Come make a splash at Lake Hartwell and find out why we are the place to visit for outdoor recreation!
Ready for a swim but don’t want to drive to the beach? Take advantage of the sandy beaches and designated swim areas available along the shoreline of Lake Hartwell. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers maintains a number of recreation areas and campgrounds along the shoreline. For example, Elrod Ferry Recreation Area offers three swim areas, a boat launch, playgrounds, volleyball courts, and picnic shelters. Elrod Ferry Recreation area is located off U.S. Highway 29, just 2.5 miles north of the City of Hartwell’s historic downtown and shops. Hart State Recreation Outdoor Area also offers hiking and biking trails, boat ramp, swim beach, playground, camp sites (RV, tent) and picnic areas with grills. For campers (motor home, RV and tents), Watsadler Park is ranked in the top 100 parks. Amenities include showers, telephone, playground, dump station, boat launch ramp, and bathrooms. Bring your family, your beach towels, and a cooler and make a day out of it! Forget a specific camping item? Hartwell is convenient to all your shopping needs.
Avid sports fisherman and weekend anglers will both enjoy spending time on the lake. Fish species include largemouth bass, bream, bluegill, crappie, catfish, striped bass and hybrid bass. Shoreline fisherman can cast a line from a number of access points, including recreation areas, fishing piers, and bank fishing areas. Bank fishing areas feature brush piles installed along the shoreline to attract fish. Wading on the rocks and fishing in the tailwater is popular and offers fishing piers with accessibility for the mobility impaired. The Gum Branch Recreation and Tournament Facility is a part of the “Go Fish Georgia” Initiative that will be a regional draw for large bass fishing tournaments. When it comes to fishing, there’s no need to worry about the state line! Georgia and South Carolina have a reciprocal fishing license agreement, so you can fish anywhere on lake with a license from either state.
In addition to swimming, picnicking, and fishing, boaters of all kinds will have fun. Come water ski, tube, wakeboard or just cruise around. You’ll have a blast on the lake! Whether you like to canoe, sail, row, motor boat, kayak, or jet ski, Lake Hartwell’s extensive shoreline as well as coves, islands, and open water provide plenty of opportunities for fun. Clemson University hosts collegiate rowers from all over the country for winter training on the lake. Several marinas offer comprehensive services such as boat rentals and sales, storage, launching, and repairs. The Lake Hartwell Spring Fever Regatta, the largest catamaran regatta in the country, is traditionally hosted in early April.
Hikers, walkers, and runners can take in views of the lake on the trails located at Big Oaks Recreation Area located off of U.S. Highway 29. In early May, earn your race t-shirt at the “Best Dam Run Anywhere,” the annual Hartwell Lake Dam Run, a scenic course that starts in South Carolina and crosses over the Savannah River Dam to finish in Georgia. Memorial Day weekend features the Challenge of the Centuries ride for cyclists and skaters. This event offers scenic 35, 64, and 100 mile loops of various distances which include a ride over Hartwell Lake Dam.