No Fourth of July celebration plans yet?
You might want to consider heading to the lake.
Clarks Hill Lake offers several areas open today, including four prime spots where reservations aren't required for day recreation in Columbia County.
Lake Spring Recreation Area
Lake visitors can fish, boat, swim or cook out at the Lake Springs Recreation Area, a day-use area on Lake Springs Road just off U.S. Highway 221 in Appling.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers-operated park offers a boat ramp, dock, fish cleaning station, fishing pier, comfort stations, picnic area, four picnic shelters, 13 swim beaches, volleyball courts, horseshoe pits, walking and riding trails and is an entrance point to Bartram Trail.
Aaron Wahus, the Corps park operations manager for Clarks Hill Lake, said summer holidays are the busiest time in parks such as Lake Springs.
"We have five different loops at Lake Springs," Wahus said. "It is the largest day-use area of the Corps of Engineers in the nation. We'll probably have 4,000 or 5,000 folks in there each day at one time (on holidays and Sunday afternoons)."
Park entrance costs $4 per vehicle.
West Dam Recreation Area
Families are welcome at West Dam Recreation Area, operated by the Corps of Engineers. The park is a day-use area offering comfort stations, picnic area, two playgrounds, handicapped facilities, a shelter, 10 mini shelters, seven beaches and an entrance point to Bartram Trail.
Wahus said he expects all picnic shelters and other park areas to be full of visitors.
"The Fourth is our peak," Wahus said, adding that frequent lake visitors can purchase a $30 annual pass from the visitors center or park attendants. "That's the way to go. It is for day-use areas for all Corps of Engineers day-use or boat ramps in the nation."
The park is on U.S. Highway 221 just before the dam leading into South Carolina. Park entrance costs $4 per vehicle.
Columbia County's Wildwood Park offers many activities other than the lake. In addition to eight boat ramps to access the 78,000-acre lake, the park provides about 12 miles of horse riding trails, hiking trails and two nine-hole disc golf courses at the home of the Professional Disc Golf Association.
Charlie Beale, Columbia County's recreation director, said he expects plenty of people heading into the park today.
"It'll be full on the Fourth," Beale said. "Any holiday it is full. The camping areas have been booked for probably two months."
The park also offers traditional lake fun in the form of a beach area, picnic area and four covered pavilions.
Wildwood Park is at 6212 Holloway Road in Appling, less than two miles past Pollard's Corner on Washington Road.
Park entrance costs $3 per car and $5 for boats. An entire day of disc golf costs $3 for Columbia County residents and PDGA members and $5 for nonmembers.
Mistletoe State Park
Mistletoe State Park also will be open today.
The park is on the western end of Columbia County at 3723 Mistletoe Road in Appling.
Park Clerk Peggy Burke said the park normally plays host to many more guests on the Fourth of July.
Burke said the rentable areas of the park are already reserved.
In addition to cottages and 92 camp sites, the park offers several day-use recreation areas including a swimming beach, five picnic shelters, a group shelter, beach house, 12 miles of backpacking and bicycling trails and more than three miles of nature trails, a fishing dock and three boat ramps.
Entrance to the park costs $3 per vehicle.
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