Looking for a beach without the hours-long trek to the coast? South Cove County Park in Oconee County might be just the place. You can swim on the sandy beach, boat, enjoy the playground, basketball, and more. Spend a day or plan a camping trip on the shore of Lake Keowee at South Cove County Park.
Note: South Cove County Park is not designated as a swimming area by Oconee County. All swimming is at your own risk. Drownings have occurred in Lake Keowee. Adults must watch children, exercise caution, and determine if the area is safe for their family.
We are usually ocean beach people. So sometimes my boogie board, sand castle bucket-laden kids get to lakes and find themselves a little underwhelmed. That was not the case at South Cove County Park. Stepping out of the van we felt like we were on a mini-vacation in a little oasis of tropical-like goodness.
If you’re looking for more places to swim, don’t miss our list of Lakes with Sandy Beaches!
Arriving at South Cove County Park
South Cove County Park is in Seneca, SC, about an hour from Greenville. When you arrive you’ll need to pay a $3 parking fee, but no other admission.
After the pay booth, you’ll want to follow the signs for the office and campgrounds, so you’ll veer left where the road splits. You’ll park in the lot at the office building, right along side the beach area.
From here you’ll also be able to access the playground, basketball hoop, and picnic area. Its a really well designed space for a family on a day trip.
The office and restrooms are central to all of those amenities so you’re never very far from a restroom, the gift shop in the office which has drinks and snacks, or from a helpful employee who knows the area.
The Beach Area at South Cove
Though on the small side, the beach area at South Cove County Park is quite nice and very clean. Parents should note that there is no life guard on duty at South Cove County Park.
The water is shallow for quite a way into the lake. We enjoyed throwing a ball around in the water and floating on noodles. My children had a lot of space to tow each other on their boogie boards, which they claim was equally as much fun as playing with them in the ocean.
The sand where we put our chairs and blanket was pretty packed down, a bit more like dirt than sand, and not very good for castles. But just a few feet away there was a section of the beach that definitely had real sand, so pick your spot carefully if you have little ones planning to play in the sand.
Just behind the sand is a row of trees with a bit of grass. If you are looking for shade you could set some chairs in that area and still watch the water. In fact, while we were there we saw a group of people string up hammocks between the trees, and that looked like a pretty great idea.
Restrooms and Facilities
The restrooms are attached to the office building. They have their own external entrance, to the left of the office entrance. I usually dread having to leave a beach because getting four kids out of wet bathing suits and into dry clothes for a car ride is usually very chaotic. Maybe they are just getting older, but this was the easiest beach exit we’ve ever accomplished.
There are two outdoor shower and foot washing stations nearby so you can rinse off sand. My boys opted to just rinse off and change in our van.
There is not a designated changing area in the restrooms. However, they were not crowded when we visited mid-week and were fine for changing.
Around the back of the office building is a covered porch with rocking chairs overlooking a pretty garden and the lake. This would be a great spot to get out of the sun and enjoy a snack, which are conveniently available for purchase in the office if you didn’t bring enough!
The playground is located to the right of the porch, so kids can run and play when they are done.
There’s a fish pond in front of the office with a prominently placed vending machine for fish food. My kids were disappointed that I couldn’t scrounge up some quarters.
So this is a heads up parents, if your kids will want to feed the fish, throw a couple quarters in the bag.
Playground at South Cove County Park
The playground is shaded by trees and set beside the office with a view of the lake. There are a number of benches in the shade around the playground for parents to relax, as well as picnic tables in the shade.
The playground itself has a tree house theme with lots of unique climbing structures and tunnels to crawl through that look like logs and that sort of thing.
We visited the playground after we changed to head for home and didn’t stay for too long. Even though it was shaded, it was hot and humid. It might have been a nice swimming break to visit the playground, and then head back to the lake to cool off.
Camping at South Cove County Park
The campground was visible across the swimming area and from there it looked extremely nice with a lot of spots along the water or with lake views. Looking at the pretty spots, I pulled out my phone to see what kind of availability there was for reserving sites. Then I remembered, I don’t like camping. But if YOU like camping, this looks like a great place to park an RV or pitch a tent.
Camping fees are $20-$30 depending on your county of residence and the type of site and you’ll want to reserve your site in advance.
Within in the park you’ll also find tennis courts, pickle ball courts, a fishing pier and 3 boat ramps.
Mom Review of South Cove County Park
We loved this park and totally recommend it without any reservation. The drive time from our home out by Greer was only an hour and 20 minutes. Google maps has it at just under an hour from Greenville.
The park is a really beautifully designed space. They’ve made it pretty and functional for an enjoyable day trip. The lake is clean and it was so relaxing to just watch it sparkling in the sun.
South Cove County Park
1099 S Cove Road, Seneca
Open 7 am – 10 pm
$3 Parking Fee
Have you visited South Cove County Park?