The 5 Best Places and Times to See Bald Eagles in South Carolina

Bald Eagle in Binghamton, New York
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Written by Nixza Gonzalez

Published: November 20, 2023

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Bald eagles are beautiful and large predatory raptors with a wide distribution in North America. At one point, these majestic birds were in danger of extinction. They were declared federally endangered in the United States in 1978. Now, there are more than 300,000 throughout the country. In South Carolina alone, there are at least 440 active breeding pairs. Although not as much as Alaska, which hosts 30,000 pairs, there are plenty of places to visit to see one. Follow along to discover the best time and places to see bald eagles in South Carolina.

When is the Best Time to See Bald Eagles in South Carolina?

Bald Eagle Fishing

Bald eagles can have a wingspan of up to eight feet.

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The best time to see bald eagles in South Carolina is during winter. However, you always have a chance to see one. They are in South Carolina all year round. The best months to see bald eagles are from October to March, with a peak around January.

The 5 Best Places to See Bald Eagles in South Carolina

If you desire to see bald eagles in South Carolina, check out these five spots.

Technically, there is always a chance you can see a bald eagle in this southern state. They are commonly spotted in the morning and evenings, feeding on fish from lakes. They nest in trees near water. While bald eagles can nest anywhere in the state, listed below are the five best places to see bald eagles in South Carolina. Bring your binoculars and quietly watch the trees for bald eagles and their nests!

1. Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge

Pinckney Island NWR Salt Marsh

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One spot you may encounter bald eagles in South Carolina is the Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge. This wildlife refuge is between Hilton Head Island and the mainland town of Bluffton. It’s a must-visit spot for birdwatchers, as multiple bald eagle nests have been reported in the area. 

The Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge is open to the public and receives nearly a quarter of a million visitors annually. Although it is a great place to spend all day, dogs are prohibited. This is to protect wildlife and dogs as there are large predators in the refuge, like American alligators. Apart from bald eagles, visitors can also see herons and egrets.

2. Sea Pines Forest Preserve

Bald Eagle in Pine Tree Florida

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Another excellent place to view bald eagles in South Carolina is the Sea Pines Forest Preserve. This lovely preserve has been around since 1970. It’s 605 acres of beauty. The many trails are top-rated, especially with bird watchers. However, you don’t have to spend all your time hiking at Sea Pines Forest Preserve; you can also horseback ride and attend a boat or wagon tour. The preserve is open from sunrise to sunset. An essential rule in the park is not to feed the wildlife and to always remain on the trails and boardwalks. American alligators are common in the park. To avoid a close encounter, stay away from the edges of any body of water.

3. Landsford Canal State Park

The Longest Rivers in the United States - Catawba River

Landsford Canal State Park has a surface area of 448 acres.

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Continuing our list is the Landsford Canal State Park in Chester County along the Catawba River. There is a lot to do and see here. Bald eagles and birds like great blue herons, northern cardinals, summer tanagers, double-crested cormorants, and indigo bunt have been spotted in this state park.

Landsford Canal State Park is home to thousands of rocky shoals and spider lilies that attract visitors nationwide. Also in the park are the historic canal remains. Popular hiking trails in this 448-acre park are the Eagle Point Trail, Nature Trail, and the 1.5-mile Canal Trail.

4. Croft State Park

bridge over Fairforest Creek at Croft State Park near Spartanburg, South Carolina

Croft State Park is an excellent place in South Carolina to see bald eagles.

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Croft State Park is another great place in South Carolina where you can potentially see bald eagles. This state park is in Spartanburg County. It was once the site of land used during World War II. A favorite feature in the Croft State Park is Lake Craig, which provides users with 165 acres of fishing and paddling opportunities. While paddling, visitors may see bald eagles nesting in trees along the lake! Do you like cycling? The state park is also home to over 20 miles of biking trails.

5. Santee State Park

Lake Marion at Santee State Park, South Carolina.

Santee State Park is a state park in South Carolina along Lake Marion.

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Last but not least is another state park, Santee State Park. It’s in Santee Cooper Country along Lake Marion. Bald eagle sightings are common in this 2,500-acre state park. The state park provides access to the 110,000-acre Lake Marion, including two boat ramps. Interestingly, you don’t have to search for bald eagles or other wildlife all day. You can also spend the day in a wi-fi lounge.


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About the Author

Nixza Gonzalez is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering topics like travel, geography, plants, and marine animals. She has over six years of experience as a content writer and holds an Associate of Arts Degree. A resident of Florida, Nixza loves spending time outdoors exploring state parks and tending to her container garden.

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