The kids and I decided to head to South Carolina today to visit Landsford Canal State Park. I like this park because it is a good mix of nature and history.
There are two trails in the park--one that follows the Catawba river and one that follows the now-defunct canal. Both trails are easy to walk on, and I was able to use my stroller without too much trouble. We saw remains of the stone dam that led into the canal as well as the guardlock and a footbridge. There are more structures on site, including a mill site and lockkeeper's house, but we didn't get that far south on our hike. The kids enjoyed learning how the canal worked, and I was able to make it personal since one of our great-grandfathers was a lockkeeper in Yorkshire.
There are some nice benches and picnic tables where we stopped to snack, a kid's play area, and the restrooms were clean. The park rangers were very friendly and visible, so even though we only spotted a few other visitors, I felt very safe alone with the kids.
The ford is also a place of historical significance as both American and British troops crossed the river here under Cornwallis and Sumter during the American Revolution.
There is a pair of resident bald eagles and we were able to spot their nest. The kids noticed some white feathers around the park that they are certain came from the eagles.
There is ample shade and it is cool walking along the rushing river, even on a 90 degree day like today. We'll definitely go back next May when the spider lilies are in bloom. The large white flowers bloom on the rocky shoals of the river and are apparently quite the sight.
Landsford Canal State Park is located in Catawba, South Carolina, about 45 minutes from my house. It costs $2 for adults aged 16 and up and kids are free. We spent about 2 1/2 hours there in total and had a great time! It's definitely worth the trip.