Lake Wateree State Recreation Area
Guide

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Introduction

Lake Wateree State Park is located in Fairfield County, South Carolina. Once known as Lake Wateree State Recreation Area, it has since become a state park after being acquired by the state in 1982. The 13,000-acre lake was created when a dam was built in 1919. Lake Wateree is one of South Carolina’s oldest reservoirs. Today, the lake is known for the several fishing tournaments held each year.

Open year-round, the park offers its visitors plenty of activities to enjoy during their stay. Birdwatchers will have the opportunity to see bald eagles and osprey along the lake and the trail. The lake provides a great spot for fishing and is full of crappie, bass, and many other types of fish that anglers may reel in. Boating and swimming are other popular lake activities. Back on land, take a stroll down the 2.3-mile nature trail or go geocaching to see what treasures you may find.

Seventy-two reservable campsites await visitors to the state park. There is a two-night minimum for camping, so keep that in mind when planning your trip. Campers will enjoy wooded, shady sites. During the day, keep an eye out for the many different types of birds that frequent the park. At night, enjoy a campfire under the stars.

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Transportation in Lake Wateree State Recreation Area

Driving

Lake Wateree State Park is located in Winnsboro, South Carolina. In a remote location, the closest town is Ridgeway, which is about 15 miles from the state park. The park is easy to find. If coming from Ridgeway, head north on Highway 21 and turn right onto State Road S-20-101. State Park Road will be on your left.

The roads inside the park are paved as well as the parking pads at the campsites. The activities and areas of interest within the state park are easy to access on foot, bike, or by car. There are parking lots located near the day-use areas. If bringing a boat, the park has a two-lane boat ramp.

If you forgot a basic item or are in need of ice, no need to head all the way to town. There is a park store which has basic camping supplies as well as gift items.

Parking

Public Transport

Campgrounds and parking in Lake Wateree State Recreation Area

Campsites in Lake Wateree State Recreation Area

Reservations camping

Lake Wateree State Park Campground

Lake Wateree State Park has shady, wooded campsites. There are 72 campsites total with 15 of them on the lake’s waterfront. Many of the sites have water and electric hookups. RVs and trailers up to 60 feet in length can be accommodated. While the campsites don’t have sewer hookups, there is a dump station near the camping loop.

Each campsite has a picnic table and a fire ring where you can enjoy leisure time eating meals or playing games with family or friends. Reservations for campsites as well as the picnic shelters located in the park can be made online or over the phone. There is a two-night minimum for camping at Lake Wateree State Park.

In addition to camping and the many activities the park has to offer, the park has a number of other amenities to make your visit comfortable and enjoyable. Dogs are welcome on a leash at the park. There is also a park store where you can purchase gifts as well as camping supplies. Restrooms with showers are located within the camping loop.

First-come first-served

Alternate camping

Seasonal activities in Lake Wateree State Recreation Area

In-Season

Fishing

Lake Wateree is known for the many fishing tournaments held on the lake. Anglers may catch crappie, bass, catfish, and many other types of fish. Fishing is not allowed at the boat dock during the park’s hours of operation but is permitted after dark. Forget your fishing rod? The park has a loaner program for rods and reels.

Swimming

Enjoy the warm days at Lake Wateree State Park’s swimming area. This area of the lake has a sandy bottom and slowly deepens the further out one goes. It’s the perfect spot to swim, wade, or float around. There is no lifeguard on duty at the park. Swim safely!

Boating

Boating is popular out on the 13,000-acre lake for those who are fishing, water-skiing, or just looking for a relaxing time out on the water. The boat ramp at the park has two lanes, making the wait time minimal for dropping your boat. The park also offers a fueling dock making it unnecessary to pull your boat out to refuel.

Off-Season

Geo-caching

Geo-caching is permitted at the state park with several geocaches hidden around the area. If you plan to participate, don’t forget to bring little trinkets along to leave behind. When searching for geocache be careful of disturbing wildlife, such as snakes that may be hidden under rocks or brush.

Playground

Kids will enjoy the playground at the state park. The playground can be found near the camping area. It has slides as well as climbing activities for kids to enjoy during breaks from other park activities out on the water or land.

Wildlife

The lake and trail at the state park are both great for birdwatching. Bald eagles and osprey are commonly seen. Birdwatchers may also observe other birds of prey. Other wildlife known to the park includes squirrels and snakes which may be spotted around the trail and trees.

Hiking

The state park has the two-mile Desportes Island loop trail. This nature trail is a level, easy hike which leads through the woods and to the lake. Near the end, there is a loop which turns you around to head back the way you came. You’ll want to keep an eye out for a variety of wildlife from snakes to birds. This trail is a great way to stretch your legs after the drive out.

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