Sometimes, in unsuspecting corners of the earth, there are small hidden gems that pull you in, make you feel as if you’re the only one there, and give you an enchanting experience that you can’t wait to share. That’s exactly what Hamilton Branch State Park in South Carolina will do.
This park is positioned on a peninsula that runs along the 70,000-acre Strom-Thurmond Lake and brilliantly highlights the natural beauty of the Savannah River Valley.
Hamilton Branch State Park is a waterfront haven that is popular for camping, fishing, hiking, biking, and exploring! It’s a great place to make memories with friends or family members, and the views never disappoint.
Don’t wait any longer to book one of the 150 campsites here, or load up the car and go for an adventure.
As we know Hamilton Branch State Park well, here are a few helpful things to know before heading to this South Carolina gem.
Camping at Hamilton Branch State Park
Every outdoor enthusiast is familiar with the crushing disappointment when you visit a campground on a lake, only to find that none of the spots actually have lake access, or very few of them do.
That couldn’t be further from the truth at Hamilton Branch State Park. This park offers 150 camping sites and all but two of them are directly on the water! This means everyone gets the best view in the house.
Whether you’re a tent-camper or prefer the luxuries of an RV, you can find solace at Hamilton Branch State Park.
Eleven of the campsites offer water hookups without electricity, and are the perfect places for tent campers to spend their days. While 139 sites have full hookups for RVs.
We appreciate a place that allows visitors to be as “off-the-grid” as they’d like to be, while still equipping the grounds for others who may prefer the “glamping” lifestyle.
Fishing at Hamilton Branch State Park
If you prefer to stand on the shore and fish from dry land, there are plenty of places to do just that in this park.
Visitors to Hamilton Branch State Park can try catching Bass, Bream, Striper, Catfish, or Crappie here. Or if you prefer to fish with water underfoot, use one of the 2 boat ramps in the park to start your day on the water.
Freshwater fishing in South Carolina is notorious for some record-breaking catches, so hurry and get to the water!
Before you go, be sure you have a valid South Carolina fishing license, or your day may not be quite as fun as planned. In SC, everyone over the age of 16 must have a valid fishing license to partake in the fun. The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources website is the easiest way to get a license, whether you’re a resident or visitor. You can get licenses ranging from 14 days up to 3 years!
Wildlife in Hamilton Branch State Park
Spotting wild animals in their natural habitat is a thrill for all nature-lovers, no matter the age.
Whether you’re traveling with little ones or adventuring solo, be on the lookout for deer, fox, and squirrels that are native to the area. You can even see bald eagles in this park if you keep your eyes peeled.
If you enjoy sharing a space with these critters, please be respectful of them and remember that they are wild animals. Do not feed, approach, or bother them. Simply sit back, relax, and marvel at their beauty.
Hiking & Biking Trails at Hamilton Branch State Park
If you’re less of a water-lover and would prefer to stay on solid ground, Hamilton Branch State Park has a couple of hiking and biking trails for use.
First, there’s the Hamilton Branch Connector which is a very short 0.3-mile trail that connects to the Stevens Creek Trail. The Stevens Creek Trail is technically outside the park, but it’s a great one to explore if you’re trying to get some longer mileage trips in!
The other trail in Hamilton Branch State Park is the Paleo Trail which is a moderate 1.5-mile trail that will take you through the thick of the forest. If you’re lucky, you might even see a bald eagle on this one.
Since both these trails are open to hiking and biking, be cautious of other visitors on the trail. Technically hikers have the right-of-way, but bicycles can move a lot faster than people, so be aware of your surroundings while exploring these beautiful trails.
Equipment Rentals at Hamilton Branch State Park
If you don’t have a bicycle to bring or forget yours at home, the park offers daily bicycle rentals to visitors for a very moderate fee. You can rent them for just a day or rent them for the whole weekend at a discounted rate.
Another awesome perk of this park is the Tackle Loaner Program which is sponsored by the SC Department of Natural Resources. This allows park guests to borrow rods and reels from the park office. We love this option for beginners and kids who may not have their own fishing equipment yet.
Swimming at Hamilton Branch State Park
The huge lake here means swimming is possible at Hamilton Branch State Park, and it’s something we recommend. The water here is clean and whilst it can be very cold, it’s incredibly refreshing.
There’s a few lovely lakeside beaches in the park too where you can spend the day, have a picnic, or where you can easily launch a kayak or paddleboard from.
The park’s manager, James Revis, says that his favorite place on earth to sit and meditate is at Hamilton Branch State Park.
The park has wooden swings placed throughout the grounds that have a wonderful waterfront view and a sunset spot to write home about. James calls the sunsets here a “cornucopia of color,” so be on the lookout for these swings when you visit!
- Hours of Operation: Day-use hours are from 6:00 AM to sunset but those camping can stay in the park through the night.
- Day Admission Fees: Kids 15 and under are free, and adults can get in for just $2.00
- Camping Fees: The campground fees are incredibly affordable and will ring in at around $15-$20 per night.
- Picnic Facilities: There are several picnic facilities that can accommodate large groups of up to 40-50 people. Facilities can be reserved for $25-$32 a day for events, but otherwise are first come, first serve.
Planning Your Visit
Call the park or visit their booking website to book your campground today!
If you plan on stopping in for the day, just show up. This is a great park for anyone who loves nature and you’ll feel at home whether you have been enjoying the great outdoors for five days or five decades! (Recommended: An Insider’s Guide to Jones Gap State Park).