Lake Keowee for Everyone
Gorgeous Lake Keowee has no shortage of attractions and recreation activities, whether you’re young, old, or in the middle. Perfect for anyone, whether they’re looking for an activity-packed getaway or a relaxing lakeside retreat, sometimes the hardest part of a Keowee activity plan can be narrowing down from the long list of possibilities. Don’t worry, though, because we’ve got you covered with a list of Lake Keowee activities geared towards every type of lake goer.
For the Adventurer
Looking for some thrills to spice up your lake experience? Look no further to satisfy your daring side.
- Waterfalls – Lake Keowee is home to some of South Carolina’s most amazing natural beauty, including the 50+ nearby waterfalls. Some of the waterfalls are approachable by kayaks or other small boats, while others are better seen by hiking to them. Whichever route you choose, you’ve got plenty of options! Some local favorites include Issaqueena Falls and Yellow Branch Falls, both of which are located near the historic Stumphouse Mountain Tunnel, originally intended to connect Charleston, Knoxville, and Cincinnati by train. Parts of the Stumphouse Tunnel are accessible to the public, and many adventurers incorporate the tunnel in their hikes to Issaqueena Falls.
- Water Sports – Any adventurer near Lake Keowee will be drawn to pristine waters and ample space for a variety of water sports, including kayaking, paddleboarding, jet skiing, and wake boating. Easy rentals of equipment means that you can try multiple sporting options without the commitment and investment of purchasing your own equipment. Lake Keowee also boasts crystal clear waters, perfect for fishing, swimming, and even scuba diving! Lake Keowee is known for its amazing cliffs, caves, and bluffs along the water’s edge, meaning that you’ll never be far from your next adventure – and how cool is a place accessible only by water?
- Hiking – Located in close proximity to the Great Smoky Mountains, there’s no shortage of hiking near Lake Keowee. Both in the mountains themselves and in the foothills, there’s an abundance of trails for all skill (and adrenaline!) levels. In addition to being great for a standard hike, some of these trails are also dog and family friendly! Don’t be fooled, though, many of these trails are rated as extremely difficult and involve rope ladders and bridges, as well as getting through many natural obstacles, making this a worthy challenge for any avid hiker.
For the Nature Enthusiast
Lake Keowee is home to some of the best, most untouched nature in the Southeast. If you’re looking to unplug and get in tune with the wild, there are plenty of options for you!
- Birding – looking to see some hard to find birds? Lake Keowee is perfect for this! With a wide variety of species, ranging from Sandhill Cranes to Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds, you’re bound to see something you haven’t before! Not only are there specific hiking trails with great potential for birdwatching, but the Keowee Clemson Bird Club also regularly holds guided outings open to anyone wanting to learn more about the area’s birds!
- Fishing – Lake Keowee is known for its excellent fishing, largely due to the great water conditions. The lake is known especially for its Largemouth and Spotted Bass, so the odds of catching a winner are in your favor! Lake Keowee is also known for its State Record Yellow Perch – see if you can top it! There are a variety of piers and designated fishing areas around the lake, and you can also fish from a boat. Boat rentals are easy to find all around Lake Keowee.
- Trees, Plants, and Other Animals – In addition to being excellent for birding, Lake Keowee is home to a whole host of other amazing forms of wildlife. Nestled in a hardwood forest of hickory, sweetgum, and oak trees with the occasional pine mixed in, the untouched beauty of these forests has fostered incredible ecosystems. Keep an eye out for red and gray foxes, river otters, and even wild boars! Plant-wise, you can see a variety of ferns throughout the forests, as well as various milkweeds, wildflowers, and sedges. The area is even home to some rare plant species, including the White Turtlehead, Mountain Witch Hazel, and St. John’s Wort – see how many new species of plants and animals you can see on your trip to Lake Keowee.
For the Family
Lake Keowee isn’t just for rugged adventurers! The whole family can have fun here and make lifetime-lasting memories.
- Kayaking – Kayaking can become safer and more family oriented by doubling up in tandem kayaks – let the kids experience the incredible waters of Lake Keowee while you stay in control of the boat. You can also try canoeing, paddleboarding, or even more adventurous wake boating!
- Outdoor Jazz – During the warm season in nearby Seneca, you can go to free, outdoor jazz concerts every Thursday night! The concerts are located in historic Ram Cat Alley and have plenty of local shops, restaurants, and sights to ensure that there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
- Family Fishing – Not just for the record setters! Go by the Keowee Marina to rent all the fishing equipment you need for the family. You can even sign up for guided tours to get the most out of your South Carolinian fishing adventure. While Keowee is home to many large fish like Bass and Perches, there are also plenty of smaller fish like crappies, which are perfect for the kids to fish for.
- College Football – Go Tigers! Catch a Clemson Tigers game at Clemson Memorial Stadium! Memorial stadium is widely considered to be one of the best venues for college football, and with a high energy feel and no bad seats in the house, you’re bound to get some South Carolina team spirit and fit in with the friendly fans.
- World of Energy Museum – Rainy days at the lake don’t have to be a letdown! Check out the World of Energy Museum, run by Duke Energy. This interactive museum is located at the Oconee Nuclear Station in Seneca and offers engaging and fascinating exhibits all about energy! Learn how energy can be harvested from water, coal, uranium, wind, and sun. The museum also has a dock for fishing and can be accessed by boat, so no need to drive. The museum also features a video game, puzzle, and movie area, so you can test your new energy knowledge in a fun way. And the best part? It’s free! Free parking, free admission, and free knowledge! There is no food sold at the museum, so be sure to pack a lunch, which you can eat at the sheltered picnic area. While you’re outside, you might also want to walk along the museum’s nature trail, take a stroll down the peninsula, or simply soak in the lakeside views.
For the Foodie
Don’t miss out on the excellent food near Lake Keowee. From kid-friendly to top-notch fine dining, you can find wonderful food in the area that fits your budget and personal taste.
- The Lighthouse Restaurant – The Lighthouse Restaurant is exactly what it sounds like – a restaurant right on the water with a lighthouse coming out of the top! The first floor is a casual, kid-friendly setting with a fireplace, while the second floor is more upscale, with gorgeous panoramic lake and mountain views from every table. What’s more, you can approach from the water and dock up to eat, so go ahead and float over for lunch! They also offer tailgate catering packages – perfect if you plan on the full Clemson Tiger experience. Another note, they are also a venue for events – Lake Keowee wedding, anyone?
- Habanero’s Mexican Grill – Sure, you can get Mexican food anywhere. But not this Mexican food. Known for their tacos and great service, Habanero’s can be a great way to fill up after a long day of leisure on the lake. All that swimming can make you hungry! On top of being delicious, they’re also family friendly, so go ahead and bring everyone.
- Six Mile Cafe – Good, old-fashioned Southern cooking at its finest. This classic homestyle diner is known for its chicken fried steak, green beans, cornbread, country fried steak, and much much more. If you’re looking for the full southern experience, don’t miss a trip to Six Mile. As an added bonus, Six Mile was founded and is owned and operated by a Clemson University graduate – keeping local business VERY local!
- Sister’s Restaurant – Another hometown staple for no-frills southern cooking, locals go to Sister’s when they’re craving cheddar grits or corned beef. You can definitely count on them for down-home service and a plate full of goodness.
- The Club at Keowee Key – An option for some finer dining – and maybe a night away from the kids. The Club offers a more refined take on southern dining, and the service can’t be beat.
For the Relaxer
Sure, all those adventures can be fun, but for some of us, some good old-fashioned rest and relaxation is all we’re looking for! Try your hand at full-fledged leisure with some of these options:
Golf! Golf is the go-to relaxing, slow-paced sport for leisure for a reason – what other sport do you get to drive a cart and drink a beer while you compete? Lake Keowee is home to several incredible courses.
- The Reserve at Lake Keowee – By far the most notable course in the area, The Reserve features the Jack Nicklaus Signature Course. B
- etter brush up on your short game before you swing the sticks at the course of the Golden Bear, it’s a tricky course that will keep even the most frequent golfers on their toes.
- The Cliffs at Keowee Falls – Named best in the state from Golf Digest and in the top 50 best new courses by Golfweek, The Cliffs won’t disappoint. Located on 160 acres of terrain changes, sand traps, and water hazards, The Cliffs are sure to keep any golfer thrilled!
- Alpine Golf – For the younger golfers in the family, this miniature golf course is one of the best in the area. With tons of tubes and obstacles, none of the mini holes are boring! Turn it into an all-around great family night by topping it off with ice cream at the end!
- A Day at the Spa – Try out Moda Vita Spa for the ultimate relaxation! Located right off the lake, Moda Vita offers salon and day spa packages. Go ahead and get a massage or a facial in the beautiful facility. Treat yourself, you deserve it!
- Catch a Show – The Oconee Community Theatre puts on plenty of high-quality plays! Catch up on your culture and enjoy watching the local theatre scene. The theatre can make a great Friday or Saturday date night as the shows start at 8 pm, or you can soak in a matinee on Sunday at 12:30.
- Ride a Horse – The perfect answer to someone who’d like to experience more of the natural beauty around Lake Keowee, without having to hike it! There are a variety of horse rental services near Keowee, making your ride an easy excursion to set up. Gorgeous horse-specific trails lead you through the incredible natural experience of Northwestern South Carolina, all while riding peacefully on a well-trained horse. Even if you don’t have experience, the experts at the rental facilities can walk you through the process and make you feel comfortable before your ride. Sunset rides are especially popular in the area and do an excellent job of highlighting the mountains.
Lake Keowee is home to endless adventures and experience, no matter your age, interests, or lifestyle! Whether you choose to push yourself in adventures or relax by the lakeside, you’re bound to have a wonderful time at this gorgeous lake! It’s possible you’ll even find yourself wanting to stay…in which case we, Mike and Matt Roach, can help you find the perfect property to make your home! Check out our available listings or give us a call so we can help you find your own Perfect Fit.