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About Lake Jocassee
Lake Jocassee in Devils Fork State Park stays clear and cool all year round due to the rivers that feed in from the Appalachian mountains. Back in 2012, it was one of the filming locations for the movie “The Hunger Games.” A year later, Lake Jocassee was named one of National Geographic’s top 50 “secret” destinations. This South Carolina reservoir is abundant with undiscovered points of attraction—a hidden garden waiting to be explored.
Things to do in Lake Jocassee
As part of Devils Fork State Park, the greater Lake Jocassee area is full of recreational opportunities. Lake Jocassee is the only like in the state with both trophy trout and smallmouth bath swimming in its waters. That’s but one reason the lake is such a popular spot for fishing. This prime fishing destination is home to numerous species of fish including bluegill, white bass, rainbow trout, black crappie and brown trout. Boating is another favorite pastime for visitors to Lake Jocassee. Canoeing or kayaking is another option. Electric Sun provides on-site boat and equipment rentals for everything from pontoons to jet skis. There are four boat ramps for access to the lake. Swimming is allowed in the water, though there are no lifeguards or separate swimming areas as safety precautions. The clean water also makes for excellent scuba diving conditions, providing excellent visibility for divers. A picnic on shore is a leisurely way to spend the afternoon, and picnic shelter reservations are available online or by calling 1-866-354-PARK. Stroll along the water’s edge, or hike on one of the trails within the park. The Bear Cove Trail is about two miles through the hardwood forest nearby. The Oconee Bell Nature Trail is another option, named after the rare flower that can be found along the footpath and just one mile long.
Day trips from Lake Jocassee
One of the great things about Lake Jocassee is the location. Both North Carolina and Georgia are fairly close to this lake in northwest South Carolina. A day trip could mean venturing into an entirely different state with just a few hours’ drive. For that, the Whitewater Falls is a top choice. This series of waterfalls tumbles into the Whitewater River, which flows from North to South Carolina. The falls are absolutely gorgeous, cascading from a height of 1,500 feet. The Tallulah Falls in Georgia is another spectacular sight. Located around two hours from Lake Jocassee, Tallulah Falls State Park is a jewel for hikers, providing access to a range of trails. Within South Carolina, visitors will also find plenty of opportunities for a day trip. Tour the closest town of Salem, or take a scenic drive along Highway 11. Discover upcountry South Carolina, where there are more than 500 historic sites, including noteworthy American Revolution battlefields. For arts and entertainment, check out the Oconee Heritage Center in Walhalla, or see what shows are playing at Spartanburg Memorial Auditorium.
Lake Jocassee accommodations
Two sites near the shore of the lake offer options for tent or RV camping. Reserve a campsite online or by calling Devils State Park. The main campground has 59 paved sites with water and electrical hookups. Rates are around $20 per site each night. The second campsite is for “designated rustic tent camping,” which are walk-in areas for tent camping only. Features include a fire ring, water spigots and restrooms, and do not include electrical or water hookups. Rates are approximately $16 per site per night. Backcountry camping is another option, with sites available on the northern shore of the lake. This area is only accessible by boat. Visitors can also opt to stay at a rental cottage such as Maplecrest at Lake Jocassee or at a vacation rental out on Jocassee Road. Maplecrest can accommodate up to ten guests.
Transportation in Lake Jocassee
Highway 11 is the main route to the Lake Jocassee area. From Georgia, take exit 1 on I-85 to Highway 11. From I-85 at the North Carolina border, travel south to Highway 11, exit at Gaffney, and travel on Highway 11 for another 90 miles. If headed into the area from I-26, take exit 5 onto Highway 11 to Campobello. The main local route to the lake is via Jocassee Lake Road.