This recreation area is part of J. Strom Thurmond Lake
Nice spacing between sites, renovated comfort stations with private showers, good little camp office, great staff, miles of lake shore, and lots of beautiful hiking. The site shown is #49.
All campsites have nice views of the lake. Large boat ramp, kayak and paddleboard rentals, cabins, hiking trails, nature viewing spots, walk in sites…this one has it all. Many events throughout the year for all. Store in the park in case you forgot something. Ranger lives inside the campground as well.
The main feature is the lake. Fishing, boating, kayaking, swimming. Stayed at site #12. Waterfront excellent view of lake but sunny site. Sites had water, electric, concrete table, fire ring, and lantern hook. Not much barrier between sites but sites were good size just open. Everyone was very friendly. During week it was relatively empty but on Friday the campground started to fill up. Sites in the 60-90 loop looked the best with water views and shade and most were pull through. The bathrooms were ok and there is a laundry room. The bathrooms were quite far from some sites requiring a long walk or drive. Park had a great store selling souvenirs, ice, firewood, worms for fishing. Campground staff and host were very friendly. Not much around outside park. There was a dollar general about 12 miles away for supplies. You could pull your boat up to your waterfront campsite. They also have kayak rentals.
This review is of the three backcountry hike-in sites at Mistletoe State Park along the Rock Dam Trail. I didn't stay in any of these, but checked them out as I hiked the Rock Dam Trail. This trail was supposed to involve several water crossings, but when I was here in September, the water level was extremely low and nothing was flowing beyond a trickle. Water in the streams was mostly still and quite murky. If you are filtering water (and you surely will be if you are camping back here), you'll need to pre-filter well to not clog your filter (at least when it is low and murky).
If you hike the trail from the Mistletoe parking lot counter-clockwise, site #1 is about 2.8 miles in, site #2 about 4.1 miles in, and site #3 about 4.8 miles in. (So sites #2 & #3 would be closer going clockwise.) Water sources: sites #1 & #2 are near the stream, and #3 is near a small lake. If the water is low like it was when I was here, the lake water was not accessible -- you'd have to trudge through 50 fifty feet of mud to get to it and you'd probably get swallowed or it would really suck anyway. So save #3 for the springtime only I think. The other two water was there but murky as I said. (Apparently when the water is high the streams are really flowing and possibly near waist level to hike through at some points.)
Site #1 was the best in the most interesting location, spacious, level, pretty nice site for tents or hammocks. Site #2 was more boring, smaller and without really good ground for a tent, although workable. No shortage of trees for hammocks though. Site #3 was decent (and the closest to start if you hike the trail clockwise), but again only when the lake water is high or there won't be any water (see pic).
All of these sites are in the forest and I'm sure it is quite buggy almost always, so be prepared with thermacells, bug nets, etc. All sites had a table and fire pit. All trash must be packed out. The trail itself was pretty good, moderately strenuous with a fair amount of ups & downs and parts where you are in a very narrow ravine. If the water crossings really involved water (as they do in the spring apparently) it would be even more strenuous.
This is a review of the four walk-in tent sites at Mistletoe State Park. I personally stayed in #4 and had a look at the others.
The best site is definitely #2 -- feet from the water, spacious, suitable for more than one tent or hammock (better for tents as it is mostly open, but there are places for hammocks along the edges).
Site #4 is probably second best, better for a hammocks probably (which is what I had) as no great level ground. It is not right on the water but has it's own private path to the water(couple hundred feet to the water).
Sites #1 & #3 do not really have access to the water without climbing down something steeply dangerous or through thick trees. (The water access from the other sites is right in the middle of those other sites so you couldn't really share that unless they are empty or occupied by friends.) Still #1 is a pretty good site. #3 is the least interesting and smallest, but still secluded -- I wouldn't call any of these bad.
None of these sites have groomed tent pads -- just gravelly ground. They do each have a table, fire pit, and lantern pole. #1 & #2 are best for tents. There is good separation between all sites. Sites #2 & #3 are within shouting distance of each other and you'd be able to see tents, etc at one from the other. There is an outhouse between sites #1 & #2, and another another between sites #3 & #4. It is a 5 minute (or so) walk to the real bathroom (which also has showers) back in the main campground.
Other than the lake itself at sites #2 & #4, I didn't see any dedicated water source for these sites. (The lake is silty -- pre-filtering recommended if you are using a filter.) So you'd have to bring in water or get it from the bathroom area or maybe from an empty RV site which all have spigots. You'll have to pack out your trash, and there are definitely critters around that will get in your trash so it should be secured somehow. (Hanging it from the lantern pole isn't good enough -- you'll wake up to find a hole in the bag and it strewn around, ask me how I know.)
Everything in the park was very clean and well-maintained, although when I was here in September (during the week), the whole place was basically deserted anyway.
The water access at sites #2 & #4 is nice but it is not a real beach -- it is all large rocks for the most part and they were very slippery even when dry so be careful. The water level was also extremely low when I was there so some of those rocks are probably covered by water earlier in the year.
Mistletoe takes very good care of their sites. There are plenty of RV/tent sites to choose from as well as a few walk-in sites, a group site, and even a few back country sites. The facilities are always extremely clean. They also have laundry facilities available.
Really great time at this campground. Sites are very large with plenty of room between sites. Some lake front, lake view and woods. Site 64 was huge with plenty of room for our two golden retrievers with lake view and woods. Kayaked around the area, water was nice and dogs loved swimming. It was in the high 90s so the shaded site helped. Bath houses were clean and centralized throughout the campground. Everyone was very friendly. Have a large beach area and playgrounds and picnic areas too. Great place to bike, will bring mine next time. Good hiking trails around the park.
Had a very relaxing overnight stay here. Would of stayed longer to enjoy even more of the area. Highly recommend coming here for a night or a week.
We absolutely loved our large site, right on the lake. #82 was amazing! There were even a couple wooden benches down by the lake. We had just enough beach area to sit on the bank while the boys played in the water. The bath house was just down the hill from our spot and it was pretty central to all the sites. The sunset views were breathtaking and we thoroughly enjoyed our long weekend here.
Lucked out with a great site for two nights of Spring Break. No easy way down to the water from site 49, but it sure was pretty. Photos and details on the link.