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Iva, SOUTH CAROLINA

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One of our Favorite Parks in North Georgia

Tugaloo state Park: This Georgia State Park offers a multitude of activities from hiking, paddling, boating, fishing, swimming, putt putt, tennis/pickleball court and biking the park roads to name a few things. This park appears to be a local favorite and weekends were more active than weekdays during our 10 night stay at the camp ground. We really felt at home here due to the friendliness of the park staff and camphost volunteers. We loved the gravel sites, good Verizon cell reception 📶 and best of all the ease of access to our kayaks🛶. (Do check with the park office because some things like putt putt may be seasonal) 🔔 Another thing- should you want to rent a patio boat ⛴ - the park office has some numbers for you.

We stayed here in late October for 10 days and didn’t want to leave. The campground is laid out well with gravel sites, concrete picnic tables, fire pit, water, 30 amp and grey water drains throughout the campsite areas. 🚍Larger rigs—> Bring a dogleg/bone for double 30 amp.👍. Also- be aware some of the pull thru sites are almost buddy sites - your truck hauling your trailer will fit but your trailer won’t because another camper is sharing the pull thru lane with you. Rv’s with Tows won’t have this same issue. 🏡Cabins- I shared on the video that cabins 1-10 have less stairs if that is important to you. Yurts- some of these are on a hill- this means a walk up to restrooms …but don’t worry, there is a nicely paved sidewalk. 🏕 no electricity at the walk in sites- you do have water, fire pit and picnic table. There is a group campground too.

We did 2 videos of this park- so there is lots of info about all the amenities at this park. ***This is a park we have put on our favorite list to camp host here in the future.

Beautiful Toccoa Falls

This park is only available to Toccoa Falls College Alumni & parents of current Toccoa Falls College students.  But it's great!  =)

Awesome lakeside state park

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.

Stunning views

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.

Large sites

These sites are all good sized lots and not on top of each other. Amenities are clean, but could use another bath house or two. Beautiful views of the easily accessible lake, a boat ramp and a park all round out this nice little getaway spot. Highly recommended.

Great primitive camp

Great hunting fishing and camping. Outhouse is the only thing that is there for use. Anything else you must supply yourself. I go every year for bear season and will continue to do so.

Just A Good Campground

This campground won’t blow you away or anything but it’s a good campground that you’ll enjoy. Nice wooded coverage, walking and hiking trails, plus a few lakes to fish. Bath houses are probably the cleanest I’ve seen in all the campgrounds I’ve been too. The only reason I wouldn’t give it 5 stars is because the sites are pretty close to each other and you can hear aircraft traffic from the airport close by. I recommend sites 22,23,25 if you are tent camping.

Nice park

Cabins are great. Camp sites are a bit crowded, but a nice, well kept park.

Awesome time

Had a awesome time. Great view of the lake and nice big campsite. Cant wait to go back.

Water and land

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.

We LOVED Our Stay!!

We went camping at Hamilton Branch State Park in October 2019 for a week. There are so many wonderful things to say about this campground. 

1) Almost ALL sites are lakefront- There are very few sites that are not right on the water. There are some sites that have a steep drop off to the water(mostly the tent sites around the sites 123-128 range). We found several sites that we thought were the best. Sites 77, 168, 98, 97, 103, 105, and a couple of others I can’t remember. Nice views and access to the water. 

2) Sites are very spaced out- We were there during a quieter time, so we had several sites around us that were empty, but even if they had been full, we thought there was a lot of space between them, and most faced the water, so they all kind of faced away from each other. So, it seems to be very private. 

3) Park is LARGE- This is a huge park, and even though there are 200 sites, those are all distributed over 9 different areas, each area consisting of at least 1 loop each. So, again, very spaced out and private. 

4) Clean Bath Houses- Obviously we stuck to the bath house closest to our site, but it was extremely clean and appointed. Toilets cleaned every morning. Shower clean with good shower curtains! If you have camped before, you have likely encountered shower curtains that were hanging on by their last 2 or 3 loops. We even brought our own, in case that was the case here. Nope, it was very nice to have the bathroom so well taken care of. 

5) Friendly Staff- We had originally booked a specific site, and when we got there, we wanted to change it(due to the steep drop to the water, that would be hard to do every day with kayaks). We looked around the park to see what else would be available and Amanda at the front office was very helpful in checking for availability and helping us change our site. In addition to the very helpful Amanda, we encountered several camp hosts. Since the park is so big, there are multiple camp hosts. Everyone we encountered was friendly, helpful and seemed to enjoy being there. 

6) Beautiful Lake/Nature- Obviously the big attraction here is the lake. Thurmond Lake is ENORMOUS. And the park is on one small part of it. We kayaked a few days and saw a lot of fish, bald eagles, geese, blue herons, white egrets, etc. At our campsite we saw a couple of deer and a few raccoons. For a 6-night stay, we only saw the raccoons one night. We must not have had very good tidbits ad they gave up on us. 

We stated several times that we will be coming back to this campground, and that it might be one of the best we have ever been to. I hope this gave you some info and insight into this park.

A water lovers dream

This lake was beautiful. Great views of lake and mountains. The water was warm in October. Site #27 was good. Some sites were unlevel and on a steep grade and close with minimal greenery between. The walk-in tent sites were excellent. All sites had table, fire ring, lantern hook, and a gravel tent pad in addition to paved site. Most of the sites were shaded. Bathrooms were good with a big laundry area. There weren't really any paths to bathroom so it would be difficult in the dark if you were further away. We took a waterfall boat tour which was excellent. There are several paths to get to lake from different spots in campground. Which are like a private beach area. This park/campground is very busy on weekends but Sunday night it emptied out. Bring your boat, floats, kayaks, canoes. There is not much in area outside park. There was a Dollar General store within 15 minutes. The park store was well stocked with many items. Park staff were not that friendly. There are several boat ramps in park. Divers also use this lake since the lake is clear.

Probably the coolest place to camp in South Carolina.

Book your trip a few months in advance, get a spot on the water. Sites are a little small, and close together, but the sunrise from your tent/site is totally worth it. Amazing water clarity, bring a kayak. If you enjoy fishing there’s great trout.

Love Watsadler!

First time here, and we loved it! There was direct lake access from our campsite which was amazing. It is in a cove so it was quiet with hardly any lake traffic. Has 2 playgrounds & bath houses. 10/10 will come again!

Quad Overload of Steps

I'll admit that I'm not in my best shape ever but also know it's not my worst shape, this was full leg workout for 4 miles up as well as 4 miles back down. I highly recommend in the warmer months you get on the trail as early as possible. It opens at 7am. Bring plenty of water. The views along the way are beautiful and when you get to the top at the main overlook is fabulous too. I say the main overlook as there are a couple spots like right at Governors Rock is deep into the trail…but not the main view.

Deep forest, buggy backcountry!

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.

Nice!

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.

Great family camping

If you have a boat or jetski there is a ramp. Has showers and restrooms. Mostly for RVs however there are a few tent sites that have tree cover. The RV sites don't really offer any trees for shade. The lake is great for swimming. The campground also offers paddle board and kayak rentals. The campground has a gate that gets locked at 10 pm. You can leave but you can't come back into the campground after the gate gets locked.

Ranger Review: Banner & Oak Apparel at Paris Mountain State Park

Campground Review: 

Paris Mountain State Park is just a short drive outside of Greenville, SC, but seems a world away. It is beautiful in all seasons. The campground is a typical state campground. Water, electric, fire ring, and picnic table were at our site. We stayed at #39 which was fine for our needs. If you had any sort of rig, we would NOT recommend this spot. The concrete was in poor shape and would make for a leveling nightmare. We voted we’d stay in #40 next time. It was a pull through with a creek running by the fire ring. The shower house was perfectly adequate and clean. Their reservation system was easy. We enjoyed all of the hiking options and the swimming area in the park. 

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Product Review: 

As Rangers for The Dyrt, we get to test products from time to time– today we tested Banner & Oak apparel www.bannerandoak.com. We loved their trucker hats. They were breathable, and held their shape under the sweat from a hard hike. We felt they were very attractive as well. As a long torso’d and arm’d couple, we both noticed right away and appreciated the length of the shirts themselves and the length of the sleeves on the long-sleeved shirt. There is nothing worse than washing shirts and having to stretch the heck out of them to try to get them back to looking presentable. We have no fear our Banner & Oak short and long-sleeved shirts will not give us this trouble. They worked well under our packs and we didn’t find ourselves needing to pull down our shirt every few mins or so. As a larger busted woman, however, their Women’s Large ran a bit small in the chest. I normally wear a Large which gives me some room to move around, but I wish I would have ordered my shirt in a XL. It is a tight fit. All in all, we really liked Banner & Oak’s apparel, in style, cut (mostly), and comfort. The shirt material is super soft and we could see ourselves ordering more from their site.

Cool evenings and shaded spaces

We stayed here for a weekend in July 18, I really appreciated the shaded site and the ac! Nice campground to walk around with a few hiking trails.

Lovely campground on lake Keowee

Spacious sites with some drive through, short walk to the lake and other activities, playground. Very nice stay for a weekend.

Beautiful site in the lake

We had an excellent weekend stay at site 16, lovely lake view of Hartwell, power and water hookups only. Everything looks great and well maintained, our site was right on the lake and had a large area for the grill and picnic table with cross tie steps and walls. Beautiful campground we stayed in September 18 in a motorhome.

Nice Place to Relax, Just out side the bustle of Suburbia.

We had a great time staying here. Some of the sights were rather inclined, but they listed this on the website when booking(it's on a mountain after all). The areas between most of the sites was spacious, we were able to hang 2 hammocks to chill in. The Bathhouses had been remodeled and were kept clean while we were there. (There wasn't hand soap at the sinks that was a little weird for me).  The Large trash bins were located back down across from the Park Center, as was the play ground. It would have been more convenient for campers to have these things closer but were convenient for day use visitors. The park center is a gorgeous stone/log cabin type building with a long porch facing the Swimming area. There are Adirondack chairs on the porch, then between the porch and the lake are wooden lounge chairs and benches to relax on while taking a break from swimming or hanging out. There are miles of trails and streams to explore. We had a lovely time and plan to visit again soon.

Surprisingly Accomodating, Even When Crowded

I had never visited Lake Greenwood, save for driving by on the way from Augusta to Greenville. So when no other State Park had reservations available for Labor Day weekend, I was hesitant to book here. I will admit, I was mistaken. My in-laws and my parents both pulled their camper trailers, while I pulled my Jayco pop-up. I was very satisfied with the size of the spaces, which were accurate compared to the website. The camp website also accurately informs campers about the grade of campsite driveways, which did become an issue for my parent’s trailer. The sites are generally not much more than an asphalt driveway, and a gravel picnic table/fire ring area. I didn’t see many tent campers in this part of the campground, and I would imagine tent camping would be especially uncomfortable (hot) during the summer months. Electrical hookups are new, and standard, and water hookups are plenty for even the biggest of rigs.

The campground maintains decent tree/shade coverage, especially on the outer sites. The sites near/on the water are also shaded and have the added bonus of the lake breeze, although they are a bit crowded; very close to the sites next door. Speaking of which, perhaps due to the sold-out Labor Day weekend, but most probably because of the design of the campground and lakeside access, foot traffic was heavy between and around my campsite. This was annoying as always, and made me feel like I needed to bring in all of my chairs, etc when I left the site.

There are several bathhouses spread throughout the campground. Each one has two showers, two sinks, and two toilets, though at my closest bathhouse, one of the showers was out of order. The bathhouses were always very clean, and did not have the usual peeling paint and army of bugs and spiders that some bathhouses seem to maintain as a matter of principle.

Nearby Ninety Six NHS was a great half-day attraction, less than 15 mins away. Greenwood City is also a draw. Of course, the gem is Lake Greenwood. I was wishing the entire weekend that I had a boat to enjoy the cool clear water.

Bottom line, I have plans to come back on a less crowded weekend, and definitely with a boat.

Beautiful location and beautiful lake

If it weren’t for Hurricane Dorian we would have never found this gem! What a beautiful location. Most sites directly on the lake. We were 10 ft from our own swimming area. The water is clean to fish, swim, boat, kayak, jet ski. You can easily rent a pontoon and jet skis at the nearby Skippers and cruise to a great bar and grill, “break on the lake” for dinner and drinks.  The lake is big enough to explore but small enough not to get lost. The reception is helpful and bathhouses very clean.  You are 20 minutes from the cute town of Greenwood too.  Full hookups available at this state park. Picnic tables and fire rings provided too. Don’t carry your own firewood in due to possible invasive insects.

Very quiet

Raysville is a hidden gem at Clarks Hill Lake.  this campground is much quieter and more secluded than the others in the area.  they still offer decent bath houses with showers.  the only negative in my mind is the lack of a swimming area for kids.

Clean & Quiet

Winfield has a lot of really good sites, most with reasonable privacy.  The campground isn't too large as to overwhelm you.  they have several sites that work well as buddy sites too.

Very clean and very well maintained

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.