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The Low Down on Long Shoals Wayside Park

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Local mom Andrea Beam reviews Long Shoals Wayside Park, a natural water slide in Pickens, SC. For more local natural swimming areas see our list of Swimming Holes near Greenville. Please remember that swimming in rivers is often “swim at your own risk” and presents unique hazards, such as rocks and strong currents. This is a helpful list of safety advice for swimming in natural settings.

Water Advisory at Long Shoals Wayside Park

Long Shoals remains a popular spot for locals to play in the water. However, for quite some time DHEC has placed a swim advisory at Long Shoals, due to bacteria in the water. This is a long-term advisory similar to the one in place at Falls Park and the Reedy River. According to DHEC, the water is not safe for swimming.

The following article is for information purposes only, because we know the Upstate still looks for information on Long Shoals. We do not recommend ignoring the swimming advisory from DHEC and we remind all parents and guardians to consider safety first.

About Long Shoals Wayside Park

It is no secret that I live to find free/cheap activities to enjoy during the summer.  Well, folks, Long Shoals Wayside Park has landed itself at the top of my favorites list.

I would describe it as the hidden gem of the Upstate. I’ve lived in Greenville my whole life (all twenty-five years) and I had no idea it existed. You and your kids don’t want to miss out on this natural water slide.

Things to Know if You Visit Long Shoals Wayside Park

A long-term DHEC swim advisory is in place.

Carry flops in your bag, but don’t wear them to walk down the hill. It’s a bit steep. Water shoes are the best idea although plenty of people walking around the waterslide and pools with no shoes.

The park is in a hole in the mountain and the sun is brutal. There is little shade on the rocks. Unless you plan on tanning or swimming, you will be hot.  Once the sun moves around, it is much more pleasant.  However, no matter when you go, you will have fun. Don’t forget to pack your sunscreen and plenty to drink. (With that in mind, remember that whatever you carry down the hill has to go back up, and that’s no easy task).  We brought towels, which were handy.

We saw other people with portable chairs, coolers, and even small grills.

There is a Porta John but it’s kind of gross.  If you have boys, you’re good to go because you’re in the woods, but if you have girls, be creative. That is my only complaint. I’m not a fan of portable bathrooms, so we were up a creek. Literally.

We had a great time sliding without floats, but if you’re interested in a faster ride, you’ll want to bring one. Tubes seemed to be the most popular floating device.

I wasn’t too worried about snakes, but I’m sure they are around. It is pretty open and the water is clear enough so you can see where you are swimming and what’s swimming with you.

My own personal preference is to carry a life vest or floaties for younger children.  JP swims pretty well without assistance, but there are a few places, (as you’re sliding), that could potentially land you under a rock. As with any place with rushing water and rocks, be careful where you step since the rocks are deceptively slippery.

There are picnic tables in the wooded area at the top of the hill. We ate our lunch before walking down to the slide. Once you walk down, you won’t want to walk back up until you’re ready to leave.

Unlike traditional water parks, all Long Shoals Wayside Park costs you is the gas it takes to get there. If you’re coming from Greenville, the park is past Table Rock and before Lake Jocassee on Highway 11.

Plan Your Visit to Long Shoals Wayside Park

Just off Scenic HWY 11, Pickens

Have you been? If so, feel free to leave us a comment and let us know your thoughts. Happy sliding!

Meet Andrea Beam
Andrea Beam works for the Greenville County School System, but her passion is writing! Greenville has always been her home. Her family enjoys exploring everything the town has to offer. She blogs at Sunshine & Rain.

25+ Fabulous Things to Do During a Day Trip to Pickens, SC

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If you’ve never spent a day exploring Pickens, SC, you should add it to your bucket list. Pickens County is home to some of the most naturally beautiful locations in South Carolina, including Table Rock and Lake Jocassee. You can also find excellent shopping at the Market at the Mill and local antique shops. There is just so much to do in Pickens, SC! We went on a search for fun in this beautiful area of the Upstate and came back with a long list of things to do on a day trip to Pickens, SC any time of year.


10 Upstate Hikes that Are Perfect for Teens

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Are you looking for fun or adventurous hiking for teens in Greenville, SC? Here’s our list of great hikes for teens in or near Upstate, SC! Some are challenging and some a bit more relaxed, perfect for a day with friends or family. Plus, there are plenty of trails with gorgeous views that are perfect for the ‘gram. For even more hiking ideas see our list of our favorite local hiking trails.

hiking teens greenville, sc

There are so many great hiking trails in the Upstate or nearby, it’s truly hard to choose where to go. Luckily, the weather here can lend itself to hiking all year round for the most part, which means lots of weekends to take the teens out on adventures.


Gorgeous Mountain Home Rental in Pickens, SC

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Looking for a mountain home rental in Pickens, SC, or near Greenville, SC for a large group of people? This beautiful home with a big open floor plan, fully stocked kitchen, and screened-in porch sleeps up to 16 people and has incredible views of the mountains. It could be the rental home you’re looking for. 

We have all the details on the home itself, plus information on other places to stay near Greenville, SC.

When you book through these links, use the code KAG22 for an additional 10% off the already reduced rental fees by booking directly with StayGVL.

Gorgeous Mountain Home Rental in Pickens, SC


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Looking for a way to give back to the community this spring? The March of Dimes Walks in Greenville and Spartanburg will be in-person, socially distanced, drive thru events and are coming up soon in April. Find out about what this organization does and how you can help!

Originally published in 2016, this piece has been updated with information about the 2021 March of Dimes Walk in Greenville. This year’s events will be on April 30, 2021 in Greenville and on April 16, 2021 in Spartanburg.