriving modern population creates a perfect blend of old and new. There are a number of fun family activities to choose from. Hear the lions roar at The Riverbanks Zoo & Garden, take your kids to the one of a kind EdVenture Children’s Museum, or visit the astonishing Congaree National Park. If you’re in town for the weekend, the Soda City Market is a must-see. Every Saturday, the locals organize a European-style street spectacle offering unique handcrafted products for, as they say, “brain, body, and belly.”
South Carolina’s oldest and largest city, Charleston, has a lot to offer both culturally and fishing-wise. It’s also known as the most polite and welcoming locale in the U.S.
Fishing – Inshore waters are teeming with Redfish, Speckled Trout, Sheepshead, and Flounder, all of which can be caught from fall to spring. Spanish Mackerel, Bluefish and Tarpon flock nearer to shore during the warm summer months. If you’re planning your visit around May or June, you can take advantage of the now famous Cobia frenzy.
A little further offshore, species like Snapper, Grouper, Black Seabass, and Amberjack are constantly drawn by the many artificial reefs. The reefs are a result of a strong effort by the Charleston fishing community to create sustainable fishing hotspots.
May marks the arrival of big migratory species like Mahi Mahi, Wahoo, Sailfish, Marlin, and Yellowfin and Blackfin Tuna. These predators can be found in the deep blue waters, around 40 miles offshore.
Things to do – For nature enthusiasts, the Boone Hall Plantation is a must-see. With fairy tale vistas and an array of educational content, this place is ideal for families. History buffs can take a tour of famous the Fort Sumter and see where the Civil War began. If you can’t get enough of Lowcountry waters, a kayak tour might be just for you. Choose your boat size and enjoy the picturesque Charleston waterways. Or perhaps you’ll want to check out some of the famous art galleries in the city center. This historic town has it all.
Lake Jocassee might be a little secluded, but is well worth the travel. Located to the far Northwest of the state, the lake is around 40 miles away from Greenville, SC.
Fishing – The lake holds state records for species such as Smallmouth Bass, Brown and Rainbow Trout, Spotted Bass, and others. That said, Largemouth Bass is probably the most popular species around here, with spring and summer being the best time to catch it. If you’re into fly fishing, there’s a rich population of Brown and Rainbow Trout to go for.
Things to do – Boasting an incredible diversity of wildlife, the Jocassee Gorges have been named one of “50 of the World’s Last Great Places—Destinations of a Lifetime” by National Geographic. Crisp mountain waters flow through these gorges and into the lake, giving it a lasting cool and crystal-clear appearance. The numerous waterfalls only add to the beauty of the area. You’ll have plenty of hiking and biking trails to navigate through the scenic wilderness. We’d recommend a drive to Jumping Off Rock for a breathtaking view of the lake and its gorges.
South Carolina is, without question, one of the best places for a family fishing vacation. There’s a richness to this country that you just don’t see every day. With spectacular fishing all across the state, you’ll not only have keepers on your lines, but a memorable family adventure, as well.
Your turn! Have you ever gone on a family fishing trip in South Carolina? What was it like? Where in South Carolina would you like to go next? Let us know in the comments below.