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Women's Outdoor Retreat 2018

  • Hickory Knob State Resort Park 1591 Resort Drive McCormick, SC, 29835 United States (map)

Event is now full - you can add yourself to the waiting list by sending in this form with a check for payment.  We will hold your check until we determine if space is available for you.

The Women’s Outdoor Retreat is a weekend event designed for women to experience nature and outdoor recreation with like-minded ladies in a non-competitive environment. Nature walks, kayaking, fishing, outdoor cooking, and archery are just a few of the nearly 30 classes from which to choose.

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The Retreat is presented by the South Carolina Wildlife Federation and sponsored by Cabela’s and Hickory Knob State Resort Park. We are pleased to have the support of several outfitters and organizations including the SC Department of Natural Resources, Stone Point Archery, Earth Connection Outfitters, Angling Women, Berkeley County Blueways, Clemson University Department of Parks, Recreation & Tourism Management, SASS (Surviving Assault Standing Strong), Savannah Lakes Village, and Blueway Adventures.  These partnerships enable us to provide a wide variety of activities conducted by a diverse group of expert instructors.  A special thank you is due to the numerous individual volunteers who so willingly donate their time to share their knowledge and expertise.          

LOCATION:  Headquarters is Hickory Knob State Resort Park - 1591 Resort Drive, McCormick, SC.  The park is located about 2 hours west of Columbia, SC.  The closest airport is located in Augusta, GA. 

AGE GUIDELINES:  Open to females age 16 and older (no maximum age).  Girls ages 16-18 must be accompanied by responsible adult – no supervision will be provided. 

DATES/TIMES:  The Retreat will open for check-in at 11:30 am on Friday, September 28th.  The first class begins at 1:30 pm on Friday, and the last class concludes at noon on Sunday the 30th.          

COST:  The registration fee is $100 per person.  Meals and lodging are separate (see below). 

EVENT REGISTRATION REFUNDS:  90% of registration, t-shirt & meal plan fees will be refunded when requested in writing or by email on or before September 10th.  50% of registration fees will be refunded if requested between September 11-27th.  Lodging cancellations must be made through Hickory Knob, and their refund policy is different.

MEALS:  Hickory Knob has a full-service restaurant serving three meals each day.  Breakfast, lunch and dinner buffets are available, as well as a full menu of options.  Lighter options include a soup and salad bar for lunch or dinner. 

You may choose to purchase our Retreat Meal Plan for $65 per person, which will allow you to avoid standing in the cashier’s line after each meal.  The meal plan covers the hot buffet & salad bar, drink & gratuity for each included meal - plan includes all of these meals: Friday dinner, Saturday breakfast, lunch and dinner, and Sunday breakfast.  The meal plan is only available in advance, and no partial meal plans will be sold.

A special effort has been made to ensure that the meals are affordable and meet the dietary needs of everyone attending the retreat, including those preferring a vegetarian meal.  The cabins have fully-equipped kitchens, but hotel rooms have no cooking facilities.  Grills are not allowed in rooms.    

OVERNIGHT ACCOMMODATIONS:  Hickory Knob’s accommodations include motel rooms and cabins.  Camping is also available.  You are encouraged to stay at the park in order to enjoy the full experience and the camaraderie of the other participants.  

Lodging reservations do not reserve you a spot in the Retreat, or vice versa. Park lodging fills up quickly, so be sure you make those arrangements after 8am on May 30th, by calling Hickory Knob at 1-800-491-1764. Be sure to tell them you are with the Women’s Outdoor Retreat.

Lodging Rates for 2018 are as follows: 

Hotel Room - $75.00 per night plus tax.  Includes 2 double beds and private bathroom, sleeps up to 4 people. All rooms have satellite TV, coffee pot (coffee provided each day) and phone; some rooms also include small fridge, microwave, hair dryer, iron and ironing board.

Cabin - $106.00 per night plus tax.  Includes kitchen with refrigerator and stove/oven, living room with sofa (they are no longer sleepers) and bedroom with 2 double beds, private bath. Also includes 2 satellite TVs, coffee pot (bring coffee – they will have some in there) and phone. If you plan on cooking, you might want to bring your own cookware, etc. They have a fry pan and a pot, basic plates, bowls etc. They do not provide sharp knives.

Campsites in park campground - 44 sites rent for $24 per night. Nightly rates vary and are subject to change. The campground is convenient to restroom facilities with hot showers. All sites accommodate RVs up to 30 feet, 21 of which are waterfront. Tent camping is also permitted. *please note that campground is approx. 2 miles from event headquarters & meeting rooms*

Alternate Lodging Options:
Cullars Inn, Lincolnton, GA - (706) 359-6161 -
Elijah Clark State Park - 800-864-7275 -

Questions?  Email Sara Green, SCWF Director of Education.

Click here to see photos from our 2017 Women's Outdoor Retreat.



ARCHERY - One of the oldest methods of hunting involves the skilled use of a bow and arrows.  You will learn some of these skills as you test your aim with stationary targets with instructors from Stone Point Archery.

BACKPACKING - Thinking about backpacking, but don’t know where to begin? Learn the basics of backpacking from the World’s Most Foremost Outdoor Outfitter, Cabela’s. We will teach you about the must have essentials for any trip, how to size a backpack and how to properly stow your gear. We will showcase the latest in backpacking gear and technology–water filtration, cooking gear, solar charging equipment, sleep pads & more.

BACKYARD WILDLIFE HABITAT - Learn how to provide food, water, cover, and places to raise young for wildlife to supply a natural habitat for a variety of birds, butterflies, and other wildlife.

BIRDING - Your leader will help you improve your birding skills through field observations using field guides, identifying marks and calls, and will lead a walk in the park listing the species observed.

CANOEING - One of the most relaxing ways to enjoy the outdoors. Learn basic strokes and how to have a safe outing whether on a river or a lake.

ESSENTIAL OILS ($) – Explore and learn about the healing benefits of essential oils. Learn how nature’s medicine cabinet can help you take care of you and your family’s health by utilizing essential oils as your go-to in first-aid situations.  A materials fee of $5 per person is collected at check-in.  

FISH CLEANING & COOKING - Learn to clean, prepare and cook your catch of the day from South Carolina’s many lakes and streams. 

FRESHWATER FISHING - Learn the fundamentals of fishing on our inland lakes and streams with basic equipment, and then try your luck. A valid SC Fishing License is required, and can be purchased from the SC Department of Natural Resources or most places where tackle is sold.  

GEOCACHING - This is an exciting adventure game using Global Positioning Systems (GPS).  You will use a GPS to find caches that have been hidden throughout the park.  Once found, a cache may provide the visitor with a wide variety of rewards. 

HEALTH & NATURE - This experiential workshop will introduce participants to the health benefits of regularly spending time in nature.  It will include a brief introduction to the Japanese tradition of Shinrin-Yoku (forest bathing) and the latest health research connecting wellness to nature.  Participants will learn several relaxation techniques aimed at stress management.

HYPERTUFA PLANTERS ($) - Hypertufa troughs are made from a lightweight, porous material that provides great drainage for plants like herbs, succulents, and more. Participants will make their own trough to take home, and see a variety of ways to plant and use them in the garden. A materials fee of $5 per person is collected at check-in.  

KAYAKING INTRO - Recreational kayaking allows you to float on a peaceful river or paddle around a pond or lake as you enjoy nature’s beauty.  You will learn basic paddling strokes, safety techniques, self-rescue and more in this introductory class.   

KNOT TYING – In this interactive workshop, you will learn to tie basic knots for camp craft.  Learn the difference between granny and square knots, hitches and more.  Hands-on participation will help you master those basic knots.

LAKE THURMOND PADDLE - Enjoy a leisurely paddle in a kayak along the coves and shoreline of Hickory Knob as you explore the natural beauty and watch for wildlife. (Paddling is not difficult, but if you’ve never been in a kayak, we recommend selecting the Kayaking Intro class also).

MAP & COMPASS READING - Techniques of land navigation can be used to find your way along unfamiliar terrain or in orienteering competition.  It also enables you to identify and understand geologic features as you travel along the more out-of-the-way roads.  

NATURE CRAFTS ($) - Whether it's Jewelry Making, Hypertufa Planters, or Kudzu Basketry, each Women's Outdoor Retreat offers several options for making nature-inspired crafts to take home with you.  A materials fee of $5 per person is collected at check-in.  

NATURE SPA ($) - Learn how to use and enjoy beauty secrets from Mother Nature's pantry.  You will have the opportunity to make some bath salts and other spa products for yourself or for gifts to carry home. If you would like to experience each step of the way, please wear a "clean" face.  A materials fee of $5 per person is collected at check-in.  

OUTDOOR COOKING – Learn from the World’s Most Foremost Outdoor Outfitter, Cabela’s, how cooking outdoors is made easy through proven techniques, different equipment, and the sharing of recipes.  Learn cooking shortcuts, fire building, and equipment care while tasting the fixin’s.

PADDLEBOARDING - The fast-growing sport of stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) is a fun, easy way to go play on the water.  Paddleboarding offers an amazing full-body workout and is becoming a favorite cross-training activity.

SALTWATER FISHING – Even though we will be far from the coast, you can learn some coastal basics!  Learn how to rig your fishing rod for targeting marine species. Not only will we learn about rigging techniques, but also how to catch bait along the coast. Learn how to set a minnow trap, throw a cast net, and more coastal tips.

SKEET SHOOTING & FIREARMS SAFETY ($) - Learn how to safely handle a firearm and polish your hand-eye coordination and quick reflexes when you take aim at clay “pigeons.”  A materials fee of $5 per person is collected at check-in.  

SOUTH CAROLINA ROAD TRIPS – Take a journey across South Carolina, from the mountains to the sea, without leaving the classroom! Learn about some of the many beautiful places which showcase SC wildlife and natural history, and the best time to go. Be sure your next road trip includes some of these places which are easily accessible and appeal to a variety of interests, from hiking to birding to kayaking.

WALK ON THE WILD SIDE - Come along for an easy walk with a naturalist on an exploration of the park as she interprets the great diversity of wildlife and other natural features. 

WILDERNESS FIRST AID – This class provides updated information on how to handle common and severe injuries and illnesses when medical care is an hour or more away.  This comprehensive training program will teach you what to look for and what to do in the event of an emergency and direct you to the most advanced appropriate type of care. ***this is a double class***

YOGA - This practice will invite a quieting of the mind while also exercising the body with postures that encourage strength, stretching and letting go of tension.  For all levels of yoga practice (no experience necessary).

($) – indicates an additional materials fee of $5 per person will be collected at check-in for each of these classes.


QUESTIONS?  Please contact Sara Green at the South Carolina Wildlife Federation through email HERE

Earlier Event: September 22
National Hunting & Fishing Day
Later Event: October 4
Birding Basics: Fall Migration