If you’re familiar with the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) campgrounds, you know they almost always are near a big body of water, which makes for nice paddling if the weather cooperates. Watsadler, on the Georgia side of the GA/SC line, is no exception to this rule, and the two days of paddling I did were quite nice, exploring the edges of Lake Hartwell and, on one occasion, being surprised by a blue heron taking flight a few yards away. I guess I surprised it first!
It’s a beautiful lake, with the big sky making for some beautiful reflections in the water. I really enjoyed the changing light and clouds every day. I could have done without that late afternoon tornado warning, though.
The biggest plus here is the lake. The biggest minus, if you’re in the front loop (sites in the lower numbers) is the closeness to the main highway in the area. The traffic noise started about 6AM, with a lot of loud trucks and motorcycles during the day, and died down about 9PM. Sleeping was OK, then, but sitting outside reading or trying to enjoy the breeze wasn’t as pleasant. Most days I retreated inside with some tunes on the bluetooth speaker to drown out the highway noise.
The other drawback to this site is a lack of hiking or walking trails. I think I wore a path into the two campground loop roads during my stay. Most days I took my camera so that I could at least have fun taking pictures while I walked the same ground over and over again. The only other road is the highway with all that traffic whizzing past you and no sidewalks, so no thanks. I did venture out on the the access road one day and was rewarded with this Spring beauty.
Spring in the Southeast means it’s also pollen season, and the yellow stuff coats everything. As I type this, I have to stop every 10-15 minutes to wipe the pollen dots from the screen. You can see the pollen clinging to my window after some rain in this window reflection shot.
All in all, I felt like Watsadler is a mixed bag. A few nights less or colder weather, might have been better as far as traffic noise, since I noticed it more the last few days, when the weather was warmer and I wanted to be outside more. (Don’t ask me why USACE doesn’t leave the back loop open in winter and close the front loop.)
WATSADLER CAMPGROUND, GA (US ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS)
- Another place where it’s easy to say the best vs. the worst sites. The farther away from the highway you can get, the better. Sites 48-51 on a small, private loop are the best, and would also be a nice little gathering spot with three other camping buds. The campsites are exactly as long as they say they are, which more than a few bigger rigs found out upon arrival.It’s a good thing most of them are pull-through sites, meaning you can probably use some of the entrance/exit road to fit your longer rigs in, but don’t count on it. In winter, only the front loop is open. Reserve at recreation.gov
- Boat launch and parking places in back loop. You can launch your kayak from some sites, but not all, and it depends more than a bit on the level of water in the lake. I used the boat launch.
- Services: electric/water with dump station. Two bath houses with showers (one in winter). Trash bins at the dump.
- Fast T-Mobile. Decent Verizon and ATT. Might depend on where you are, as the camp host said he got virtually no Verizon service near the park entrance where he was located.
- Groceries: 10 minutes west to Walmart or Ingles in Hartwell. Same for gas. 30 minutes the other direction to Anderson and bigger choices for shopping.
I’ve never seen a nation more quick at finding joy in a sad situation than the Irish at a funeral.