20 Date Night Spots in Oconee County, South Carolina
You are dedicated to keeping the romance alive, but perhaps you’ve had enough “dinner and a movie” date nights and want to change things up a little. If you enjoy exploring new territories and the outdoors, Oconee County, South Carolina may be the ideal location. From mountains draped with waterfalls to picturesque strolls and fine country dining, this county, which was praised by National Geographic, gives your date night variety.
Choosing from an array of activities can be difficult, however. That’s why we’ve created a list that includes some romantic spots to turn an average night into an endearing rendezvous.
- Lake Jocassee
South Carolina geography is filled with gorgeous bodies of water like Lake Jocassee. A unique way to take in the beauty of the crystal-clear waters is to bring (or rent) a boat where you and your partner can eat dinner. Whether it’s a dinner that you prepared at home or take-out from one of your favorite restaurants, it’s bound to be a dinner to remember.
Created by Duke Energy in 1973 as a way to produce hydroelectric power, the lake is fed by three Appalachian rivers. Row your boat through the lake’s gorge, which made National Geographic’s list of 50 Of The World’s Last Great Places-Destinations. There’s nothing like a dinner while you cruise through a lake gorge and waterfalls. While you’re drifting, you might also find amusement in watching enthusiasts dive into the waters from the Jumping Off Rock. Since the lake access closes before dark, be sure to finish your evening with a nice meal and a good movie.
- Oconee Station State Historic Site
If you’re up for a combination of nature and a peaceful return to the past, set a date to visit this historic site. The onsite blockhouse was constructed in 1792 and served as a military post. Later in 1805, a brick home turned trading post was built next door.
After taking a walk around the historic sites, spend some time relaxing with nature. The location includes over 200 acres of serenity. Hike the 1.5-mile trail to see wild flowers or skip rocks at the pond. Furthermore, you won’t want to miss the waterfall. Hidden behind thick, damp foliage, Stations Cove Falls is located in Sumter National Park, but you can access it from the Oconee Station nature trails.
- Los Amigos
There are Mexican restaurants, and there are authentic Mexican restaurants with cuisine that tastes like it was cooked and served in a Cocinera’s kitchen. With awesome service and succulent dishes, it’s a great way to begin or end your treasured date night. From chimichangas to Hawaiian chicken to mushroom or spinach quesadillas, the menu is full of variety, you may have a difficult time choosing. Wash dinner down with an organic margarita or an apple martini. This is a dinner date that is sure to please.
- The Spot on The Alley
Located in historic downtown Seneca, South Carolina, The Spot on The Alley isn’t just an eating spot. You can visit to enjoy good food, games, live music and events. Their high-quality menu includes Americana dishes like burgers, Reubens and corn-beef sandwiches. They offer healthier options made to order, such as turkey burgers and gluten-free meals.
If it’s more than the food that attracts you, visit on Tuesdays for live trivia or prepare to shine for Saturday night karaoke. Other games include Bingo and Buzztime trivia. Perhaps you’ll love going to see the live music that’s played on Thursdays and Fridays!
- The Tiki Hut Lakeside Grill
Seated at the Lake Keowee marina, The Tiki Hut is a melting pot of North American, Central American, South American and Polynesian cuisine. From fried catfish to chicken wings and black bean hummus, there’s something for all appetites. This location is especially breath-taking as the sun begins to set. Sip an exotic drink as the setting sun reflects on the lake or watch the boats on the marina set out for sail.
- South Cove Park
Experience South Cove Park, and lose yourself in its 48 acres. Located in the Blue Ridge Mountain foothills, it’s easy to become an evening getaway. If you’re not up for a drive to the beach, grab a beach blanket and soak up some sun on the sandy beaches of Lake Keowee. You can also take a swim in the lake or hike along the waterfalls. To add, enjoy activities like basketball, horseshoes, tennis and golf. Plenty of visitors also adore the lakeside swings, which are some relaxing additions to a romantic outdoorsy evening.
- Fair Play Recreation Area
Pack your dinner, a beach towel and some grub to spend the evening at Fair Play Recreation Center. In the center, you’ll find that almost 56,000-acre Lake Harwell has over 900 acres of shoreline that form beaches. Of course, there are other activities, like boating and fishing, but the serene atmosphere might leave you just lying on the beach, watching the sun set.
- Lake Keowee Property Rental
Lake Keowee homes boast an open range view of pristine and sky blue waters. Sitting on little islets surrounded by the lake, Lake Keowee homes are a world away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. With immediate access to the lake, you can choose from water activities like kayaking, water boarding and much more. To wind down a fun-filled evening, row your boat over to The Lighthouse restaurant. There you can relish a fireside dinner with a view of the lake. Lake Keowee properties also benefit from the natural, quiet setting where you can sit on the lawn and nature watch.
- Stumphouse Tunnel
This is quite an interesting landmark to experience. Initially built in 1852 as a way to connect two cities during the civil war, the construction was never completed. Though it didn’t serve its original purpose, it’s become one of South Carolina’s main attractions. For one, it’s quite suitable for an evening stroll. With an entrance laced with mountain laurels, the 17-foot wide tunnel was built with air shafts that create a cool breeze to escape from the intense South Carolina heat.
- Blue Ridge Arts Center
Free the artist inside with a visit to Blue Ridge Arts Center in the Blue Ridge Mountain foothills, where you can peruse local artists’ exhibits, or even better, learn to create your own art. Situated in historic Seneca, South Carolina, the non-profit organization offers art classes. You and your significant other should get a kick out of critiquing one another’s art, which you’ll have to share for a lifetime.
- Oconee Heritage Center
Expand your date night boundaries with a self-guided history tour and a movie. The heritage center takes you through 7 eras of Oconee county, from the time of the Cherokee Indians to the construction of the Keowee Dam and Lake Jocassee in the 1970s up until the present. Enjoy touring exhibits that include old tenant farmers’ homes and dugout canoes.
- Tour Ram Cat Alley
Once a railroad junction in the 1800s, the alley eventually became a textile area. It still maintains its historic aura today, and now consists of small shops that sell goods ranging from coffee to keepsakes. With so many unique little shops, the stroll through the alley might last the entire evening. Stop to sample some flavored vinegar and spices at The Healthy Olive. Have dinner at the Ram Cat Social House for Southern classics like shrimp and grits, and visit Green Springs, where you can buy handmade soaps and pottery.
- Lake Tugaloo
Fed by the waters of the Tallulah and Chattanooga rivers, Lake Tugaloo is one of the least trodden areas of Oconee County. This makes it one of the best spots to retreat to for some privacy and relaxation while you take a scenic boat ride. It spans almost 600 acres, surrounded by the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Take a boat out on the calm waters for a quiet ride where you’ll have a panoramic view of mountains, forests and even a number of small waterfalls.
- Yellow Branch Falls
A 1-mile trek along the Yellow Branch trail is worth the sites you see along the way and at the end. Firstly, the trail has a rather clear view of wildlife and allows for easy treading. You’ll pass by poplars, rhododendrons and wildflowers on the trail that leads to the waterfall. It ends with the beautiful cascading Yellow Branch Falls with streams that look like flowing icicles from afar, where you can choose a spot to rest and admire the view.
- The Steak House
Although it was once named accordingly, when the Walhalla restaurant was purchased, the new owners wanted to change the specialty to fried chicken. So, although it keeps its name, The Steak House has become a misnomer since the fried chicken is what really attracts patrons. It seems like the name is the only complaint; The fried chicken is highly praised and recommended. Also famous for their fried fish, peach cobbler and many more Southern staples, it’s sure to spice up your date night.
- Riley Moore Falls
If you’re in the mood for light treading and privacy, consider taking a trail to Riley Moore Falls, located in Sumter National Forest. Though it’s one of the shorter falls at 12 ft tall, its width spreads across 100 feet. The trail to the waterfall is less than a mile with easy to moderate terrain.
- Spoonauger Falls
Also called Rock Cliff falls, Spoonauger would make a convenient date night destination because it requires just a 20-minute hike. In addition to the beauty of the cascading water, it’s surrounded by lush foliage and blooming plants, creating a picture worthy scene.
- Devil’s Fork State Park
State Parks offer a plethora of outdoor activities, including those that can be turned into a date night to talk about. Whether you want to drive up to the Lake Jocassee Wall or search for a bed of Oconee Belles, there’s so much to enjoy at Devil’s Fork State Park. As mentioned earlier, there’s a lot to see at the lake, like the gorge, waterfall, jumping rock or the wall. The Oconee Bell trail inside the park is a little over a mile, and along the hike you’ll meet a tranquil, bubbling creek where the Oconee Bells love to bloom. Hiking the 2.5-mile Bear Cove Trail, you might meet a variety of wildlife, such as birds, bears, deer and snakes. Lastly, you can reserve a shelter to just sit and enjoy the view of the mountains and many other natural jewels.
- Brasstown Falls
Brasstown Falls is one of Oconee County’s ideal date night spots because of its seclusion and easy access. Hidden in the southern end of Sumter National Forest, the falls flow into a natural swimming pool. A less than half a mile hike leads you to the 120 ft breath-taking falls. Find a comfortable spot to sit down and let your feet get wet or dive right in.
- Foothills Trail
What’s better than going for a walk at your local community park is perhaps the privacy and natural panoramic view of the 80-mile Foothills rail. Of course, you’re not expected to hike the whole 80 miles, and you’re not held to a minimum. On a stroll through the peaceful woods, you’ll have the beauty of the Sassafras Mountains, green foliage, blooming plants and wild turkeys as your backdrop.
Whether you’re a resident or a visitor to Oconee County, South Carolina, it has enough attractions to make your date night what it’s truly meant to be: fun, romantic and relaxing. Consider visiting more than one of the above suggested locations to make your date more fulfilling. For example, you might want to visit the Oconee Heritage Center and then head over to The Steak House for dinner. Perhaps you’ll go for a dive in Lake Hartwell, lie on the beach and then quell your hunger at Los Amigos. Just be sure to keep your options open.