Lake Hartwell State Park | Outdoorsy

Lake Hartwell State Park
Guide

Introduction

As a boater’s delight, you can camp with your RV along the water at Lake Hartwell State Park. This tree-filled park features 115 full-hookup RV sites within the campground. Located conveniently near I-85 in Fair Play, South Carolina, the area provides easy access for visitors. A freshwater angler’s dream, the 56,000-acre Lake Hartwell, is known as one of the largest recreational lakes in the Southeast. There are miles upon miles of shoreline to cast away, making it easy to leave the RV and catch your dinner. The Bassmaster Classic is held annually at the park, attracting thousands of visitors in the spring.

You will enjoy camping at this state park as you participate in the many different water activities, including jet-skiing, boating, and swimming. The wooded landscape against the backdrop of the lake not only makes for great photography but also provides plenty of opportunities for wildlife watching and birding. Keep a lookout for foxes, deer, coyotes, and birds of prey. Take a break with a picnic overlooking the sunset at this breathtaking lake, let the children play on the park’s playground, or hit the nature trail for a bit of exercise. No matter what brings you to South Carolina, Lake Hartwell State Park is a prime spot for a little R&R.

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Camping Accommodations

45'
Max RV length
45'
Max trailer Length
Electrical hookup
Water hookup
Generator use
Food storage
Sewer hookup
Dogs & cats

RV Rentals in Lake Hartwell State Park

Transportation

Driving

Travel in your camper to Lake Hartwell with ease as it is located directly on the South Carolina and Georgia border, off of Interstate 85 and the Cherokee Foothills National Scenic Byway. Known as the gateway to South Carolina’s mountain country, this area makes for a tremendous panoramic drive in your RV. There are paved roads within the state park, but be cautious when you drive the grounds. The curves are not too tight for a large RV to navigate, but be advised that there are areas where the road does become narrow to travel.

Due to the state park’s proximity to the large cities of Atlanta, GA (100 miles southeast) and Greenville, SC (47 miles northeast) as well as Clemson University, traffic on the weekends can be busier than during the week. Plan your trip accordingly, especially on a Clemson University home football game day. Just 30 minutes north of the park, you'll reach Sumter National Forest, where you can walk around the Waterfalls Trail, and see seven jaw-dropping waterfalls all in one hike!

Parking

Fairly accessible to the Interstate, the state park’s entrance is about a mile from I-85. Many of the RV camping sites provide a level pad that can accommodate a 45-foot trailer and does allow pull-through and back-in parking. However, you may want to bring leveling blocks to make your trip more enjoyable. Additional parking can be found by the boat launches and within each campground loop.

Public Transportation

Campgrounds and parking in Lake Hartwell State Park

Campsites in Lake Hartwell State Park

Reservations camping

Lake Hartwell State Park Campground

Enjoy lakefront views at one of the 115 paved sites at Lake Hartwell State Park Campground. There are a variety of waterfront and woodsy locations, with some providing either pull-thru or back-in parking. Most of the sites can fit a rig up to 45 feet long. Make sure to double-check the campground site that you want before arriving as the concrete pads do vary in size. Additionally, there are 13 walk-in sites for tent camping only.

At the RV sites, campers are provided with electricity, water hookups, a fire ring, a grill, and a picnic table. There is a restroom facility with flush toilets and hot showers that is a short walk away. Visitors boast about a quick check-in process and love the park store and availability of drinking water. A dump station, boat ramp, and laundry facilities are also at the park.

Lake Hartwell State Park boasts spacious sites that provide enough privacy to let you enjoy your nature retreat under the shade of the forest. The campground provides an excellent place to watch a majestic sunset after a fun day out on the water. Pets are welcome as long as they restrained when outside of the rig.

Alternate camping

Camper Cabins

If you're looking for a unique camping experience, Lake Hartwell is the only park in the state that features camper cabins. Open throughout the year, there are two cabins available with gorgeous lakeside views. These one-room camper cabins can sleep up to four and provide all the moderns you need while still offering a "rustic camping" feel. Your cabin will have AC, heating, and Wi-Fi. You'll be able to enjoy outdoor grilling and watching the sunset from your private deck. Unfortunately, pets are not permitted in the cabins.

Seasonal activities in Lake Hartwell State Park

In-Season

Bassmaster Elite at Lake Hartwell

Perfect for any fishing fan, the Bassmaster Elite at Lake Hartwell is an experience you won't want to miss. Founded in 2006, this event is considered the highest level of professional bass fishing tournaments, making it popular among freshwater fish fans. Attracting over 140,000 fans to the Lake Hartwell area during the springtime, RV reservations are a must. Bring your camera and a chair as you watch the best pro anglers in the world and meet passionate fans of bass fishing.

Fishing

Catch your dinner at Lake Hartwell State Park! If you love to fish or want to try the activity, Lake Hartwell is the place for you. Rent a fishing rod and some tackle from the camp store through the park’s Tackle Loaner Program before you set out for the Lake Hartwell fishing pier. The largest lake around, this is a popular place to catch bream, catfish, smallmouth bass, walleye, and largemouth bass, including the popular striped bass. Fishing is a perfect activity for all ages to relax while soaking in the scenic views. If you want to have a friendly competition with your camping group, catches up to 60 pounds aren't unheard of in these waters!

Water Sports

Have fun on the water, and get a little workout in at this popular South Carolina Lake. Bring your boat, kayak, canoe, or jet ski as the state park has two boat ramps for visitors to use. Go out and explore this recreational lake of over 56,000 acres and nearly 1,000 miles of shoreline. If you need to rent a boat, there are plenty of local renters and marinas in the area.

Off-Season

Hiking the Beech Bluff Trail

Pack your hiking boots in the Class A and feel yourself relax as you travel the Beech Bluff Natural Trail that surrounds Lake Hartwell. Have a few moments of peace and serenity as you explore this short, hilly, dirt path. This trail is great for viewing the variety of South Carolina’s wildlife including foxes, snakes, and birds. If come in the springtime, you'll be in awe of the abundance of wildflowers that surround you. This nearly one-mile trail is rated as easy, so it's perfect for everyone in the family.

Bird Watching

Grab your binoculars out of the travel trail and experience a pleasant day birding around Lake Hartwell. The Beech Bluff Natural Trail is a popular spot for birders to look up to the trees and the sky. Take a camera to capture photos of common loons, horned grebes, ring-billed gulls, owls, hawks, and other birds of prey. A great way to de-stress, take a moment to identify some amazing species while you visit Lake Hartwell State Park in your camper.

Geocaching

Join the world’s largest, coolest treasure hunt and explore several places you’ve never been to at Lake Hartwell State Park! This is a perfect way for the whole family to get in a little exercise as you capture several of the geocaches within the park. All you need is a smartphone to get GPS coordinates that will lead you to the hidden cache. Once you find the cache, you'll uncover secret trinkets and a logbook. If you take a treasure, make sure to replace it with something similar to keep the game alive.