The Hartwell Dam & Lake Visitor Center is a great stop for anyone needing more information about one of the Southeast’s largest lakes, Hartwell Lake. Big Oaks Recreation Area is located adjacent to the visitor center. At Big Oaks, you will have a great view of Hartwell Lake from the picnic area. Take a walk on a paved (handicap accessible) walking trail that goes along the edge of Hartwell Lake and leads to the top of Hartwell Dam, where you have a scenic view of the lake, dam and the Savannah River.
On the lower side of the dam, along the Savannah River, is one of the newest attractions in Hartwell, Ga.: the Hartwell Dam Fishing Pier. This pier is free and open to the public. Access it by driving to the Georgia River Recreation Area just one mile from the visitor center.
- Camping. there are 9 campgrounds at Lake Hartwell with a total of 524 campsites.
- Trails. a 7.6 miles (12.2 km) multi-purpose trail is in the Paynes Creek Campground area.
- Fishing. many fish species inhabit Lake Hartwell, including largemouth bass, bream, hybrid and striped bass, crappie, white bass, trout, and walleye.
- Swimming. The lake is suitable for swimming but there have been over 200 deaths on the lake.
- Water sports. Sports such as tubing, water skiing, and wake boarding are permitted on the lake.
- Boating. There are five marinas along the lake, including Clemson Marina, Big Water Marina, Harbor Light Marina, Hartwell Marina, and Portman Marina as well as many public boat ramps.
- Wildlife. There are more than 250 species of birds and 40 different mammals around Lake Hartwell.
Wiki Hartwell Highlights
Eighteen Mile Creek. Eighteen Mile Creek is a curvy and narrow waterway. It is off the Seneca River at buoy marker S-42. It is well known by fishermen and birders. The creek extends about five miles, ending in a big shallow area with an old bridge. It is a site of many birds and wildlife.[11
Rock Quarry. This has many overhanging rocks, whose height seems to change with varying lake levels. Some areas within this cove are shallower than others.
Ghost Island. At its center high point are fifty old grave headstones; some cannot be read. Some above-ground concrete vaults are marked identifying the graves from the War of 1812. Others are from the 1700s. Many people camp on this island unaware of their “company”.
Andersonville Island. Andersonville, South Carolina was once a well-known port and resort town. It had a barge system with daily service to Savannah, Georgia. It flourished for years, attracting both industry and tourists. Andersonville was said to be as large as Anderson or Pendleton, both also in South Carolina. Today it survived only as a large island, nearly 400 acres. It is the largest island on the lake, and is between two and three miles long. A paved road across the island is grown over. Visitors can explore building ruins, artifacts, rare plants and wildlife.