Become A State Park Ultimate Outsider!

Ultimate-OutsiderDid you know that South Carolina has forty-seven state parks and that if you visit them all you can get a free T-shirt and bragging rights as an Ultimate Outsider?

Participation in the program is simple. Visit any state park office or their website at www.southcarolinaparks.com and purchase the Official Guide to South Carolina State Parks for $2.00 (shipping & handling fees apply when ordering through the website).

Not only does the guide provide information on each park, its amenities, and popular activities but it also has space on each page to stamp every time you visit a start park. Head to the park’s office or designated kiosk and get that park’s page stamped. When all forty-seven have been obtained ask a park ranger to verify by signing the form included in the book, and then mail it in.

In addition to bragging rights and the awesome T-shirt, visiting our state parks is also beneficial to our mind, body and spirit, because spending time and exercising outdoors, has proven benefits that we don’t always get indoors.

Studies show that spending time outside in the fresh air and sunshine increases metabolism, self-esteem, and vitality while decreasing fatigue, tension, and depression. Sunshine also provides us with essential Vitamin D, which increases bone health and cell growth and boosts immune systems.

The numerous trail systems in South Carolina’s parks provides opportunities for running, walking, hiking, jogging, and mountain biking with the added challenges of wind resistance, rugged terrain, and variations of inclines. Visit coastal parks or ones with waterways for kayaking, canoeing, swimming, and SUP’s (stand-up paddleboards) and face the challenges of wind and currents.

If unfamiliar or inexperienced with these outdoor activities, many events are held throughout the year in the parks and provide visitors a chance to learn or train in a new skill or participate in a healthy competition. Among some of these events are guided kayak and canoe tours, guided hikes including 1st Day Hikes (Jan 1) or National Trails Day (first weekend in June), and mountain bike races sponsored by Midlands SORBA.

So, the next time you are planning a day or weekend trip stop by the nearest park office and pick up the Official Guide to South Carolina State Parks then pick a favorite or a new physical activity. As your exercise your way across the state you will have adopted a healthier lifestyle, seen a lot of amazing natural and historical sights, and achieved the noble title of Ultimate Outsider!

Deanna Anderson

Deanna Anderson is an avid day or section hiker who is hiking her way to becoming an Ultimate Outsider as well as completing the Palmetto Trail.  She is a published author and a freelance writer for The Sumter Item newspaper and Lakeside Magazine. 

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