Woods Bay Canoe

Trail Activities: t

  • Water


1.0 mile


Round Trip



Difficulty: Easy

Trail Features: t

  • Parking
  • Visitor Center
  • Picnic Area
  • Fishing
  • Pets
  • No Fee
  • No Camping


While there are hiking trails and a boardwalk present, the best way to explore Woods Bay is by canoe.

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An easy one-mile paddle through Woods Bay State Park near Sumter is an opportunity to explore one of the last remaining Carolina Bays in the Coastal Plain. Hundreds of years ago, thousands of similar bays speckled the area. But only a few remain untouched by human development and Woods Bay might be the best example. Although they’re not quite swamps in the classic sense, Carolina Bays are considered “elliptical depressions,” because the land is relatively dry even though the terrain appears swampy. Woods Bay, in fact, contains a cypress swamp and an open savanna, while a millpond outside the bay is one of the park’s man-made features. And while there are hiking trails and a boardwalk present, the best way to explore Woods Bay is by canoe. A marked trail is accessible most of the year and will allow patient paddlers a chance to see wildlife such as alligators, herons, egrets, and osprey. Some of the park’s flora includes the bladderwort and the insect-eating pitcher plant.

Hours: 9am-6pm, daily


One access and take-out point is within the park. From Sumter, drive southeast on US 378 and turn left onto I 95. Turn right at Exit 141 onto SC 53. Drive 1.3 miles and turn right onto Sumter County S-43-597. When S-43-597 ends, turn left onto S-43-48. The park entrance is approximately 1.5 miles on the right.

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Woods Bay State Park | 11020 Woods Bay Rd., Olanta, SC 29114 | (843) 659-4445 | Email

Download Coordinates
KML file Trail Segments (Paths)
Trail Features (Points of Interest)
Lat: 33.94467829251752
Long: -79.98085624424844