Featuring an abundance of recreational activities and some great RV camping facilities, Mistletoe State Park is a beautiful park that is well worth checking out. Mistletoe State Park is located within Columbia County, Georgia on the southern shore of Lake Strom Thurmond. The history of the park dates back to 1952 when the United States Corps of Engineers leased 1,920 acres on the banks of the J. Strom Thurmond Reservoir to the State of Georgia. The park is one of the many recreational areas at the J. Strom Thurmond Reservoir (that includes Hamilton Branch State Park), which is also known locally as Clarks Hill Lake.
The 71,000-acre man-made lake is the largest to be found east of the Mississippi and is the center of recreation for visitors to Mistletoe State Park. Here you can swim, fish, boat, and hire a canoe to go paddling. Off the lake, there are also many great activities for you to enjoy, including hiking, biking, birding, and geocaching.
One of the best features of Mistletoe State Park can be found within the campground. Due to its location right on the peninsula, there are simply stunning views to of both the sunset and sunrise over the open water of the lake. There are 92 RV-friendly campgrounds, along with another 10 cottages and one four-bed tent cabin that give you the option to experience some more luxurious camping. Mistletoe State Park is open all year-round.
Getting to and from Mistletoe State Park is relatively easy as it is located near the major I-20 freeway. The park is only accessible from the south as J. Strom Thurmond Reservoir is above it. If you need to pick up any supplies before your trip you can stop in at Washington (around 34 and a half miles away) or Crawfordville (around 40 miles away). The closest city to Mistletoe State Park is Augusta, which is widely known as being home to the Augusta National Golf Club.
Getting into the park should be relatively straightforward, and there should be no obstacles that would cause RV's any issues. 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.
One thing to note about Mistletoe State Park that is not widely seen in other parks is 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.
Mistletoe State Park’s year-round campground is located on a peninsula on Clarks Hill Lake and offers visitors some incredible sunset and sunrise views. 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.
Reservations at Mistletoe State Park Campground are encouraged and can be made all year round.
If you are looking for a little more luxury during your stay at Mistletoe State Park, you should consider staying at one of the cabins. There are 10 cottages available for you to call home (five of which are log cabins) that all are fully equipped with great amenities.
There is also a tent cabin that faces the lake that you can reserve. This is a rustic cabin that has four single wooden sleeping platforms, two ceiling fans, water, a grill, and electrical outlets. Please note that no mattresses are provided so it's recommended that you bring sleeping bags or bedrolls. These alternate camping options are available all year round.
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.
There is no better way to enjoy a hot day at Mistletoe State Park than by getting your swimmers on and going for a dip. The swimming beach is conveniently located next to some of the sheltered picnic areas, a bathhouse, a large parking facility, and a boat ramp. Once you are finished swimming you can also put down a towel and soak up the summer sunshine. There are no lifeguards on duty at this location, so swimmers need to be aware of their surroundings and swim to their abilities.
Visitors to Mistletoe State Park are very lucky as the park plays host to 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, and much more. Check the special events calendar when you arrive to see what kind of program is happening when you visit!
Visitors to Mistletoe State Park who love the game of disc golf must make the short journey to Wildwood Park where the International Disc Golf Center is headquartered. The center features a modern clubhouse with many amenities and attractions that are rarely seen in the disc golf world. These include a state-of-the-art training center, practice putting greens, and three different championship caliber courses. There is also a small museum that highlights the historical items from the early days of the sport. The International Disc Golf Center is open all year round.
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 fishing license. Even though the lake is for largemouth and hybrid striped bass, the lake also has other species of fish you can target, such as crappie, sunfish, and catfish.
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-come, first-served 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.
RV 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.
If you love to birdwatch, you will be thrilled to know that there are some great birding areas available for you to explore at Mistletoe State Park. Formerly farmland, the land in the park is now a mixture of pine and hardwood forests, beaver swamps, and hardwood creek bottoms. There are many birds that hang out at the park, including Canada geese, necked ducks, wood ducks, and wading birds. For more birding, tips ask one of the friendly park staff for their favorite birding area.