This total solar eclipse will cross from the Pacific states to the Eastern Seaboard, and touches only American soil – and the next one that will do the same thing won’t happen until January 25, 2316 -so you’d better catch this one! The solar eclipse of 2017 will occur in Oconee County, SC on the afternoon of Monday, August 21, with the total eclipse happening at about 2:30 pm (EST). The lakes and foothills of Oconee County offer fantastic places to watch the event away from the city crowds. From farms to lakes to waterfall trails, Oconee County offers a diverse choice of viewing spots. But why come just for the eclipse on Monday? Between whitewater rafting, gorgeous hiking opportunities, trout fishing, u-pick farms, and unique shopping, you can be entertained the entire weekend leading up to the eclipse!
Solar Eclipse Details
Duration of Totality: 2m 35s
Totality Start: 2:36:15PM (EDT)
Partial Eclipse: 1:08p.m. – 4:02p.m. EST
Sun’s Position During Eclipse
Where Can You Best See the Eclipse?
Lake Jocassee – This 7,500-acre lake surrounded by mountain views is a prime boating destination in the Upstate. The only public access is at Devil’s Fork State Park. It is sure to be a party as people bring their boats to the lake to celebrate the eclipse under the wide open skies. Jocassee Lake Tours is already sold out of their guided boat tours on eclipse day. Bring your own boat if you have one, or look for nearby towns to rent boats, kayaks or paddleboards.
Address: 161 Holcombe Circle, Salem, SC 29676
Lake Keowee – Lake Keowee has 18,500 acres of water and a 300-mile shoreline, making it a popular place for fishing, waterskiing, swimming, camping and picnicking. The middle of Lake Keowee lies right ON the centerline of the Path of Totality – giving the viewer the maximum precious seconds to watch the total eclipse!
Lake Hartwell – Another place you can get out on the water to spend Eclipse Day, Lake Hartwell comprises nearly 56,000 acres of water with a shoreline of 962 miles. There are three campgrounds on the lake with boat ramps: Oconee Point at the northern end of Lake Hartwell on the Seneca River and close to Clemson, SC; Lake Hartwell State Park Just off of I-85, at the South Carolina-Georgia border, and Coneross Campground on the Seneca River arm of the northern end of the lake.
Lake Tugaloo – Calm waters and scenic vistas define Lake Tugaloo This little known 575-acre lake in the mountainous region of Oconee County is the perfect place to combine a serene paddle with eclipse viewing. You can access it at the rafting takeout for Section IV of the Chattooga River: Bull Sluice Rd, Long Creek, SC 29658
Oconee State Park – The centerline of the Path of Totality crosses directly over Oconee State Park! This historic park is truly a mountain retreat, resting deep in the Blue Ridge foothills. The park’s fishing lakes offer bass and bream and the woods are full of wildlife, fur and feather alike. Oconee State Park also serves as the southern trailhead for the Foothills Trail, an 80-mile wilderness hike on the dramatic Blue Ridge Escarpment on up to Table Rock.
Address: 624 State Park RD., Mountain Rest, SC 29664
Phone: (864) 638-5353
High Falls County Park – High Falls County Park is nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. It serves as a gateway to a variety of recreational activities. This 44 acre park, established in 1971, is located on the beautiful waters of Lake Keowee. There is a small clearing in the middle of the park, but you might see the eclipse best from the fishing piers, or if you have a boat, get out on Lake Keowee! There is a $2/vehicle day-use fee.
Address: 671 High Falls Rd., Seneca, SC 29672
South Cove County Park – This small county park on Lake Keowee has plenty of clear lakeshore for prime eclipse watching. South Cove Park is located on the clear waters of Lake Keowee. It offers a variety of day use facilities as well as lakeside camping. Fishing, boating, sailing and water skiing are readily accessible via two park boat ramps. Address: 1099 South Cove Road, Seneca, SC. There is a $2/vehicle day-use fee.
Address: 1099 South Cove Rd., Seneca, SC 29678
Chattooga Belle Farm – Chattooga Belle Farm, located in Long Creek, South Carolina, lies directly in the “path of totality”, the narrow region that will allow for a full 2.5 minutes of darkness beginning around 2:35 pm. The farm, with its already breathtaking vista views, will be the perfect place to witness this once in a lifetime event. Join visitors from around the world and celebrate with Food Trucks, Distillery Tours & Tastings, Music, Astronomy Talks, Star Gazing, Drum Circle, Fruit Picking, Crafts, Disc Golf, Yard Games and more!
Fees: Festival admission is $35 for VIP, $15 for Adults, $8 for Children age 12 and under. Primitive camping is $10 per site (per night) with enough room for one tent or RV.
Address: 454 Damascus Church Road, Long Creek, SC
Duke World of Energy – The World of Energy is directly in the path of a total solar eclipse, scheduled to arrive the afternoon of Aug. 21, 2017. Visit the World of Energy throughout 2017 to pick up your solar eclipse viewing glasses and learn more about this awe-inspiring event! A series of educational programs involving the eclipse will be scheduled throughout the year – stay tuned to learn more. They invite you to view the eclipse from their front lawn on Aug. 21, 2017.
Southern Wesleyan University – Southern Wesleyan University is partnering with the town of Central for Eclipse Over SWU, a free event taking place at the Joe R. Gilbert Track and Field on the Central campus. Admission is free to the public and parking is available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Visitors are invited to bring lawn chairs or blankets. Southern Wesleyan will give out special protective viewers to the first 3,000 visitors and there will be a live feed on the large video scoreboard at the track for safe viewing by small children.
Also, Southern Wesleyan’s Division of Science will host a lecture and lunch at Bryant Lodge from 10 a.m. until Noon, which will be a ticketed event.
Sertoma Field – Want to play disc golf during eclipse day? Sertoma Field is a short 18-hole course that is 4,256 feet and wraps around a large open field. From the field and the two playgrounds on the property, you should be able to get a good view of the eclipse.
Phone: (864) 638-4346
Walhalla State Fish Hatchery –Built in the 1930’s by the Civilian Conservation Corps, this is the only trout hatchery in South Carolina. Some 150,000 pounds of rainbow, brown and brook trout are raised here each year for stocking mountain streams and lakes. Visitors are welcome to tour the hatchery, fish in the East Fork which runs through hatchery grounds, or picnic in areas provided for the public. Nearby is the Ellicott Rock Wilderness, which offers a series of scenic trails for hikers. The Fish Hatchery is very close to the centerline of the Path of Totality!
Address: 198 Fish Hatchery Road, Mountain Rest, SC
Phone: (864) 638-2866
Where to Eat, Sleep, and Play in Oconee County
Locals love the wonderful barbecue and sides at Black’s Smokehouse, the new and improved Humble Pie Pizza near Chattooga River whitewater rafting, and noshing in Walhalla at Carolina Pizza Company. If you are looking for lunch with a view, check out Belle’s Bistro at Chattooga Belle Farm. For dinner and drinks on the water, try The Lighthouse Restaurant on Lake Keowee. Sole Grill & Sushi Bar and Paesano’s Italian Restaurant are Seneca favorites. If you’re looking for a nightcap with some great brews head over to Brews on the Alley or Spot on the Alley.
Lake Hartwell State Park, at the southern end of the county near I-85, has a large campground and two glamping cabins for rent.
Devils Fork State Park has two large campgrounds on the shores of Lake Jocassee, and twenty villas for rent. Chances are they are all booked up at publishing time, but it’s worth checking out.
Oconee State Park has two campgrounds and 20 rustic log cabins for rent. Since the park is in the centerline of the Path of Totality, it might be hard to find a spot, so look early!
Mountain Rest Cabins and Campground is nestled between Mountain Rest and Walhalla, South Carolina, in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Choose From 18 Themed Chalets & Cottages
Chattooga River Resort – Located just 5 minutes from the Wild and Scenic Chattooga River, the Resort has 40 primitive campsites with 17 enhanced sites and 40 primitive campsites with 17 enhanced sites
Chattooga Sounds Camp Ground is surrounded by the Sumter National Forest with a backdrop of the Blue Ridge Mountains, close to the Chattooga River and is in the Path of Totality!
Vacation Rental Homes There are dozens of independently owned vacation rental homes to choose from for your trip to the area.
If you like outdoor recreation, Oconee County is the place to be while you wait for the eclipse. Oconee County is a great weekend getaway, in easy driving distance from Atlanta and other metro areas.
Mountain Rest and Long Creek feature scores of gorgeous waterfalls ranging from easy hikes to all-day adventures.
The Chattooga River is world-renowned for whitewater rafting. If you’re ready for real adventure, there are three outfitters to take you on your journey: Southeastern Expeditions, Wildwater, and Nantahala Outdoor Center. Chattooga Whitewater Shop offers rental duckies for the calmer stretches, shuttle service and gear.
There are plenty of places to fish in Oconee County: with four wonderful lakes in the area, three trout fishing rivers (the Chattooga River, Chauga River, and Eastatoe River.) You will want to check out the Mountain Lakes CVB Fishing page for information where, how and when to get the most out of your fishing trip.
Scuba diving in the mountains? Whoever heard of that? But with the beautiful dammed, crystal clear lakes, the diving is amazing. Jocassee Dive Shop, Jocassee Adventures, and The Scuba Shop all offer the services you need to get under water.
Oconee offers a variety of specialty stores in each of its cities and towns. From vintage and interior design to southern specialties, monogramming and art, you’ll find shops and boutiques to inspire you.
So, as you can see, Oconee County, SC a perfect place not just to watch the Great American Eclipse of 2017, but to spend a great weekend leading up to it having a ton of fun!