Twelve Mile Recreation Area Has One of the Nicest Beaches in the Upstate

Have you visited Twelve Mile Recreation Area, a Clemson City Park on Lake Hartwell? Grab the swimsuits and those inflatable tubes because local mom Liene brought her kids for swimming and found a park full of family-friendly amenities that make it a great spot to spend a summer day. Here’s why you should visit and what to expect!

You can find more lakes that allow swimming in our list of swimming holes near Greenville, SC.

Things to Do at Twelve Mile Recreation Area

  • Swimming
  • Playing in the sand
  • Picnics
  • Boating
  • Fishing
  • Playground

Our visit to Twelve Mile Recreation Area

After our exploration of the Bob Campbell Geology Museum and the SC Botanical Gardens in Clemson we needed to cool down, so we headed a few minutes north to the northernmost tip of Lake Hartwell for several hours spent in the water and the sun at Twelve Mile Recreation Area.

Parking costs just $5 per car. This is valid for all day use but if you want to exit and then come back in, you have to pay another $5.

The Beach Area at Twelve Mile Recreation

The sandy beach combined with the scenic setting on Lake Hartwell made for a pleasant locale for a summer day full of play. Swimming is allowed, but there are no lifeguards on duty. Swimming is at your own risk. No pets allowed on the beach.

The beach is closed October – April 1.

The beach area has a playground with plenty of shade in the park for hot summer days. Many picnic shelters are available with tables, too, if you need a break from the sun.

A boat ramp allows for access to the 962 miles of shoreline. Annual boat ramp passes are required and are $75 for Pickens County residents and $150 for non-residents.

As far as swimming in man-made lakes goes, I find this to be one of the nicest beaches in the Upstate. The proximity to Clemson makes for an easy stop if in the area, or a perfect day trip if coming from Greenville or elsewhere in the Upstate.

About Lake Hartwell

Lake Hartwell is a man-made lake bordering Georgia and South Carolina on the Savannah, Tugaloo, and Seneca Rivers. The Hartwell Project originated with the goals of hydro-power, flood control, and navigation. It was only later that recreation, water quality, water supply, and fish & wildlife management were added, and today there are nine campgrounds and 15 day-use facilities operated by the US Army Corps of Engineers on Hartwell.

Plan your own trip

Parking is $5 per car when purchasing a daily pass on-site. You can also purchase an annual pass and receive a gate code to enter the park up to two times in one day. Annual passes are $40 for Pickens County residents and $120 for non-residents. For an annual pass, fill out the form on the Clemson City Facilities website.

Restrooms are available in the park. No pets allowed on the beach.

Hours are 6 am – 11 pm and the beach is closed October – April 1.

Twelve Mile Recreation Area
113 Twelve Mile Park
Clemson, SC

This article was originally published on Femme au foyer.

Has your family explored Twelve Mile Recreation Area?

Where to go swimming and play in splash pads near Greenville, SC.

Looking for other areas to swim near Greenville, SC? We’ve got your ultimate list of where to cool off in the water this summer.

About the Author
Mother of four young boys, Liene is constantly on the move since returning to Greenville in 2012. Whether she’s exploring the state parks and natural areas of the Carolinas or teaming up with other moms to organize activities for the kids, she’s always searching for the next adventure in the Upstate. For everything from hiking, travel, cooking and crafts to multicultural & global education posts, visit her blog,

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