Crowds rush to campgrounds, filling SC state parks for 'Total Solar Eclipse'

Crowds rush to campgrounds, filling SC state parks for 'Total Solar Eclipse'

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Visitors to South Carolina are starting to pour in, from all over the country, for the best views of the Total Solar Eclipse.

There are people expected to stay at Lake Wateree State Park in Fairfield County from as far away as Texas, which is 18 hours away.

People began filling in that campsite Friday afternoon.

Cheryl and Ike McBrayer didn't have to travel far to relax by their camper, with dogs Abby and Carolina.

"My husband got to talking and said, 'You know, let's take the boat down and put it out in the water for the eclipse. That'd be the perfect place to see it. There won't be any hindrance of trees or anything', so that's what we're looking forward to doing," Cheryl McBrayer said on Friday.

The McBrayers are from Chester, South Carolina, and are regulars to the Lake Wateree park. This weekend, they will stay around a little longer than usual for the eclipse.

"I remember experiencing one back in the early eighties, but it wasn't a total, it was a partial, when I was at the beach. And it was really interesting to see the effect that just a partial had on the ocean," Cheryl McBrayer said.

Just next to her spot, was a family from further off, the Condron's.

Dana Condron's family's trip took 10 hours, from Maryland. They are just some of the expected out-of-state travelers.

"We want to be in zone of totality for when the solar eclipse occurs," Dana Condron said.

He spent the afternoon moving onto his campsite with wife and son helping pitch tents.

"I don't want to get in too big of a crowd, but obviously wanted to get in an area where we have a big view of the sky, an open area," he said.

There are other reservations here from Texas, Vermont, New York, Florida, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts.

Condron is hoping for good weather.

"Even if it is cloudy you know, what are you going to do? At least you now like I said I mean, this is a lovely little campground here, and we've got a warm lake," he said.

Rain or shine, park rangers are happy to host over eclipse weekend.

"These are the type of events that we would live for, because this is something that's getting people outside, and that's what Lake Wateree is here for you know," Park Ranger J.W. Weatherford said.

He says the Lake Wateree park is one of the state's best.

"Lake Wateree, a state park, is very influential when it comes to managing the state parks as a whole. There are 47 state parks in South Carolina."

And locals in Winnsboro are hoping the crowd will pay-off, boosting the economy.

"The state park is what brought my husband and I to Fairfield County to begin with many, many years ago. I will have to say that they are one of the most profitable state parks in the state park system," Fairfield County Chamber of Commerce President Terry Vickers said.

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