Lake Hartwell State Park Is a Sweet Spot for Waterfront Camping—with or without a Tent

By:Marie McAden


Like so many of South Carolina’s state parks, Lake Hartwell State Park offers overnight accommodations for virtually every kind of camper, from those who enjoy roughing it in a tent to the RV enthusiast hauling a fully-loaded 40-foot rig.

But what this park has that others don’t is a hybrid of the two—the camper cabin. A cute little log-style cottage complete with front porch and picnic table, it offers a tent-camping experience with four walls and a roof.

The 11-foot by 13-foot cabins are furnished with one set of bunk beds and a double bed and feature heating and air conditioning, indoor lights, electrical outlets and even Wi-Fi—just no running water. A water spigot, fire ring and grill are provided onsite, and restroom facilities with hot showers are just a short walk away.

Guests need to bring their own linens, and all cooking must be done outdoors. But you won’t find a prettier setting to grill your burgers and weenies. The two camper cabins are perched on a peninsula overlooking the 56,000-acre lake, one of three large reservoirs of the Savannah River.

Renowned for its catfish, bream, crappie and largemouth, striped and hybrid bass fisheries, Lake Hartwell is a favorite destination for freshwater anglers. The park features two boat ramps and a fishing pier, along with miles upon miles of shoreline to cast away. Many of the 115 paved campsites are right on the water, making it convenient to roll out of your sleeping bag in the morning and drop a line before breakfast.

To ensure everyone enjoys the lake’s picturesque panorama, the 680-acre park offers a playground and picnic area at water’s edge and .7-mile nature trail that passes scenic views of the lake. While there is no designated swimming area, there are plenty of shallow spots to wade in for a refreshing dip in the hot summer months.

Located off the Cherokee Foothills National Scenic Byway, Lake Hartwell State Park serves as the gateway to South Carolina’s mountain country and its extensive network of hiking trails.

Want to learn more about Lake Hartwell State Park? Check out the website or call 864.972.3352.

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