Augusta, Georgia is a beautiful city located in the Piedmont of Georgia. The Savannah River runs alongside the city and separates Georgia from the South Carolina state line. Although visitors often come to Augusta to visit the Augusta National Golf Club or attend the annual Masters Golf Tournament, there is much more to see and do in the area that isn’t related to golf. Approximately 35 miles north of Augusta is one of the largest lakes in the Southeast, Clarks Hill Lake. The lake is home to many recreational areas, but Mistletoe State Park is one recreational area the RVers won’t want to miss.
Clarks Hill Lake, or J. Strom Thurmond Reservoir, is a 71,000-acre man-made lake. The lake is one of the most popular recreational areas in the area. The lake, once named Clarks Hill Lake, changed names when a bill, introduced to Congress in 1987, requested that the name of the lake change to J. Strom Thurmond, after local resident and the longest-serving senator in US history. President Ronald Reagan signed the bill after Congress approved the name change, but many locals didn’t embrace the change. In 1989, Georgia legislature passed a resolution which renamed the lake Clarks Hill Lake. Officially, the state name of the lake is Clarks Hill Lake, but the federally-recognized name is J. Strom Thurmond Reservoir. Locals still refer to the lake as Clarks Hill Lake, and many of the maps and signs even label the lake Clarks Hill Lake.
RV Rentals in Mistletoe State Park
Transportation in Mistletoe State Park
The park is located an hour’s drive northwest of Augusta, Georgia, and a two hour's drive southeast from Atlanta. Visitors taking I-20 east or west will access the park from exit 175. From the interstate, travel eight miles until you come to Mistletoe Road, and then go another three miles to the park’s entrance.
Please note that an overnight park pass is required for all vehicles. This is an additional cost that isn’t included in the reservation. Overnight guests pay only one parking fee for the duration of their stay. Visitors who frequent Georgia state parks can purchase an annual pass and avoid the daily fee.
Campers pulling RVs and trailers should veer left once entering the park, and passing the park office and registration building. When making reservations, please ensure you check each site for size restrictions.
Campgrounds and parking in Mistletoe State Park
Campsites in Mistletoe State Park
Mistletoe State Park Campground
Mistletoe State Park’s year-round campground is located on a peninsula on Clarks Hill Lake. Many of the RV sites are tree lined, shaded, and have waterfront views. Campers can choose back in and pull through sites ranging from 30 to 50 feet in length. All of the sites have electric and water, and select campsites offer full hookups. This pet-friendly facility has many amenities for campground guests. Three comfort stations with flush toilets and hot showers are close to many of the campsites. There also is a dump station near the campground entrance, a playground, a laundry area, and a covered picnic area. Select sites have fire rings. For overnight guests who want to explore the lake by boat, there is a boat launch conveniently located within the campground. Please silence any noise making devices during the hours of 10 pm, and 7 am and keep low volumes during other times.
Seasonal activities in Mistletoe State Park
Beach and Swimming
The lake is the biggest attraction at this state park. When it’s warm outside, bring your entire family to the swimming beach to watch the boaters pass in the distance and enjoy a dip in the cool waters of the lake. The swimming beach is conveniently located next to some of the sheltered picnic areas, a bathhouse, a large parking facility, and a boat ramp. There are no lifeguards on duty at this location, so swimmers should always exercise water safety.
Clarks Hill Lake, also known as J. Strom Thurmond Reservoir, is known as one of the best bass fishing spots in the nation. The lake, one of the Southeast’s largest, brings visitors from near and far for fishing. People over the age of 16 wishing to fish must physically have possession of a valid Georgia/South Carolina resident/non-resident fishing license. Even though the lake is for largemouth and hybrid striped bass, the lake also has different species of fish such as crappie, redear sunfish, and catfish.
People staying at the park can bring a private boat and experience some of Clarks Hill Lake’s 71,000 acres of water. The lake straddles both Georgia and South Carolina and gives people over 1,200 miles of shoreline to explore. The park has three boat ramps, conveniently located in three different day use or camping areas. Bring your boat and your fishing poles, or enjoy the cool waters on a hot day and water ski. If you are staying overnight, but you don’t have a boat, stop by the park office and rent a canoe and see why this lake is one of the best bodies of water in the area.
Visitors who crave adventure and don’t mind traversing streams or ravines should venture outside and try hiking or biking on one of the park’s eight trails. The trails vary in difficulty and length, so there are many options for people of different ages and skill levels. Bikes are allowed on all of the trails, but because of obstacles and loose rocks, people should only attempt to bike the trails using bikes with thicker tires. All of the trails offer the opportunity to see something different, so bring your binoculars and see if you can spot some mistletoe high in the trees, or wildlife such as deer, squirrel, or other woodland animals.
One of the best things to do at Mistletoe State Park is to sit and enjoy the spectacular waterfront scenery. Sit outside, pack a lunch, and just enjoy nature. Bring the entire family and organize a day at one of the four covered picnic areas, or try the enclosed group shelter if you have a bigger crowd. All of the areas are reservable. The picnic areas are available on a first-serve basis if no one has reserved the location for the day, but the group shelter must have reservations ahead of time to hold an event there.
Mistletoe State Park holds monthly special events. These events rotate depending on the season, local interest, and need, and every activity is meant to entertain, educate, or inform visitors of all ages. Park staff creates these events around local history, nature, music, art, sports, fishing, holidays, camping, physical activity, and much more. Check the special events calendar when you arrive to see what kind of program is happening when you visit!