Tugaloo State Park wasn’t originally part of my travel plans. I had hoped to travel south of I-85, hitting several other small towns. But, the day was slipping by, it was cloudy, and I decided I had just enough time and energy left to explore one more nearby location. Tugaloo just happened to be there, so I decided to check it out.
Tugaloo State Park is located on Lake Hartwell, the body of water that makes up part of the Georgia/South Carolina state line. Take I-85 exit 173, and head north on Ga. Rte. 17. Less than a quarter mile from the interstate, you’ll see a sign for Tugaloo State Park. The entrance to the park is about 5 miles away.
Once inside the park, Lake Hartwell branches out all around you. There’s a large parking lot near the swimming area. During my short visit, I used the “beach” as a starting point, and explored just the areas nearby.
I was most impressed by the red clay dirt that stretches down to the shoreline. I’m a Floridian, so I’m used to seeing white, sandy beaches–but I thought the red clay made for a nice change of pace.
Pine trees line the shoreline…
… and provide plenty of space for a shady picnic.
If you must jump into the water for relief from the Georgia heat, this is where you’ll do it. The beach is nothing spectacular, but I imagine it’s packed on sunnier days.
[tmt_info =””]The name “Tugaloo” is what the local Native Americans called the river that once cut through this area. Now, the river has been dammed, forming Lake Hartwell.[/tmt_info]
[tmt_info =””]The Georgia State Parks website provides more information on the amenities offered at Tugaloo State Park, including more than a hundred campsites, and 20 cottages, which are available for rent.[/tmt_info]
Note: This trip was first published in 2006.