National Park & Recreation Month

Graphic of hikers in the woods

July is an eagerly awaited month across South Carolina for outdoor activities. Park and Recreation Month's annual observance serves as a reminder of the invaluable role that parks, green spaces, and recreational programs play in enhancing the quality of life for residents and visitors alike. From the striking variety of our beautiful state parks to bustling community facilities offering diverse activities, National Park and Recreation Month highlights the spirit of inclusion, accessibility, wellness, and exploration that these spaces foster. Whether it's hiking, bike riding, swimming, camping, fishing, or even just picnicking under sprawling oak trees or participating in educational programs, July invites everyone to connect with nature, stay active, and forge lasting memories in the heart of the Palmetto State.

The State Library offers a variety of programs and services to help you enjoy South Carolina's parks, including our Check Out SC program, and a selection of books to help you enjoy our wonderful parks and great outdoors.


Check Out SC

Check Out SC is a partnership between the South Carolina State Library and South Carolina Parks, Recreation and Tourism (SCPRT) to encourage patrons to take advantage of public spaces, specifically state parks, and reap the benefits of spending more time outdoors.

You can participate at your local library and check out a backback that includes a Statewide Park Passport provided by SCPRT that allow patrons free day-entry into any South Carolina state park, and, for discovering nature, one pair of binoculars and a magnifying glass.

Check Out SC backpack


Park and Recreation Month Books

Cover of National Audubon Society Field guide to the Southeastern States

National Audubon Society Field Guide to the Southeastern States

Peter Alden

Counter Filled with concise descriptions and stunning photographs, the National Audubon Society Field Guide to the Southeastern States belongs in the home of every resident of the Southeast and in the suitcase or backpack of every visitor. This compact volume contains: An easy-to-use field guide for identifying 1,000 of the state's wildflowers, trees, mushrooms, mosses, fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds, butterflies, mammals, and much more; A complete overview of the southeastern region's natural history, covering geology, wildlife habitats, ecology, fossils, rocks and minerals, clouds and weather patterns, and the night sky; An extensive sampling of the area's best parks, preserves, hiking trails, forests, and wildlife sanctuaries, with detailed descriptions and visitor information for 50 sites and notes on dozens of others.

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Cover of The State Park Movement in America: A Critical Review

The State Park Movement in America: A Critical Review

Ney C. Landrum

The nature of parks -- The states begin to stir: state park initiatives in the nineteenth century -- The momentum builds: state parks expansion in the early twentieth century -- Coalescence: the first national conference on parks -- "A state park every hundred miles": the national conference on the state parks goes to work -- Dubious progress: assessing the relevance of the national conference on state parks -- An unexpected boon: economic recovery and a new deal for state parks -- Recovery and beyond: depression-era initiatives look to the future -- A major interruption: wartime distraction and postwar rebound -- The continuing search for direction: the ever-resilient national conference on state parks -- A new era of federal-state cooperation -- Signs of maturity -- A look behind the scenes: issues and influences that shape the state park system -- Anything goes: an age of expansion, experimentation, and expediency -- Looking to the future: the view from one observer's soapbox. 

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Cover of Wild South Carolina

Wild South Carolina: A Field Guide to Parks, Preserves and Special Places

Liesel Hamilton

South Carolina is a state of great natural beauty and rich biodiversity. From mountainous rainforests to isolated barrier islands, the Palmetto State is a remarkable place to encounter abundant plant and animal life. Wild South Carolina, compiled by a mother-daughter team of naturalists, delves into the most intriguing outdoor destinations, offering advice on how, when, and where to experience the state's ecological treasures.

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Cover of Exploring South Carolina State Parks, A Guide to The State Parks In South Carolina

Exploring South Carolina State Parks: A Guide to The State Parks In South Carolina

J. L. Stepp

Best-selling authors J.L. and Lin Stepp so enjoyed visiting all the state parks in their home state of Tennessee, while writing their award-winning book Discovering Tennessee State Parks, that they decided to spread their wings and visit all the parks in South Carolina, too. The result is Exploring South Carolina State Parks, a guidebook providing detailed descriptions of each of the forty-seven state parks, along with descriptions of eight of South Carolina's national parks and historic sites. In a format similar to their Tennessee parks guide and their best-selling Smoky Mountain hiking guide, The Afternoon Hiker, the Stepps provide clear directions to get to every park, suggestions for interesting things to do and see while visiting or camping, tips and local insights about the area, and over 700 color illustrations to showcase the beauty of every park visited.

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Cover of New Deal, New Landscape

New Deal, New Landscape: The Civilian Conservation Corps and South Carolina's State Parks

Tara Mitchell Mielnik

Depression and the New Deal in South Carolina -- Emergency conservation work and the Civilian Conservation Corps: an administrative overview of the Civilian Conservation Corps -- "A good set of boys here and I like it fine": life in the South Carolina Civilian Conservation Corps -- Building opportunity: tourism, forestry, and state parks in South Carolina -- Conservation and commemoration: South Carolina's recreational demonstration areas, Cheraw, Colleton, and Kings Mountain -- Forestry work and state park development: the South Carolina Forestry Commission and the Civilian Conservation Corps -- South Carolina's "breathing spaces": opening and operating the state parks during the New Deal decade -- Learning from the parks: resources and interpretation in South Carolina.

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Cover of A Field Guide to Mushrooms of the Carolinas

A Field Guide to Mushrooms of the Carolinas

Alan Bessette

Mushrooms in the wild present an enticing challenge: some are delicious, others deadly, still others take on almost unbelievable forms. This field guide introduces 650 mushrooms found in the Carolinas, more than 50 of them appearing in a field guide for the first time, using clear language and color photographs to reveal their unique features.

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Cover of Outdoor Adventures in the Upcountry

Outdoor Adventures in the Upcountry

Michel Stone, Lydia Dishman

Outdoor Adventures in the Upcountry, edited by Michel Stone, is a collection of true stories about hunting, fishing, paddling, birding, and other recreational pursuits by the area's best nature and outdoor writers. This colorful large-format book is beautifully illustrated with dozens of images by nature photographer Ted Borg, whose work has appeared for decades in South Carolina Wildlife magazine.

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Cover of Edible Wild Plants of The Carolinas: A Forager's Companion

Edible Wild Plants of The Carolinas: A Forager's Companion

Lytton John Mussleman

Foraging edible plants was once limited to specialists, survivalists, and herbalists, but it's become increasingly mainstream. Influenced by the popularity of the locavore movement, many restaurants feature foraged plants on their menus, and a wide variety of local foraged plants are sold at farmers markets across the country. With Edible wild plants of the Carolinas, Lytton John Musselman and Peter W. Schafran offer a full-color guide for the everyday forager, designed to help anyone enjoy the many wild plants found in the biodiverse Carolinas.

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Cover of Beautiful Places: The Timeless Beauty Of South Carolina State Parks

Beautiful Places: The Timeless Beauty Of South Carolina State Parks

Chad Prosser

Each year, South Carolina's forty-seven state parks draw nearly eight million visitors who come to enjoy the unadulterated beauty of the land and its wildlife. Beautiful Places, released by the South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation & Tourism, is a vibrant photographic history of these sanctuaries. The product of decades of arduous work on the part of legislators, the Civilian Conservation Corps, and committed citizens, the parks preserve the diverse natural features of South Carolina--from its mountains to its forest canopies to its gentle, sprawling beaches. The striking eye of photographer Jon O. Holloway lends each image a unique, distinctly American beauty. The book also includes information on the deep history of the parks and the stories of the people who made them what they are today. Beautiful Places is a tribute to those legacies and a joyful celebration of history and nature.

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Cover of In Search of Mycotopia

In Search of Mycotopia: Citizen Science, Fungi Fanatics, And The Untapped Potential Of Mushrooms

Doug Bierend

In Search of Mycotopia, Doug Bierend introduces readers to an incredible and oft-overlooked kingdom of life and the potential it holds for our future, by way of the weird and wonderful communities of citizen scientists and microbe devotees working on the fungal frontier. Together they form a picture of the modern mycological movement, which sees these organisms as teachers, partners, and sources of wisdom that offer ways and means for creating a better world.

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Cover of Waterfalls & Wildflowers

Waterfalls & Wildflowers in The Southern Appalachians: Thirty Great Hikes

Timothy P. Spira

If you love waterfalls, here are some of the best hikes in the Southern Appalachians. And if you love plants--or simply would like to learn more about them--you will be in hiking heaven: naturalist Tim Spira's guidebook links waterfalls and wildflowers in a spectacularly beautiful region famous for both. Leading you to gorgeous waterfalls in Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, South Carolina, and Georgia, the book includes many hikes in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and along the Blue Ridge Parkway. As he surveys one of America's most biologically diverse regions, Spira introduces hikers to the "natural communities" approach for identifying and understanding plants within the context of the habitats they occupy--equipping hikers to see and interpret landscapes in a new way.

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Upcoming Event

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Freedom of Information Act Roundtable

July 18, 2024, 1:00 PM

Join leaders of the South Carolina Press Association for an in-depth conversation about how the Freedom of Information Act affects the news you hear every day. The panelists of veteran journalists will discuss how FOIA helps them keep the public informed and how you can do the same.  Q&A session to follow!