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Free Things To Do In Lake Greenwood State Park

When you’re traveling, finding free things to do helps stretch your vacation budget. If you’re heading to the Old 96 District, check out these Free Things To Do In Lake Greenwood State Park.

For more help planning your trip, check out all of our travel posts.

A woman standing in a nature park with the words "Free Things To Do In Lake Greenwood State Park" digitally written above her.

When we were planning our trip in the Old 96 District, we noticed there was a state park in the area. The park seemed pretty large and looked like a great way to spend the late morning. It has hiking trails, and, since we were planning on spending the afternoon at the SC Festival of Discovery eating our faces off, getting steps in was pretty important.

When we got to the park, there was so much more to do there than we anticipated. We were only prepared to do some hiking, so that’s all we did. But, if you’re in the area and looking for a way to spend the day, you’re in luck. There’s a ton to do there … for free (once you get inside, anyway).

Four scenes from Greenwood, SC with the words "24 Hours In Greenwood, SC" digitally written over them.

Lake Greenwood State Park is in Ninety Six, a smaller town next to the larger town of Greenwood, South Carolina.

If you have time to spend in the area, check out our 24 Hours In Greenwood, South Carolina post.

Free Things To Do In Lake Greenwood State Park

Affiliate links are included in this post and Drugstore Divas may make a small commission if you use them.

Before we get started, I want to let you know that you actually need to pay to enter the park. There are kiosks where attendants are and will collect your daily fee.

If you get to the state park and the attendant isn’t there, there is a small box where you will grab an envelope. Half the envelope will be where you will put your money, and that part goes back into the box. The other half is your parking pass. You’ll punch out the square that designates the day you’re at the park and will need to display that while you’re in the park.

Admission is $3 for adults (16 and over), $1.50 for seniors who are South Carolina residents, and $1 for children ages 6 to 15. Children 5 and under are free.

A woman looking at a trail map in Lake Greenwood State Park.

Use The Hiking Trails

There are a few hiking trails at Lake Greenwood State Park, including the Scenic Shoreline Trail, the Forest Trail, and the Woodland Bypass Trail. Depending on how far you want to hike, you can choose various paths along the trail. You can see the full Lake Greenwood State Park trail map here.

The full Scenic Shoreline Trail is a little over four miles at takes you from the trailhead in Campground 1 to the adjacent portion of the park (which has its own entrance, if you’re driving there). That’s one way. So, if you have nothing else to do, hiking nearly eight miles through the woods sounds good. But, we combined a couple segments of the Nature Trail to hike about 1.5 miles through the woods and along the shoreline.

It was beautiful. We got to enjoy the trees, the wildlife (yes, there are squirrels and other critters), and the shoreline. And, we finished with enough time to enjoy lunch on time too.

Two kayaks and a boat in the water at Lake Greenwood State Park.

Go Boating & Kayaking

There are multiple boat launches at the state park, and you’re able to take your kayaks or boats out onto the water.

When the weather is nice, there are a ton of campers and visitors enjoying water activities at the park, so we absolutely encourage you to be as careful as possible when you’re boating. Swimming isn’t permitted around the boat launches, but be aware of your surroundings when putting your boat or kayak in and out, just in case.

A swimming area at Lake Greenwood State Park.

Go Swimming

Swimming is permitted at Lake Greenwood State Park, so be sure to pack your bathing suit.

There aren’t any lifeguards or designated swimming areas at the state park, so you will have to swim at your own risk.

Swimming around boat ramps and fishing piers is not permitted, but that still leaves a ton of water to swim in.

A fishing pier at Lake Greenwood State Park.

Go Fishing

This one is a little tricky. Fishing is permitted at Lake Greenwood State Park, with largemouth and striped bass, black crappie, and channel catfish being the predominant species. And, while it’s free to access the fishing piers once you’re inside the park, you may need a fishing permit to fish in South Carolina.

Head over to the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources website for all the details.

What’s really nice is Lake Greenwood State Park has a handicap accessible fishing pier, so if you need a pier with more accessibility, you can find it here.

A playground at Lake Greenwood State Park.

Play On The Playground

There are two playgrounds located within Campground 1 at the state park. There are slides, ladders to climbs, and more within the playground. There are benches near the playgrounds, so parents have a place to sit and watch.

A museum in the welcome center at Lake Greenwood State Park.

Visit the Civilian Conservation Corps Museum

Inside the welcome center is the Civilian Conservation Corps Museum. The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) was a work program that Franklin D. Roosevelt started in 1933 that allowed single men ages 18 to 25 the chance to work in programs to improve the nation’s public lands, forests, and parks.

What’s interesting about the program is that six years after the CCC was created, World War II began. Many of the members were drafted into the war, leaving many of the CCC’s projects incomplete.

You can learn all about the CCC within the welcome center.

A woman hiking at Lake Greenwood State Park.

Go Geocatching

If you understand geocatching, you can find geocatches within Lake Greenwood State Park. We downloaded the Geocatching app, but we have no idea how to geocatch, and one of the catches was off the beaten path (according to the description) and we didn’t want to get lost in the woods.

Instead, we played Pokemon Go, which we are much more familiar with and felt more comfortable with.

Have A Picnic

There are four picnic shelters within the state park that are available for you to enjoy for free, as long as they’re not reserved.

A reservation is $35 to $44 per day and admission to the park is not included with a picnic shelter reservation.

A sign at the entrance of Lake Greenwood State Park.

Lake Greenwood State Park: Frequently Asked Questions


302 State Park Rd; Ninety Six, SC

If you’re putting the state park into your GPS, make sure you choose the Ninety Six, SC address. There is an address on the GPS in Greenwood, SC, but that will lead you to the aforementioned offshoot section of the state park, not the main area.


Daily, from dawn to dusk

The office is open from 9 am to 5 pm daily (extended to 8 pm on Friday and Saturday during Daylight Savings Time)


Admission is $3 for adults (16 and over), $1.50 for seniors who are South Carolina residents, and $1 for children ages 6 to 15. Children 5 and under are free.

Can you camp at Lake Greenwood State Park?

Lake Greenwood State Park allows for tent and RV camping. There are also cabins and primitive camping accommodations available.

You can make your reservations online here.

Does Lake Greenwood State park have WiFi?

There is WiFi at the welcome center, but it doesn’t extend into the hiking trails or the campground areas.

The Drummond Center, which can be rented for weddings and other events, does have WiFi.

Break on the Lake restaurant in Greenwood, SC.

Break On The Lake Restaurant:

Break On The Lake (300 Lake Greenwood Boulevard; Greenwood) is a restaurant on Lake Greenwood with a gorgeous outdoor area where you can sit and watch the boats pass by. If you have a boat, you can park it at the restaurant’s pier and head inside for lunch.

I bring this restaurant up in this post to help save you a little headache.

We read something online which implied that Break On The Lake was situated within Lake Greenwood State Park. It’s not. It’s about a 20 or so minute drive from the main entrance to Lake Greenwood State Park.

We did end up eating at Break On The Lake (and my mom got to try hamburger steak, which is on almost all the restaurant menus in the Old 96 District), but our lunch there wasn’t as convenient as we expected. We thought we could hike the trails at the state park, then walk over to the restaurant within the park.

So, to save you the headache (and driving back and forth) that we went through, I wanted to bring this up.

The outside of The Belmont Inn By OYO in Abbeville, SC.

Where to stay near Lake Greenwood State Park:

If you don’t want to camp in Lake Greenwood State Park, but you do want to stay in a hotel in the area, we found a few for you:

McGowan-Barksdale-Bundy House in Abbeville, SC.

Things To Do Near Lake Greenwood State Park:

If you’re staying in the area for a while and you’re looking for other things to do near Lake Greenwood State Park, check out the following options:

Smoky Mountains State Park.

More Free Fun At Parks:

State and National Parks are great places to find free things to do on your trips. If you’re inspired by this post, be sure to check out our post with Free Fun In The Smoky Mountains (which is a National Park).

Which of these Free Things To Do In Lake Greenwood State Park is most interesting to you?