Francis Marion National Forest a great escape

Centered directly between South Carolina’s top two tourist destinations, Charleston and Myrtle Beach, the Francis Marion National Forest’s nearly 260,000 acres sprawl across Berkeley and Charleston counties and have enhanced the lives of visitors and residents for decades.

Officially designated in 1936, the area is named in honor of the fabled American Revolutionary War hero.

In the historic forest, the bright lights and noise of city life give way to peacefulness and calm. Dog walkers, runners, campers, bikers, hikers, horseback riders, fishermen and boaters enjoy the grounds managed by the United States Forest Service, perhaps on some of the very same spots Francis Marion craftily resisted and eluded the British nearly 250 years ago.

Around 1780, a British Colonel swore not even the devil could catch Francis Marion, who became known as the Swamp Fox.

Fortunately for locals and tourists alike, leisure and exploration aren’t as elusive in the Francis Marion National Forest today.

It is home to a variety of wildlife and remains a pristine landscape of pine stands, swamps and marshes beneath skyscraping bald cypress trees. Included in the wildlife is the endangered redcockaded woodpecker.

It’s home to four designated wilderness areas: Hell Hole Bay, Wambaw Creek, Wambaw Swamp and Little Wambaw Swamp. A wilderness area is a region where land is in a natural state, where impacts from human activities are minimal.

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