This was my first time here, since I usually stay at the USACE Modoc campground about 2 miles south. Modoc closed Oct 1 for the season, so if I wanted a midway point between Asheville and my first Georgia stop, it had to be Hamilton Branch.
The campground is huge, with nine separate loops. Most sites are waterfront or close enough to it that you can launch a kayak from your site. But, and it is a BIG but, the sites are small, weirdly done and good luck if you get one where two sites share an access road. I saw a few big rigs that had driven head-in and I guess they hoped the other campsite would be empty when it came time to back out and go because otherwise, it was going to be a long, painful series of back and forth motions to get out. Not all the roads to individual campsites are paved, and those dirt roads are badly maintained. The stuff inside my trailer got all shook up, even though the road was only a quarter-mile at most and I was going 5 miles per hour.
So instead of showing THAT, I’ll go with a lovely view of the lake…
It IS lovely waterfront, and I did enjoy that fact morning, noon, and night.
There are so many campgrounds around Lake Thurmond that I really can’t recommend this one if you’ve got anything bigger than a van or 20-foot trailer, unless you can see exactly what your site looks like and what the access to it is. For $35 a night, I expected better than I got with this campground. (Also beware that SC state parks use demand pricing, so if you change your reservation before you arrive, you might be charged more for each night of your stay if the demand for camping has gone up. So far, SC is the only state I’ve seen do this, and it’s really a painful surprise should you need to alter a reservation.)
Hamilton Branch State Park (SC State Parks)
- Site 31 (water/electric) had a water view and was a 10 second walk down to the edge of the lake. Could easily launch kayak from here. It was also a reverse site, meaning that if you backed into the site (the traditional thing to do), then the trailer door faced away from the lake and the utilities were on the wrong side of the trailer. Lucky for me I have a caravan mover so I just rotated the Alto 180 degrees.
Most of the sites have water view and/or access. But beware, some of them are dead-end sites that requires some creative backing and turning to get into or out of. Reserve at the South Carolina State Parks website.
- Services: electric/water, dump station, bath houses with showers and toilets. One trash station (near the dump station) and one recycling barrel for the whole campground
- Decent ATT signal. Weak Verizon, mostly useless.
- Groceries: 10 minutes south to Dollar General; 20 minutes north to McCormick and a Food Lion. 45 minutes to Augusta, GA, and all the stores you’d ever need.
Never settle for second best.