Kick off the new year on a healthy, nature-filled note

Park ranger Nate Housley points out trails Thursday afternoon at Charles Towne Landing. Visitors can take the Animal Forest History and English Gardens routes at the state attraction off S.C. Highway 171.

Looking for a way to launch 2012 on a healthy note?

A New Year's Day hike might do the trick. And free, guided hikes at 15 South Carolina state parks will make it easy to keep those health-related resolutions, at least through the first day of the year.

In the Charleston area, individuals and families can participate in hikes at Charles Towne Landing State Historic Site and at Edisto Beach and Givhans Ferry state parks.

Rob Powell, park manager at Charles Towne Landing, said the hourlong hike will provide "a little bit of history, a little bit of exercise and a little bit of fun." Anybody can participate in the 1.5-mile hike that he will lead, Powell said, including seniors, children and parents pushing strollers.

"It's a great way to start the new year right," he said.

State parks spokesman Marion Edmonds said South Carolina's parks are joining a national movement to promote New Year's Day hikes this year. Parks in 15 states will offer similar, ranger-led events to encourage people to spend more time outdoors. "If it's at all successful, it will become a regular feature," Edmonds said.

Reach Diane Knich at 937-5491.

All hikes will be led by park rangers Sunday. The hikes are free, but participants must pay park admission fees.

Charles Towne Landing State Historic Site -- History Trail

When: 9 to 10 a.m.

Where: 1500 Old Towne Road, meet in Visitor Center lobby

Cost: Park admission: $7.50 for adults; $3.75 for seniors who are South Carolina residents; $3.50 for children ages 6-15; and free for children under 5

Edisto Beach State Park -- Spanish Mount Trail

When: 1 to 2 p.m.

Where: 8377 State Cabin Road, Edisto Island; meet at the Spanish Mount Trail head

Cost: Park admission: $5 for adults; $3.25 for seniors who are South Carolina residents; $3 for children ages 6-15; and free for children under 5

Givhans Ferry State Park -- hike in the woods along the Edisto River

When: 1 to 2 p.m.

Where: 746 Givhans Ferry Road, Ridgeville; meet at the Community Building

Cost: Park admission: $2 adults for adults; $1.25 for seniors who are South Carolina residents; and free for children 15 and younger

Hikes also are being held at Cheraw, Huntington Beach, Kings Mountain, Lake Warren, Landsford Canal, Myrtle Beach, Oconee, Paris Mountain, Poinsett and Table Rock state parks; Musgrove Mill State Historic Site and Hickory Knob State Resort Park.

For more information, visit www.southcarolinaparks.com.