Updated: Jul 5
There is nothing like summer in beautiful Upstate South Carolina. With scenic highways, mountain views, shimmering lakes, and bustling cities, we couldn’t think of a better place to spend a summer vacation. Lake Hartwell Country is filled with exciting activities for the whole family. Whether you want to take a white-water adventure through Oconee County or hike the trails in Pickens, we’ve curated the ultimate summer experience just for you.
Start by enjoying the drive! If you can avoid the interstate, try driving on Scenic Highway 11, also known as Cherokee Foothills Scenic Byway. This stunning highway extends from I-85 near the North Carolina border to the Georgia line. Along the drive are many attractions like Station Cove Falls, a 60-foot waterfall that forms from headwaters atop Station Mountain. It’s an easy 30-minute hike through the forest accompanied by countless wildflowers you’ll only see in the summer months. Station Cove Falls is just 1 out of 27 waterfalls that grace our mountainous area. Think you can visit them all?
If you’re feeling thirsty, Jocassee Valley Brewing is also located off Highway 11. Open Wednesday through Sunday for inside and outside consumption, they offer “good brews, good music, and a darned good time”. They usually have music and food trucks on Fridays and Saturdays, so don’t miss out on some great local fare and entertainment.
The next stop is the ultimate thrill of white-water rafting. Located off the Chattooga River in Oconee County is Wildwater Rafting and Canopy Tours. These guys offer a perfect mix of white-water rafting and ziplining, matched with unique overnight lodging in a cabin or yurt! Enjoy a fantastic adventure for the entire family and book your tour today.
After your rafting experience, head to Humble Pie for delicious hand-tossed pizza made from local ingredients. There’s also a great coffee shop next door if you need a pick-me-up. If you are looking for a cool brunch spot, Belle’s Bistro is just up the road and offers farm-to-table appetizers and lunch specials. The view over the 198-acre working farm is stunning and worth checking out for the perfect photo opportunity.
Between the falls and rapids, great food, and drinks, Oconee County is the heart of Lake Hartwell Country. We have multiple events happening this summer and we hope you can come out and have some fun with us! Events that you can catch all summer long are Jazz on the Alley in Seneca and bluegrass music and square dancing every Friday night at Oconee State Park. This is a wonderful opportunity to experience the culture and lifestyle of the Upcountry. Besides, who doesn’t want to square dance on vacation?
If you need any assistance in finding a place to stay, we encourage you to check out our accommodations page on our website. We have a great list of cabins, hotels, and vacation rentals waiting just for you.