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Living on Lake Time

Here in Lake Hartwell Country, we’re lucky to have three major lakes in our backyard. Beyond the lake that gives our region its nickname – Lake Hartwell, of course – we also have Lakes Jocassee and Keowee. Each of these lakes hold different adventures, and it’s worth exploring all of them! Throw away your watch and your phone and clear your schedule, because this summer, we’re living on lake time.

From boating to fishing to ziplining, our three lakes are full of adventures!

Lake Jocassee


Lake Jocassee is the northernmost of the three lakes, and the most secluded. The only public access point is in Devils Fork State Park, so this mountain spring-fed lake feels wild and pristine. Once you enter the park and make your way out to the 7,565-acre lake, you’ll be amazed by all there is to see and do! You’ll need a valid fishing license, but for experienced anglers, Lake Jocassee promises a bountiful catch. It’s the only lake in the whole state that offers both trophy trout and smallmouth bass, and its cooler waters make an excellent habitat for a range of trout species.


If you don’t have a boat, you can rent one when you arrive. Eclectic Sun offers on-site boat rentals, including kayaks, canoes, and even pontoon boats. If you don’t want to sail on your own, you can also book their private three-hour waterfall tour, including many waterfalls that you can only access from the water.


One more fun feature of Lake Jocassee is its crisp, clear water. This makes the lake a perfect spot to go scuba diving! While many people only think of scuba diving at tropical reefs, there are incredible sights here in Upstate South Carolina as well. Sunken boats and underwater canyons await below the lake’s surface. There are several outfitters in the area that offer charter boats and certification classes, including the Lake Jocassee Dive Shop.

Lake Jocassee is cool, crisp, and clear!

Lake Keowee


Nestled between Lake Jocassee to the north and Lake Hartwell to the south, Lake Keowee boasts hundreds of coves, islands, and inlets for intrepid boaters to explore. This lake has many more access points than Jocassee, and visitors can take a dip at any one of the parks along its shores, like High Falls County Park and Mile Creek Park.  


At the far north end of the lake, you’ll find Keowee Toxaway State Park, where you can take on a brand-new adventure that gives you a birds-eye view of the lake. Upstate Zipline is the biggest zipline in the state, and you’ll fly through the park and over top of Lake Keowee on ten different lines. It’s a heart-pounding way to experience the 18,500-acre lake and enjoy the water without ever getting your toes wet.


If you do want to hit the waves, stop by Keowee Marina, where you can rent boats or get yours tuned up and refueled. Rentals range from pontoons and tritoons to fishing boats, canoes, kayaks, and paddleboards. You can even book a houseboat for a relaxing escape out on the lake! Whether you’re an old hand or a brand-new boater, the team at the marina will get you ship-shape and ready to sail. Then, after a day on the lake, head over to the Cabana at the Lighthouse. There’s a dock for your boat right outside the cabana, where you’ll taste fresh food and craft cocktails all within feet of the lakeshore!

Mile Creek Park is one of your many public options for accessing Lake Keowee.

Lake Hartwell


The biggest of all three lakes at 56,000 acres, Lake Hartwell crosses our borders into Georgia and offers countless activities on its shores and amongst its waves. Lake Hartwell is nationally recognized for its incredible fishing, and it has hosted tons of pro, amateur, and youth angling tournaments over the years. Check out what’s going on at Green Pond Landing & Event Center – you might be lucky and catch a tournament yourself! When there’s no tournament, you can use this public boat ramp to launch your own fishing expedition.


Bring the whole family along to Big Water Marina Lakeside Resort, where you can plan a weekend getaway. The marina offers a waterfront campground and cabin rentals for those who want to spend a few days enjoying the lake. For day-trippers, you can rent a luxury pontoon or any number of watercraft, including hydrobikes. And for the kids, the inflatable obstacle course at Splash Island is high-energy fun. The course even has interchangeable floats for a new challenge each time you visit!


If you’re a history buff with your own kayak or canoe, take a quick paddle from Oconee Point Campground out to “Cemetery Island,” also called “Ghost Island.” It’s a public island, but it can be tricky to find! Once you arrive, you’ll have to track down the winding trail that leads up to the family cemetery that gave the island its name. We recommend you check out Google Reviews for other travelers’ best tips for finding the path and cemetery! But be warned, some say the island is haunted…

Make a splash on massive Lake Hartwell!

On a hot summer day, there’s nothing quite so refreshing as jumping in one of these three amazing lakes. Whether you’re a fisher, boater, or just want to have fun, there is something for everyone. Which lake is your favorite?

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