Budget-Friendly Family Fun

If you’re planning for Spring Break or trying to decide where to travel this summer, you’ve come to the right place!

Oconee County is located in what is considered the “upstate” region of South Carolina, near the borders of Georgia and North Carolina. We’re within a two-hour drive of Atlanta and Greenville, and three hours from Charlotte. People are often surprised by the steep vistas, rolling hills, and cooler temperatures found here. We have four lakes, two rivers, and more than 25 waterfalls waiting for you to enjoy!

Bonus: Our area is loaded with plenty of outdoor adventures that are free or inexpensive to access!
Photo of Brasstown Falls by Adam Wright
Photo credit Adam Wright

Three Waterfalls, One Location

Last year the U.S. Forest Service improved trails to Brasstown Falls. This series of three waterfalls is one of Oconee’s most visited destinations for good reason! Bonus: There is no cost to access these impressive sites! It takes less than an hour, there and back, to view all three. The first waterfall is wheelchair accessible. The entire experience is peaceful and pleasant. It is a relatively easy hike down to the middle and bottom falls, but the trek requires walking 50+ earthen steps each way.

photo of family with mountain bikes
Photo credit @canter_matt

Mountain Biking Family Adventure

There are many ways to enjoy Stumphouse Park.  This terrific park costs just $5 per vehicle to enter. The property is 440-acres and has public amenities including: Stumphouse Tunnel, Issaqueena Falls, the Stumphouse Passage of the Palmetto Trail, the Blue Ridge Railroad hiking trail and over 10-miles of mountain biking trails. There are restroom facilities and numerous picnic areas which make this a wonderful destination for a full day of fun!

image of destination Oconee sign at Chau Ram park
Photo credit Visit Oconee SC

Creekside Fun

Chau Ram County Park in Westminster is a spot we recommend for letting kids swim near Ramsey Falls, play in the creek or the sandy beach area. There’s a disc golf course, public restrooms and retail store too. The daily admission fee is $3 per car. The park has trails, a cool suspension bridge, playgrounds, and 26 campsites, so you can play and stay!

photo of playground at South Cove County Park
Photo credit Visit Oconee SC

Keowee’s Natural Water Park

South Cove County Park is located on the banks of Lake Keowee. It’s a scenic setting with lots of amenities! It’s only $3 per car to gain admission. That’s an old-fashioned price for an old-fashioned day of fun in the water or on the playground nearby. You can borrow fishing gear from the park store. Unlimited Outfitters rents on-site kayaks and paddleboards. Reserve campsite or RV spot here.

Photo of boats on Lake Jocassee
Photo credit @our.smoakin.adventures

Spend the Day at Lake Jocassee

Bring your boat if you have one. Or plan to rent paddle boards or kayaks to cruise around Lake Jocassee at your own speed.  There is an admission fee (per person) to enter Devils Fork State Park. But once you’re in, you can stay all day, making this a relatively inexpensive day of family fun. Check out these great ways to enjoy Lake Jocassee on a budget.

Photo credit Visit Oconee SC

Forests are Gems For the Public to Enjoy

There are 80,000 acres of National Forest in Oconee County, SC. Explore and enjoy what federal tax dollars bought you! Now is a great time to get out and visit your national forests. The only cost involved is gas to get there and sometimes parking fees. You’ll have access thousands of acres of Sumter National Forest with choices of trails that fit your interest and activity level. Our hiking page lists adventures that are easy, moderate and difficult.

Photo credit Chanda Morrison

History and Nature on the Mountain

Waterfall hikes, trekking inside an unfinished tunnel, mountain biking, fishing, and natural adventures can be had in one of Oconee’s least populated areas. Bring the family and enjoy a day on the mountain.

Choosing Where to Stay

Where to stay is at the top of everyone’s travel planning checklist.

Oconee County, SC is fortunate to have budget-friendly parks offering incredible lodging. We have three state parks (Oconee State Park, Devils Fork State Park and Lake Hartwell State Park) and three county parks (South Cove County Park, High Falls County Park, and Chau Ram County Park) located within our borders.

You’ll get the best bang for your buck by camping at the parks or staying in your RV. But, if you are able to book early, and willing to spend a bit more, we recommend the CCC era cabins at Oconee State Park or the villas at Devils Fork State Park, located on the shore of Lake Jocassee.

Check our stay page for dozens of suggested lodging properties. In addition to these places, there are are more than 300 vacation rentals in Oconee County that can be found on Airbnb or VRBO.  You can search places in Seneca, West Union, Salem, Walhalla, Westminster, Long Creek or Mountain Rest to find rental properties to suit your family.


  • Seneca and West Union are near Lake Keowee
  • Salem is near Lake Jocassee
  • Westminster and Seneca are near Lake Hartwell
  • Walhalla and Mountain Rest are close to Stumphouse Park
  • Long Creek and Mountain Rest are close to the Wild & Scenic Chattooga River, the Chauga River and near dozens of waterfalls

2 Responses

  1. I really enjoyed this information. It’s given me many ideas to peruse for the upcoming summer.. Tk’s.

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