When one thinks about recreation on public lands here in the Upstate, they are most often thinking of one of more than a dozen State Parks, or the National Forest land that includes the Mountain Bridge Wilderness Area in the very northwest corner of South Carolina. However, if you are on one of the many man-made lakes in the Upstate, chances are the lake is managed and patrolled by the South Carolina State Parks, the SC Department of Natural Resources or the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). And although common to find State managed public lands in the area, it is a little more unusual to find USACE managed recreation areas – however that’s exactly what the Twelve Mile Recreation Area is.
After our exploration of the Bob Campbell Geology Museum and the SC Botanical Gardens in Clemson we needed to cool down, and so headed a few minutes up the road to the northernmost tip of Lake Hartwell for a couple of hours spent in the water and the sun. A sandy beach combined with the scenic setting on Hartwell Lake make for a pleasant locale for a summer day full of play.
Lake Hartwell is a man-made lake bordering Georgia and South Carolina on the Savannah, Tugaloo and Seneca Rivers. The Hartwell Project originated with the goals of hydro-power, flood control and navigation. It was only later that recreation, water quality, water supply and fish & wildlife management were added, and today there are nine campgrounds and 15 day-use facilities operated by the US Army Corps of Engineers on Hartwell.
Within Twelve Mile a boat ramp allows for access to the 962 miles of shoreline, and shelters and facilities offer comfortable picnic areas. The beach area has a playground, and there is plenty of shade in the park on those hot summer days.
Eventually Vilis had his fill of sand-eating and I was starting to bake, so we rounded up the boys and headed for home. As far as swimming in man-made lakes goes I find this to be one of the nicest beaches in the Upstate, and the proximity to Clemson makes for an easy stop if in the area (or a day trip if coming from Greenville). Hope you’re enjoying these summer days as much as we are, and I wish you an awesome weekend full of all the stuff that makes summer great!