UPSTATE — One of the best ways to beat the heat is by spending an afternoon at Lake Keowee or Lake Jocassee. Whether your preference is swimming, boating, diving or sunbathing — these lakes cater to pretty much every want and need.
For swimming, most people recommend Keowee.
Jocassee’s deep waters tend to always run on the cold side and the beach access is fairly limited. The park itself is gorgeous, with a fascinating history, but if you’re looking for a large, sandy beach, Jocassee is not for you.
Rocky shores with limited room to set up towels/lawn chairs and whatever are common. If you get there fairly early and stake out a spot, you’ll be fine. If not, why not just rent a canoe and spend the day on the lake as opposed to next to it?
Prices are extremely reasonable and life jackets are provided.
Lake Jocassee was created when in 1973, a dam was built by the Duke Power Community which replaced the neighborhood with 300 feet of water. The dam’s purpose was to stop the flow of four rivers in the area, but the (known) side effect was the loss of the Jocassee Valley.
What wasn’t immediately known was how Lake Jocassee would become a popular dive attraction — owed largely to the (now) submerged town beneath it’s watery depths.
There are two main attractions for the SCUBA crowd — the graveyard and a hotel called the Attakulla Lodge.
According to records, the hotel’s owner fought against the Lake Jocassee development project. Subsequently, it was the only building that was sill intact when the water flooded in and the main structure of the hotel — along with the stray basketball hoop, abandoned vehicle and road sign — remained in place under water for the modern divers to find.
On Keowee, it’s a different story.
There’s so many landings, beaches and inlets that it seems like everyone from the area already has a favorite. Some are good for fishing, some for beach access. Some have old rope swings and some have gigantic rock faces over clear water — just perfect for jumping.
No matter your preference, the Upstate lakes have plenty of diversity to cater to any whim.
Tip for the trip: Some access landings charge a parking/entrance fee — some don’t. Bring some ones to cover your bases.
Reach Kasie Strickland at 864-855-0355.