Can’t get to the ocean? Don’t worry! With abundant freshwater lakes and rivers, South Carolina’s Freshwater Coast offers more waterfront shoreline than the entire state of California. This “other” coast provides diverse opportunities for you to get your water on – minus the salt. Here are a few.
Once known as the land of the Cherokee Indians until settlers moved in permanently after the Revolutionary War, this Freshwater Coast region is home to Keowee-Toxaway State Park. The Jocassee Gorges Visitor Center provides a more in-depth look at the history of the Upper Cherokee Indians. In addition to remarkable hiking, abundant wildflowers, and camping options, the park offers access to the 18,500-acre Lake Keowee. Lake Keowee teems with bass, black crappie and threadfin shad; and Lake Jocassee, surrounded by steep, wooded mountains is known for record rainbow and brown trout.
Nestled in the Eastatoe Valley, the Eastatoe Falls / Twin Falls make for a leisurely but rewarding hike. These two falls rush over a massive granite wall, and create the Reedy Cove Creek.
Charming bed and breakfast inns, antiques, restaurants, and historic homes reward visitors trawling through the 6,316-acre-Pendleton Historic District, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Located on Anderson County’s western border, the Savannah River Scenic Highway provides exceptional vistas through South Carolina’s uplands. Along the highway’s southern end, Lake Thurmond boasts a shoreline of 1,200 miles and spans more than 71,000 acres. It’s situated within the Sumter National Forest, and is one of the south’s largest inland bodies of water. Designated trails through the forest and along the streams or shoreline await hikers.
The highway’s northern end features 56,000-acre Lake Hartwell, a well-known prime fishing spot. It’s well stocked with bluegill, catfish, bass and crappie.
Comprised of five counties (Abbeville, Edgefield, Greenwood, Laurens and McCormick), the Old 96 District teems with everything from antiques and historic homes to museums and arts centers.
Here, bucolic hills and towering forests surround Lake Greenwood. Its 11,400 acres of gin-clear water is stocked yearly with over 280,000 striped bass, making it an ideal spot for fishing enthusiasts.
Take time to visit the historic sites that abound here. The town of Abbeville, founded in 1758, was so actively involved in Civil War events, that it claims the title “Birthplace and Deathbed of the Confederacy”. Secession Hill was the site of the first public meeting to consider secession from the Union, and the Burt-Stark Mansion was where President Jefferson Davis met with his Council of War to disband his Confederate troops.
Located in Greenwood, the Ninety-Six National Historic Site where the first southern land battle of the Revolutionary War took place. A mile-long trail winds you through the site of a frontier settlement with a French and Indian War fort, a trading post, and extensive Revolutionary War fortifications.
Whether it’s hunting, hiking, fishing, camping, rafting or biking, the Sumter National Forest has something for the nature lover in everyone. Named for General Thomas Sumter, noted soldier, politician and planter, the Sumter National Forest was officially designated in 1936.
Visitors can trek through some of the 500 miles of trail (including those in the Francis Marion National Forest) on foot, bike or horseback.
Guided rafting expeditions are available along one of the few remaining free-flowing streams in the Southeast, the Chattooga River. Other rivers, such as the Tyger, Enoree and Broad, flow through the Sumter and provide numerous fishing opportunities. Catfish, bass and bream are some examples.
Varied excursions throughout the Freshwater Coast are seemingly endless. Did I miss your favorite spot? Please share!
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