Spend the Day at Lake Hartwell State Park

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Thinking about a day trip to Lake Hartwell State Park? Lake Hartwell State park sits on the border of Georgia and South Carolina. Surrounded by 56,000 acres of lake, this state park is a fishing fanatics dream come true. Plus, you’ll find opportunities for hiking, swimming, camping and more. Enjoy the outdoors at Lake Hartwell State Park!

SC State parks

Looking for more SC State Parks to visit? Here’s our guide to all 47 South Carolina State Parks and our highlights of Upstate SC State Parks.

Activities Available at Lake Hartwell State Park

Lake Hartwell State Park offers daytime visitors several different activities to enjoy. You can plan to do a bunch, or just tie up a hammock to the trees that line the lake and do nothing! 

If activities are what you are looking for, the park offers the following: 

Bird Watching 
Enjoy watching birds of prey circle over the lake in search of a delicious meal. Birds can also be viewed while hiking the trail within the park. 

There are 2 boat ramps and a boat dock, for those that own boats and want to explore the 56,000 acre Lake Hartwell. There are no boat rental options within the park. 

For boat rental options on upstate lakes, see our Guide To Boat Safety and Rentals on Upstate Lakes

The fishing in Lake Hartwell is top-notch! The lake has been the location of national competitions. Try your hand at fishing for largemouth bass, crappie, bream, stripers, hybrid bass, and catfish. The park has a 140’ fishing dock to drop a hook from. 

No rod? No problem! Grab a rod and some tackle from the Tackle Loaner Program and while you’re there, grab a Junior Ranger packet for your children to complete. 

Practicing catch and release is recommended at Lake Hartwell. Due to high levels of pollutant in the water, eating the fish harvested from Lake Hartwell isn’t advised by DHEC

*A valid South Carolina fishing license is required

While swimming is permitted, there are no lifeguards. 

Length: 0.7 miles  / 1.2 miles if you form a loop and return on the road

There’s a small playground adjacent to the boat slip. 

Camping At Lake Hartwell State Park 

The park offers guests several options for camping: 

Camper Cabins
These single-room cabins are 12 x 12. They include one set of bunk beds, and one double bed. 

You will enjoy the view from a six-foot front porch facing the lake, heating and air conditioning, indoor lights, electrical outlets, and Wi-Fi. There are fire rings and grills. They are a great option if you don’t have a tent, or the weather requires more protection from the elements. 

Most camping cabins have a two-night minimum. Follow SC State Parks on their social media pages because sometimes they offer some good deals on these (that’s how we ended up staying at one). Several of the camping cabins are pet-friendly but there are others, like #3 where we stayed, that don’t allow pets.

Camping cabins 1-5 have closer access to the water than others. Cabins 1 and 2 have a small beach in front of them that is very peaceful and has a beautiful view.

Tent Sites and RV pads include electrical and water hookups. Pets are allowed in the camping area, but must remain leashed. 

They range from $19 – $36 a night with a 2 night minimum stay, unless there is only one-night availability on the calendar. 

Lake Hartwell State Park website
19138 – A Hwy 11 South, Fair Play | 864.972.3352

Office Hours 
April-October | 9 am – 5 pm 
November – March | 11 am – 12 pm & 4 pm – 5 pm 

Upstate Lakes for swimming, boating, fishing and more!

Go to the lake! These recreational lakes offer all the fun lake things, like swimming, boating, fishing, and fun!

Our KAG Guide to Lakes in the Upstate

*Free with SC State Park Passports
$3 – Adults 
$1.50 – SC seniors
$1 – Children ages 6-15 
FREE – Children ages 5 & younger

About the Author
Melanie is a native New Yorker, who landed in the Upstate by way of Florida. She is the mom of two awesome kids, and the three of them love going on adventures!

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