Lake Jocassee, a mini “Caribbean” vacation in the South Carolina Upcountry (family almost free things to do)

The Buzz
As soon as you step on the beach at Lake Jocassee inside Devils Fork State Park you feel like you’re in one of the fanciful Caribbean islands travel posters: Lake Jocassee beach entrance crystal clear blue waters bordered by spectacular Blue Ridge Mountains covered in lush green forests and a sun-kissed beach with a pinkish “sand” to tickle your toes.

All for just $2 daily admission or even free with a SC State Park pass.

That’s a paradise weekend gateway on the cheap (pardon me…”at a huge discount”) worth shouting about! 🙂

Tips to know before you go
1. Use your State Park guest tag (the one you hang on the rear-view mirror of your car) to any other State Parks as long as it’s still valid. During our week stay at Oconee State Park I used the tag to get in for free at Table Rock, Keowee and Devils Fork.

2. Bring life jackets, especially if you have young kids. The water has a very narrow portion to stand up safely. Only 10 feet from the shore there is a steep drop and you can no longer touch the ground.

Best to have at least 2 adults keeping constant watch on the children. With no lifeguard on the beach you’re pretty much on your on.

3. Wear a hat and plenty of sunscreen. If possible bring an umbrella. There is no shade on the beach and the sun gets scorching in the summer.

4. It takes quite a hike through some big rocks to walk to and from the beach, so wear something comfortable and sturdy. If you’re not in a mood for exercising best to bring a cooler along with all the necessary refreshments.
Boys having fun at Lake Jocassee
5. At the top of the stairs there is a snacks stand, an equipment rental office, restrooms and showers.

Ice-cream is the king and you can get it for $3.

Beware the showers inside the women’s restroom didn’t work when I was there (first week in June).

Things to do at Lake Jocassee and Devils Fork Park
1. Fish in one of the Southeast finest lakes offering trophy smallmouth bass, crappy and bluegill.

2. Scuba-dive or boat the 7,500-acre clear and deep reservoir lake with 75 miles of shoreline and four boat-launch areas each with generous parking.

3. Swim, tube, jet sky, canoe or kayak year around. Beware there is no lifeguard at the beach.

4. Hike the 1.5 mile easygoing Oconee Bell Nature Trail (named after the rare wildflower found along) or the 3.5 miles moderate Bear Cove Trail through the hardwood forest.

Lodging
The main lakeside campground has 59 paved sites with water and electrical hook-ups and 25 tent sites with elevated pads, picnic tables, grill pits. Nothing like napping on the water On the northern shore of the lake there is a primitive campsite accessible only by boat. These sites are available on a first come first served basis and you need to pack out what you packed in.

The park also offers 20 mountain villas with 2 and 3 bedrooms. They have TV, screened porches, and fully equipped kitchens. Best thing of all each villa has its private beach, boat ramp and parking area. One drawback pets are not allowed in or around the villas.

Free and Affordable Area Attractions:
• Duke’s Power World of Energy – kids learn how electricity is generated from water, coal and uranium. At Upper Whitewater Falls
Your best chance to safely get up close and personal to a nuclear reactor!
• Walhalla Fish Hatchery
Numerous waterfalls like the Upper and Lower Whitewater (highest in the East) and Issaqueena
• Oconee Historic Station, Hagood Mill and Pickens County Museum
• Ruby and sapphire gem hunting in Franklin, NC (less than 1 hour away, need to pay admission and gem bucket mining…expect $10-$20 per person)

• History lovers and art collectors go visit Pendleton, “the Charleston of the Upstate” located near Clemson off of Hwy 28 and 76. The entire town is on the National Register of Historic Places. Notable attractions: Farmer’s Hall (oldest continuous operating hall in the country), Hunter’s Store, Ashtabula (1st licensed tavern, $6 admission fee), Old Stone Church (where Andrew Pickens and Gen. Anderson are buried) and Woodburn (4 story mansion, $6 admission fee)

Where
Devils Fork is easily reached from S.C. 11, the Cherokee Foothills National Scenic Highway. Here is the exact address 161 Holcombe Circle, Salem, SC 29676 and the Google Map. For more info and to make reservations call (864) 944-2639, or 1-866-345-PARK or visit the official state parks website

Have your beach mountain paradise at Lake Jocassee in South Carolina Upcountry!

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12 Responses

  1. […] At 700 feet long this series of falls is the highest in the East. From there you can drive to Lake Jocassee inside Devils Fork State Park the finest fishing place in the Southeast where you have plenty of recreational […]

  2. […] Franklin, NC less than an hour drive from Oconee State Park and Caribbean-like Lake Jocassee inside Devils Fork State Park and the adventurous Foothills Trail. Who knows you may be the next “romancing the […]

  3. My family and I camped for many years at Devils Fork. Now we enjoy or vacation getaway there called Maplecrest at Lake Jocassee.

  4. The views are incredible. Love at first sight. I just wish they’ll put a lifeguard at the swimming area.

    Definitely on our future vacation planning.

    Thx for your comments. I’ll check Maplecrest.

  5. […] the legendary Isaqueena and the breathtaking Whitewater waterfalls (highest in the East). • Go to Lake Jocassee at Devils Fork State Park for year around swimming, boating and even scuba-diving. This is the finest fishing place […]

  6. […] $5 admission • Lake Jocassee at Devils Fork State Park – finest fishing place in the Southeast. Swim year around. • Oconee […]

  7. […] shoutabout Here are some free and highly rewarding outdoor activities near Oconee State Park and Lake Jocassee in the breath-taking (I know I used this term a lot…but it’s so true) South Carolina […]

  8. There is a big feature story all about Lake Jocassee on “News To Me” tonight 2/22 on HLN. Turns out there is more below the surface!

    http://www.cnn.com/newstome

  9. Lake Jocassee is a doggie paradise but pets are not permitted in the cabins at the State Park. Maplecrest at Lake Jocassee is “Pet Friendly” to well behaved dogs and is just 1 mile from the beach and boat ramp at Devils fork Stste Park.

  10. please lam looking for a lake side camp site (tent ) for the 4rt of july do you have any thin avail please call me at 828-301-7098

  11. There is also a town that is underwater and is a favorite site for scuba divers to explore. There are also other smaller parks for camping in the area as well.

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