Hike the Nature Trail at Woods Bay State Park

1 Miles Round Trip - Loop Trail

Woods Bay Road - Search Nearby - Added by Ashley Stimpson

What exactly is a Carolina Bay? Scientists still aren't sure but you check one out at Woods Bay State Park in South Carolina.

Carolina Bays go by different names. In the Mid Atlantic they're known as Maryland Basins or Delmarva Bays. Sometimes they're generically referred to as pocosins, an Algonquin word for "swamp on a hill." But these elliptical depressions don't always contain bodies of water; instead they derive their names from the kinds of trees most commonly found within them. 

Scientists still aren't exactly sure what event formed the thousands of Carolina Bays that dot the east coast--there are multiple theories that include everything from glacial movement and climate change to a comet's impact or a meteorite shower. Regardless, Carolina Bays are characterized by the following:

- Symmetrical, elliptical shape
- Northwest-southeast orientation
- Parallel axes
- Raised sand rims
- Depressed interior surfaces
- Different interior and surrounding soils
- Relatively shallow depths
- Flat sandy bottoms beneath interior fill
(per SCDNR

and from above they look like perfect, parallel eggs. So cool. 

If you've never heard of a Carolina Bay, or never been to one, Woods Bay State Park is great place to start. The nature trail here is just a mile, but the boardwalk spur offers the opportunity to walk out into the middle of the water, where cypress tannin has stained the shallow water a rich, dark hue. 

There is also a water trail here as well as canoes and kayaks for rent. Oh--and watch out for the alligators. 

Within an hour's drive there are several more Carolina Bays to pique your curiosity. And if swampy, cypress forests are your thing, do not miss nearby Lake Juniper or Congaree National Park.


Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly


1 Miles
Loop Trail

Stay Nearby

Summerton, South Carolina

Santee / Santee Lakes KOA

100 National Park Road

Congaree National Park Camping

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Myrtle Beach KOA

Ladson, South Carolina

Charleston KOA


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Overall rating: 

Awesome time

Just too short but love to do it again and see different things. First time there today and saw a gator time I got out the car was a good day