Perfect for a Picnic: Landsford Canal State Park in South Carolina

Landsford Canal State Park, South Carolina© 2009 Perry Baker/SCPRTIn this historic park the swift-running Catawba River is graced by one of the largest-known stands of rocky shoals spider lilies.

2051 Park Dr., Catawba, South Carolina

Had the 19th-century canal promoters known how quickly the railroads would develop, many of them would probably never have started the laborious process of digging. The Landsford Canal is a case in point. Starting in 1820 with picks and shovels, the Irish laborers took three years to create a two-mile stretch of navigable water. The canal was used primarily to bring cotton from the backcountry to the market at Charleston. After a few years the railroad put the canal out of business.

Landsford is the best-preserved complete canal in the state, and its remarkably well-preserved 200-foot section of locks built of cut stone blocks is an example of the fine masonry work required for the early-day canals. Note in particular the precise stonework on the arched bridge at the end of the locks.

A peaceful pine-shaded area with tables and grills beside the Catawba River provides a pleasant place to picnic, and the 11/2-mile towpath suggests an after-lunch stroll.

Open daily year-round. Admission charged.

(803) 789-5800

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