South Carolina ATV Laws: Where & How To Ride Your ATV

south carolina atv laws

South Carolina is one of the states in the United States famous for its natural beauty; it has lots of beaches, islands, and golf courses. It is a very exciting place to ride an ATV as there are different ATV designated trails, parks, and areas. We will be looking into the ATV laws of South Carolina. For you to have a great time riding your ATV in South Carolina, we will look at the ATV laws.

Some of South Carolina ATV law includes: children below age six must not operate an ATV, and children below age 18 should only ride an ATV under adult supervision. You can ride your ATV in Carolina Adventure World, Manchester State Forest OHV Trails, and Parson’s Mountain Recreation Area.

Riding an ATV in South Carolina is quite fun and exciting; however, it would be sad to have your fun cut short because you violated an ATV law unknowingly. Hence, you must know the ATV laws of South Carolina so that you do not break them.

south carolina flag

South Carolina ATV Laws

There are several ATV laws in South Carolina; they are strictly enforced, and there are consequences for violating them. In South Carolina, Type 1 ATVs are not designed to carry a passenger, while Type II ATVs are those designed to carry a passenger. Below are the South Carolina ATV laws:

  • A parent should not allow a child below age 6 to operate an ATV as the legal age for operating an ATV in South Carolina is 6 and above.
  • Children below age 16 can only carry a passenger on an ATV when they have obtained a driver’s license.
  • Children aged 15 and below must undergo an approved safety course and obtain a safety certificate before operating an ATV.
  • Every ATV rider aged 15 and below must always put on a safety helmet that meets the FMVSS#218 standard and eye protection while operating an ATV.
  • It is illegal to operate an ATV on any public land and non-designated trails.
  • ATVs operated between one-half hour before sunrise and one-half hour after sunset must always have an illuminated headlight.
  • Crossing a watercourse with an ATV is illegal unless the watercourse is at an ATV designated area or is bisected by a trail.
  • All ATVs in South Carolina must have a functioning brake system, an effective muffler, and a USDA Forest Service approved spark arrestor.
  • You must never operate an ATV under the influence of alcohol or other controlled substances.
  • Children below age 16 must always have adult supervision while operating an ATV.
  • You must never operate an ATV recklessly or carelessly.

Where Can You Ride An ATV In South Carolina?

South Carolina is also known as the Palmetto State; it is well known for its beautiful beaches, sandhills, and the Blue Ridge Mountains. There are a lot of interesting places and historical sights to see in this state. South Carolina is one of the best places to ride an ATV and other off-road vehicles.

Carolina Adventure World

Carolina Adventure World is one of the most popular places to operate an ATV in South Carolina. It is open during the spring and summer seasons daily from 8 am to 6 pm, while during the winter season, it is open from 8 am to 5 pm. It offers over 100 miles of marked and rated trails. Riders of different levels will have a great time in this park.

This park also has motocross tracks and amenities like restrooms, RV hookups, shower facilities, cabin and yurt rentals, a wash area, and a golf course. An onsite restaurant is also available. You can also rent ATVs and dirt bikes at this park. Every vehicle permitted in this park must not exceed 55 inches in width.

The off-road vehicles permitted at Carolina Adventure World are ATVs, dune buggies, motorcycles, sand rail 4x4s, dirt bikes, SXSs, and UTVs. Jeeps and SUVs are the vehicles prohibited at this park. Entry into this park costs $18.50 per person while riding costs $42.50 per rider. Children below age 17 will pay a fee of $29.50 to ride a vehicle in this park.

boy rides atv in south carolina trail

Manchester State Forest OHV Trails

Manchester State Forest OHV Trails is located near Wedgefield; it is open from December 31 till September 14. It offers 19 miles of trails with 3 main loops containing dirt, sand, steep inclines, numerous whoops, hardpack, dust, berms, sand and gravel pits, small jumps, trees, rocks, and mixed hardwood.

During the hunting season, this trail system is open on Sundays only. Camping is prohibited in this area, and you need a recreation permit to operate a vehicle in this area. Dirt bikes, ATVs, and motorcycles are the only off-road vehicles allowed at this OHV trail; others like UTVs, SUVs, SXSs, Jeeps, Sandrail 4x4s, and Dune buggies are prohibited.

Night riding is not allowed as Manchester State Forest OHV Trails is open only from dawn till dusk. All vehicles in this area are expected to have an end cap or a spark arrestor exhaust silencer installed. There are no fees required for entry and parking in this area; however, you will have to pay a fee of $5 to ride a vehicle.

Parson’s Mountain Recreation Area

Parson’s Mountain Recreation Area is open to the public from the last Friday in March till the first Monday after January 1. It is a 12 mile moderately challenging trail which forms a long loop but has a cut that divides it into two smaller loops. The terrain at this recreation area mostly consists of piedmont clay, trees, rocks, dust, hardpack, and loose dirt.

A staging area is available, which provides picnic tables, a parking area, and vault toilets. There is a campground near Parson’s Mountain Lake, which is located in that recreational area. However, there is no direct motorized access from the trails to the campground, so you will have to get there by foot.

Aside from ATV riding, this park has other activities, such as swimming, non-motorized boating, hiking, a shooting range, and equestrian trails. The only vehicles allowed in this area are dirt bikes, ATVs, and motorcycles. All vehicles allowed in this park must not exceed 50 inches in width.

Where Can’t You Ride An ATV In South Carolina?

Now that you know where you can ride an ATV in South Carolina, you should also understand that there are also places where you cannot. The government of South Carolina does not permit the operation of ATVs on any public road, street, or highway.

There are also some parks, trails, and areas that do not allow ATVs. These places are Moto-Vated Sports Complex, Pine Grove Motocross, and Strawberry Hill Motocross Raceway. These areas are mostly open to dirt bikes and motorcycles only; other off-road vehicles, including ATVs, are not allowed.

Some areas and parks are closed; hence, you cannot ride and operate an ATV there. Those areas are Greenville Pickens ORV Park, TNT Motorsports Park, Harleyville Motorsports, Possum Kingdom MX, K-Bar-M ATV and Dirt Bike Park, Saudi Arabia ATV Park, Red Oak MX And Trails, and Thunder Valley Motocross Park.

Final Thoughts

There are different ways of having fun. Many of these activities are enjoyed when done in a group, and there are others that you will enjoy alone. Still, a few can be done alone or in a group, and you will still enjoy yourself. ATV riding is one of the fun activities in the last set.

You can enjoy your ATV ride alone or in a group; however, this is one of the few fun activities with laws enforced by the government. So, you must comply with these laws to enjoy undisturbed and uninterrupted fun.

By Shawn Manaher

Shawn Manaher loves to play with new toys and dive into new hobbies. As a serial entrepreneur, work definitely comes first but there is always room for hobbies.

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