Abbeville's two beautiful lakes offer visitors an abundance of recreational activities—on and off the water.
Lake Russell touts a fishery like none other in South Carolina. The lake was created with the construction of the Russell Dam in 1983 by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. It's named after Richard Brevard Russell, a former Georgia governor, U.S. senator and advocate for the Savannah River Dam System. The 210-foot-tall Lake Russell Dam is a half-mile up the Savannah River, which was impounded to create the lake. The shorelines of the lake are federally protected against development. Lake Russell’s status as a conservation lake makes the reservoir a beloved South Carolina fishing destination open to the public.
Calhoun Falls State Park sits along many pine-covered points, extending out into the sparsely-developed lake. Its campground is one of the most touted in the park system, with spacious RV and tent sites offering views of the lake. Day-use activities include hiking an easy nature trail, tennis, kayaking, boating, seasonal swimming and fishing. The park attracts numerous events year-round, including fishing tournaments and the popular South Carolina Campground Cook-Off.
Lake Secession is another area reservoir created with the construction of the Rocky River Dam in 1940. The lake is 1,450 acres and impounds 6 miles of the Rocky River. With 52 miles of shoreline, Lake Secession is a hot spot for recreation and fishing for largemouth bass, bream, catfish and black crappie.
For a different kind of experience, get outside and dig for real crystals straight from the mine. Yes, real crystals! Diamond Hill Mine is "unsalted," meaning every crystal you find is true to the earth and not placed in the mine. Open 365 days a year, the mine offers visitors the opportunity to dig among 6 acres of dirt for gems to keep. Twice a year, an excavator digs up the dirt and exposes new crystals, most notably quartz crystals. If you’re lucky, you’ll find their most popular gems—skeletal quartz and amethyst. Be sure to bring gloves, tools like screwdrivers and shovels for digging, a box to carry them, snacks, water and sunscreen.