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10 State Parks Where You Can Stay and Play on the Water

Marie McAden Marie McAden
A former staffer with The Miami Herald, Marie moved to SC in 1992. She is passionate about the outdoors, and enjoys exploring the state’s many natural treasures from the Lowcountry to the Upstate.
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Take your kids and your boat on a summer vacation worthy of your scrapbook. Spend a week at the lake and you're guaranteed to fill your smartphone with photos of a happy family swimming, tubing, fishing and just cruising around in the sun.

Best of all, you won't have to take out a second mortgage to pay for it. South Carolina State Parks offer campgrounds, cabins and contemporary villas on the shores of the best freshwater lakes from the Midlands to the Upcountry. All of the parks feature at least one boat ramp providing access to the water. Some even have in-water refueling and day-use docks.

Here are 10 great options for your SC boating vacation.

1. Baker Creek State Park

Baker Creek State Park offers access to Baker Creek and Lake Thurmond. Credit: SCPRT/Photo by Heidi Stone

2. Calhoun Falls State Park

Calhoun Falls State Park is located on Lake Russell.

Calhoun Falls State Park is located on Lake Russell in Calhoun Falls. It offers campsites, one boat ramp, a marina and in-water refueling.

 

3. Devils Fork State Park

Devils Fork State Park offers the only public access to the Upstate's Lake Jocassee.

Located on Lake Jocassee in Salem, Devils Fork State Park offers campsites, contemporary villas, four boat ramps and a courtesy dock.

 

4. Dreher Island State Park

Dreher Island State Park is located on Lake Murray.

5. Hamilton Branch State Park

Hamilton Branch State Park is located on Lake Thurmond. Credit: SCPRT/Photo by Heidi Stone

6. Hickory Knob State Resort Park

Hickory Knob State Park offers access to Lake Thurmond in McCormick.

Hickory Knob State Resort Park is located on Lake Thurmond in McCormick. Accommodations include campsites, cabins, lodge rooms, group barracks and a historic house. You'll also find a boat ramp (free for overnight guests; day-use visitors pay a fee) and a boat dock for overnight guests. The dock is available on a first-come, first-served basis.

 

7. Lake Greenwood State Park

Two boat ramps offer access to the water at Lake Greenwood State Park. Credit: SCPRT/Photo by Heidi Stone

8. Lake Hartwell State Park

Lake Hartwell State Park offers access to the 56,000-acre reservoir and the nearby towns of Westminster and Seneca.

9. Lake Wateree State Park

Lake Wateree State Park features a boat ramp and in-water refueling. Credit: SCPRT/Photo by Heidi Stone

10. Sadlers Creek State Park

You can launch your boat into Lake Hartwell from Sadlers Creek State Park. Credit: SCPRT/Photo by Heidi Stone
Marie McAden
A former staffer with The Miami Herald, Marie moved to SC in 1992. She is passionate about the outdoors, and enjoys exploring the state’s many natural treasures from the Lowcountry to the Upstate.