On a peninsula of the 71,000-acre Strom Thurmond Lake in Plum Branch, South Carolina, you can find the spacious and wooded Hamilton Branch State Park. The lake has plenty of fun for everyone, from boating, fishing, and swimming to waterskiing, jet skiing, and even paddleboarding. Sailboats and majestic houseboats are commonly seen in this huge lake because there is so much space that everyone wants to enjoy the water on a hot South Carolina day. Swimming is always a fun thing to do, no matter whether you are jumping off your boat, the dock, or wading in from the beach.
With more than 1,200 miles of shoreline, you can swim just about anywhere, but there are no lifeguards on duty, so remember that you will be swimming at your own risk. Be alert and make sure non-swimmers and children wear life jackets. You won’t be bored on dry land either. There is a nature trail as well as a mountain biking trail to enjoy and another path that connects to the 12-mile Stevens Creek Biking Trail. During the off-season, you can enjoy hiking, geocaching, and hunting as well as the usual warm-weather activities because it stays pretty warm in South Carolina all year. Whether you are looking for some fun in the water or on land, this park is a great place to spend an RV vacation with the family and friends no matter what time of year it is.
You can find Hamilton Branch State Park In northwestern South Carolina just 25 miles from Augusta, Georgia, where you can visit the Augusta Riverwalk, the Augusta Museum of History, or even drive by the Augusta National Golf Club, the home of the Masters Tournament. Columbia, which is the capital of South Carolina, is just 75 miles away and has tons of monuments, a zoo, and a botanical garden. If you want to visit some other state parks while you are in the area, Baker Creek State Park is 18 miles away, Elijah Clark State Park is just 20 miles away, and Hickory Knob State Park and Resort is 23 miles away. With so many fun places to visit in the area, you will not run out of things to do, that’s for sure.
Off US-221, the park is easy to find, and the roads are mostly well cared for and level so you should be okay no matter what you are driving. However, there can be some curvy roads to be aware of, so keep your eyes on the road and let your passengers take pics of the scenery. At the park, the streets are mostly paved and wide enough for your motorhome or trailer as long as you are careful and drive slowly. Take your time and enjoy the scenery and peace of such a wonderful place.
Do you have an extremely large group such as a scout troop or maybe a family reunion coming up? If camping is on your mind for this event, you will be glad to know that Campground A is a group campsite that can accommodate up to 400 people. Although there are no electrical or water hookups available at this campground, there are plenty of picnic tables, fire rings, and even some barbecue pits for cooking. There are also modern restrooms with running water nearby as well as some pit toilets, which are a bit closer. You will be within walking distance to the water from any point in Campground A since it is on a peninsula surrounded by Strom Thurmond Lake. So, bring your fishing gear, canoes, and swimming suits because the lake will be calling your name during the hot days of summer in South Carolina. Pets are also welcome here as long as you keep them on a leash or properly restrained while you are visiting.
Campground B is the largest with 45 huge campsites, including 13 tent-only sites. All of the RV campsites here are right on the banks of Strom Thurmond Lake and have 20/30/50-amp electric and water hookups. The tent sites have water access only. Most of the sites can accommodate motorhomes and trailers up to 35 feet, while others can only handle rigs up to 30 feet. Make sure you check the length limit before reserving your site either online or by phone. Each of these sites has a large picnic table, fire ring, and a BBQ grill for cooking. The spaces are huge and have plenty of room to play and to sit around the campfire. Hamilton Branch State Park also offers a modern comfort station with showers and restrooms in the middle of the campground as well as two RV sanitation dump sites. Go ahead and bring your pooch because pets are welcome. However, you will have to keep them on a leash or restrained at all times.
This pet-friendly lakeside campground boasts 15 campsites that can fit rigs up to 30 feet in length. All the sites have 20/30/50-amp electric and water hookups available. They are all situated along the banks of the lake so you can not only see the water from your RV, you can hear it too. In fact, you can just walk a few feet to the water’s edge to catch some fish or take a dip. You’ll have no trouble cooking with the barbecue pit provided, and there is a separate pit to make a campfire. The whole family will fit around the picnic table, so you don’t have to try to balance your food on your lap in a camp chair or eat inside. After all, you came on vacation so you could be out in the fresh air. In the middle of the campground, you will find the comfort station, which has a modern restroom and hot showers. There are also RV dump stations nearby if you need one. Reservations should be made well in advance since there are only 15 sites.
With 36 spacious campsites, this campground is one of the largest, and all but three of the sites are located on the water’s edge so you can practically fish from your front door. As long as your motorhome is 30 feet or less, you will be able to fit into these sites, although there are a couple of spaces that are a little smaller than 30 feet. Make sure you check the length limits when reserving your spot. All the campsites have water, 20/30/50 electric, and RV dump sites for your convenience. Cooking outdoors here is easy since each site has its own BBQ pit and a picnic table big enough for your whole crew. The park also provides campfire rings at each site so you can sit around the fire as well. The restrooms and shower houses are ADA accessible and can be found in the first camping loop. Pets are allowed, too, but make sure you keep your fur baby on a leash or restrained during your stay.
As one of the largest campgrounds, this one has 18 waterfront campsites that can accommodate rigs up to 30 feet long and one (number 81) that fits rigs up to 20 feet in length. You can cook indoors or outdoors since each site has 20/30/50-amp electric hookups and water access as well as a barbecue pit. The large picnic table seats six so your whole gang can be comfortable while they eat. Of course, there is also a fire ring where you can have a campfire, make s’ mores, and tell campfire stories. This campground has two comfort stations, both with hot showers and modern restrooms that have running water. You can also find an RV dump site nearby. Friendly fur babies are welcome as long as they are restrained and supervised while you are visiting the park. Early reservations should be made since there are a limited number of RV sites available.
Campground F has 10 spacious campsites just a few feet from the water. All the sites have water hookups, 20/30/50-amp electric, and can accommodate RVs and trailers up to 30 feet in length. This campground is on its own private peninsula away from all the other campgrounds, and the sites are partially shaded, so you don’t have to worry about getting that awning put up right away. Be sure to reserve your spot early if you want one of these campsites. With electric and water access, you can cook inside your rig or outside on the barbeque grill provided. And your whole family can fit at the picnic table, so you will not have to try and balance your food in your lap sitting in a lawn chair. The comfort stations at Campgrounds E are close enough to walk to and have hot showers for you to use as well as modern restrooms. You can bring your pets as long as they are supervised and restrained while you are here.
These 18 campsites at Campground G can all handle rigs up to 30 feet long, and most of them are waterfront sites. They each have water and 20/30/50-amp electric, so you can easily cook indoors or outdoors here. You’ll also be able to keep your motorhome cool during the hot South Carolina summers. If you would rather cook outdoors, you can either use the provided BBQ grill or the campfire pit. As soon as you are finished preparing your meal, you will have a place to sit and eat. There is a large picnic table that seats six, so you don’t have to eat indoors. There is a modern restroom with running water in the middle of the campground loop on the end of the peninsula. There is also a shower house with hot water and a sanitation dump for the RV nearby. Go ahead and bring your pooch, but make sure to bring its leash, too, and remember to keep your pet secured and supervised during your visit. Be sure to make your reservations in advance.
Campground H is the third largest with 34 campsites, all of them on the banks of the lake. Campsites 38 - 52 can accommodate rigs up to 35 feet long while all of the others can handle rigs up to 30 feet. Whether you like cooking on the grill or indoors, you can do either or both at these sites because they all have barbecue pits as well as water and 20/30/50-amp electric hookups. You will also find a fire ring that you can use for campfires, but you can also cook on the fire if you would like, too. The campfire is the best way to make s’ mores or hotdogs on a stick. The campground has a restroom with running water and showers, as well as an RV dump site located nearby. Like the other campgrounds, pets are welcome. However, keeping them restrained and supervised is mandatory. Reservations are needed, and you can make them online up to a year in advance.
As the closest campground to the playground, picnic pavilions, and Visitor Center, this small campground is popular with families. A few of the spots are on the lake while the rest are just a bit further into the wooded area. You still have water access at all sites. These eight pet-friendly sites are great for those who like to be closer to the trailhead, day-use area, and boat ramps. All of the campsites have 20/30/50-amp electric, water access, and can handle RVs and campers up to 30 feet in length. The nearest restroom is located within walking distance of Campground I and the nearest shower houses are a bit further up toward Campground G. You can easily cook a meal outside either on the BBQ pit or campfire grill, and there is a large picnic table where your whole family can sit. No need to try and balance your food on your lap, sitting in a camp or lawn chair. With only eight sites here, you should reserve your spot well in advance online or by phone.
Are you thinking about going mountain biking? Go ahead and bring your bike with you when you come to Hamilton Branch then because they have a couple of biking trails for you to explore. The Stevens Creek Trail is about six miles one way and starts at the Visitor Center, taking you through some tricky areas such as tight switchbacks and steep hills to climb. You’ll be crossing the stream in several areas and plunging down several rocky slopes into the deep forest. Be prepared with water, snacks, and a first aid kit in your backpack because some of the area is very isolated.
The 71,000-acre Strom Thurmond Lake is the center of attention at this park, as well as several other parks in the area. Being one of the three largest lakes east of the Mississippi, it is the main attraction for locals as well as visitors from all over. At the base of the Savannah River, this gorgeous body of water has a maximum depth of over 180 feet, and with two boat ramps in the park, you can launch any boat from a bass boat to a pontoon. Small boats are welcome too, so if you have a kayak or canoe, go ahead and bring it along.
If you are an angler, make sure you pack your fishing gear in the rig before heading out. Actually, even if you forget to pack it, don’t worry because Hamilton Branch State Park will loan you some. Rods, as well as reels, are available for loan at the park office so you can get out there on the lake and catch some dinner. From catfish to crappie and bream to bass, there are a lot of different species of fish in Strom Thurmond Lake. Make sure you have a South Carolina fishing license.
Are you having a family get-together or have a large family? Or maybe you want to bring all your friends together for a picnic or BBQ? You can pack everyone in your RV and head to Hamilton Branch State Park, where they have three picnic shelters that can hold from 40 to 50 people each. Although they do not have electricity, there are restrooms with running water, picnic tables, and BBQ grills. One of the shelters is right on the lake while the other two are within walking distance of the water. Book one of the pavilions in advance or take your chances on a first-come, first-served basis.
If you are not sure what geocaching is, look the definition up online to learn everything you need to know about this fun, outdoor activity that is like a country-wide treasure hunt. All you need is a cell phone with GPS and some comfortable shoes for walking. Get on the geocache website and find the coordinates in the park. Your phone will tell you step by step how to get there. There are several geocaches in the park to find. One of them is about 150 feet from the parking lot in a 50-caliber ammunition box. Some geocaches have small trinkets inside, but if you take one, you have to leave one of your own in return. And don’t forget to sign the logbook before putting the geocache back where it was so others can find it.
If you are looking for a nice short hike you can do with the family, try the 1.5-mile Paleo Hiking Loop Trail. This awesome trail starts and ends at the visitor center, taking you on a leisurely but refreshing trek through the woods. Just follow the white signs with black arrows for a scenic walk through meadows and over ravines. Bring your camera because you are going to see some stunning views that you will want to share with all your friends.