For most of the year, you may have little to no reason to make a trip from the city down to the Draper Wildlife Management Area (DWMA) in York County, SC — unless, of course, you like to dove hunt or fish — but for a limited-time every summer the DWMA is home to one of Mother Nature’s most dazzling displays that you won’t want to miss.
For two weeks during the summer DWMA boasts more than twenty acres of brightly colored sunflowers in all shapes and sizes. The flowers generally bloom around the last week of June and first few weeks of July. Luckily, even with the strict stay-at-home orders that came with Covid-19 over the past few months, and the large amount of rain we’ve had, the sunflowers were planted and should still bloom on schedule this year.
The fields are open to the public seven days a week from dawn until dusk and are located at 1080 Brattonsville Rd., McConnells, SC 29726. You can keep track of when the flowers’ officially peak by checking the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources website and their Instagram account.
Once the flowers have begun to bloom the peak typically lasts about two weeks, giving you plenty of opportunity to snag a few postcard-worthy photos.
Tips for visiting:
- Pack plenty of water and sunscreen. Summer temps can get pretty high and there’s almost no shade to cool down in if you’re in the fields, so if you plan to spend a decent amount of time wandering through the sunflowers, pack water to stay hydrated and sunscreen to avoid getting sunburned.
- You’ll want to take bug spray and reapply often. Also, be aware that there are LOTS of bees in the fields and you’ll want to be extremely careful if you have a bee allergy.
- The best time of day to visit the sunflower fields for spectacular photos is early in the morning or late evening. Not only is the lighting ideal at these times, there are typically less people around to get into your shot.
- Do not pick the flowers. They are specifically planted to help maintain the wildlife in the area.
- There are no restrooms or facilities at DWMA, so plan accordingly.
Historic Brattonsville is just a short drive from DWMA and worth a visit. As of publication the historic site is currently closed because of Covid-19, but may reopen by the time the flowers bloom. Stay up-to-date with Historic Brattonville’s reopening, here.
If you make it out to see the DWMA sunflower fields this summer, be sure to tag us on Instagram using #scoopclt, so we can see your photos!