Frequently Asked Questions Before Moving to Lake Keowee

We get asked a lot of questions about Lake Keowee by people who are interested in purchasing luxury homes. Here in the northwest corner of South Carolina, locally known as The Upstate, this is a spot that’s easy to miss on a map—but impossible to forget once you’ve visited.

Today, we’re going to break down what makes Lake Keowee a destination worth checking out (especially the local real estate market!)—everything from its depth, to the local wildlife, to the dining options. Without further ado, here are some of the most frequently asked questions people ask before moving to Lake Keowee:

Where is Lake Keowee?

Lake Keowee is located in Oconee County, South Carolina. It’s just about 8 miles north of the town of Seneca, which makes it pretty convenient for quick trips to the lake.

Clemson University—a local landmark in itself—is approximately 16 miles east of the lake, which is why it’s a popular spot for college students and faculty looking for relaxation and recreation.

This proximity to both a college town and a quiet, sprawling residential area gives Lake Keowee a unique appeal, as it offers both activities and peaceful retreats within a short distance.

How Big Is Lake Keowee?

This lake isn’t just a pond in your backyard! Lake Keowee covers an impressive area of over 18,500 acres.

To put that in perspective, that’s about 28.9 square miles of water surface. It’s a sizable lake, offering plenty of space for boating, fishing, and other water sports.

A picture of Frequently Asked Questions Before Moving to Lake Keowee with The Cason Group

This makes it one of the larger recreational bodies of water in the region, along with Lake Hartwell, providing ample room for both relaxation and adventure activities.

Can you swim in the lake?

Yes, you can definitely swim in Lake Keowee. The lake is known for its clear and clean water, which makes it an ideal spot for swimming, especially during the warm months.

Many local residents and visitors head to Lake Keowee to enjoy the water, whether they’re looking for a leisurely swim or an invigorating dive into the lake. It’s a popular activity here, and the water’s clear and refreshing—perfect for a summer dip.

Where are the best places to fish on the lake?

The best fishing spots on Lake Keowee are often found in the northern sections of the lake, particularly around the area near Keowee-Toxaway State Park. This part of the lake is favored for its deeper and cooler waters, which are ideal for supporting a healthy fish population. Fishermen commonly catch bass, crappie, and trout here—to name but a few.

Additionally, the waters around the Fall Creek Landing area are also well-known for good catches, offering both shoreline and boat fishing opportunities. These spots are popular not only for their abundance of fish but also for the less crowded fishing conditions.

Are there alligators in the lake?

Sightings of alligators in Lake Keowee are quite rare, and when spottings do happen they are generally years apart. The lake is in an Upstate region that is generally too cool and too far north in South Carolina for alligators to thrive.

This makes swimming and other water activities safer and less worrisome regarding potential encounters with these reptiles, which are more common in the lower, warmer parts of the state. It’s too far north for those guys!

Can you live on Lake Keowee?

You can live on Lake Keowee, yes. There are plenty of lakefront properties and communities around the lake.

The lake is surrounded by various residential developments that offer a range of living options, from single-family homes, to condos and townhouses, to high-end luxury estates for sale—often with scenic views of the water and the Blue Ridge mountains. These communities often come with amenities like docks, boat ramps, and community pools.

A picture of Frequently Asked Questions Before Moving to Lake Keowee with The Cason Group

It’s important to note that the availability of real estate varies, though there are opportunities to buy homes for both year-round living and seasonal stays.

Are you allowed to live on a houseboat on the lake?

Living on a houseboat on Lake Keowee is not permitted. The regulations governing Lake Keowee emphasize preserving the natural beauty of the shoreline and maintaining the cleanliness of the water.

These rules are in place to prevent long-term residential mooring, which could impact the ecological balance and aesthetic value of the lake. Instead, the lake is managed to support recreational uses and waterfront property developments while keeping the environment protected.

Are there any resorts or vacation rentals near Lake Keowee?

For those specifically seeking resort-style accommodations for shorter stays, the area around Lake Keowee might have more limited options directly labeled as “resorts.” Instead, visitors often opt for vacation rentals, cabins, and nearby hotels that offer access to lake activities and scenic views.

Options range from rustic cabins that offer more quaint, secluded escapes to opulent homes equipped with modern amenities like hot tubs, private docks, and spacious decks overlooking the lake.

Local communities like The Reserve at Lake Keowee are quite resort-like, offering a range of amenities such as a golf course, marina, and dining options. Another notable local community is Keowee Key, which provides not only high-end homes for sale but also recreational facilities including tennis courts, fitness centers, and swimming pools. These luxurious residential communities cater to those looking for a more upscale stay by the lake, providing both relaxation and recreational activities in resort-like settings.

What wildlife can be found around Lake Keowee?

In the forests surrounding the lake, you might spot deer and foxes, which are common in this region. The lake itself is home to an array of fish species, including largemouth bass, spotted bass, crappie, trout, and catfish.

Bird watchers can enjoy sightings of various bird species such as herons, eagles, and ospreys that frequent the area, often seen soaring above or fishing in the lake.

The biodiversity around Lake Keowee is truly impressive, extending beyond these large fauna to include a wide range of smaller animals and insects, each playing their critical role in the local ecosystem.

Squirrels are often seen darting through the trees and along the ground, foraging for nuts and seeds. Raccoons are another common sight around here, especially at dusk as they search for food along the lake’s edge and nearby areas. Butterflies add a touch of color and grace to the landscape, with various species fluttering among the wildflowers and vegetation. These insects are not only beautiful to observe but are also important pollinators within the ecosystem.

Alongside these, you might encounter numerous other small critters like chipmunks, various types of frogs, and an array of insects such as dragonflies and beetles, each contributing to the dynamic and interconnected web of life that thrives around Lake Keowee.

How deep is Lake Keowee?

Lake Keowee is known for its considerable depth, with some areas reaching depths of about 297 feet. This of course varies across different parts of the lake, with the deepest points typically found near the dam.

The substantial depth of Lake Keowee contributes to its cooler water temperatures, which can be particularly refreshing during the summer months. For swimmers, the varied depths around the lake’s numerous coves and near the shoreline offer safer, more accessible areas.

A picture of Frequently Asked Questions Before Moving to Lake Keowee with The Cason Group

These deeper waters also create an ideal environment for various aquatic species, supporting a healthy ecosystem beneath the lake’s surface—a point of interest for anglers seeking deeper water fish species like trout and bass.

What are the average water temperatures in Lake Keowee throughout the year?

In the summer, water temperatures can reach up to the 80s (Fahrenheit), while in the winter, they can drop down into the 50s.

Here’s a more detailed breakdown of the average water temperatures:

  • Winter: In the coldest months, from December through February, the water temperature can drop to the low 50s or even high 40s Fahrenheit, which is quite chilly and generally less ideal for swimming but still great for fishing.
  • Spring: Starting in March and going into May, the water temperatures start to warm up again, moving from the 50s back up into the 60s and 70s, as the air temperatures increase and days lengthen.
  • Summer: During the hottest months, from June through August, the water temperature in Lake Keowee can rise into the mid to high 80s Fahrenheit. These warmer temperatures make it a favorite time for swimming, boating, and other water sports.
  • Fall: As the weather begins to cool in September through November, the water temperatures gradually decrease, typically ranging from the high 70s in early fall to the low 60s by late fall.

What is the history of Lake Keowee?

Lake Keowee has a relatively modern history intertwined with its role in energy production, but its surroundings are steeped in much deeper historical roots. The lake itself was created in the early 1970s by Duke Energy as part of a hydroelectric project. The creation of Lake Keowee involved flooding more than 18,500 acres to provide a source of power and water for the region, particularly to support the Oconee Nuclear Station.

Before it was a lake, the area was home to several Native American tribes, most notably the Cherokee. These lands were vital hunting and fishing grounds for the tribes and held significant cultural importance.

As European settlers moved into the region, the area continued to play a significant role in the local economy and development. The transformation into Lake Keowee as we know it today has changed the landscape dramatically, but efforts are made to preserve and respect the historical significance of the land.

A picture of Frequently Asked Questions Before Moving to Lake Keowee with The Cason Group

Today, Lake Keowee not only serves as a recreational hub but also as a reminder of our area’s layered history, from Native American heritage to contemporary developments.

Are there any annual events or festivals held at Lake Keowee?

The lake hosts several events, including fishing tournaments and seasonal festivals. It’s a community hotspot, especially during the warmer months.

  • One of the standout events is the Seneca Rotary Poker Run. Held annually, this event combines boating and poker for a cause, as participants travel by boat to different checkpoints around the lake, collecting poker cards to complete a hand. It’s a fun day on the water that also raises funds for charity.
  • The Lake Keowee Fishing Tournament is a popular event for anglers. This tournament draws participants keen on fishing the lake’s diverse species, making it a highlight for the local fishing community
  • During the holiday season, the Christmas Boat Parade on Lake Keowee is a festive highlight. Residents decorate their boats with lights and holiday decor and parade them around the lake, followed by a community gathering with hot cocoa and holiday treats.

This isn’t every event, of course—the area around Lake Keowee includes multiple seasonal festivals and gatherings, which often feature local food, music, and arts, providing entertainment and cultural experiences for both residents and visitors.​

What are the water quality conditions like in Lake Keowee?

The excellent water quality in Lake Keowee is largely due to the combined efforts of local residents, environmental agencies, and Duke Energy, all of whom play an active role in its preservation. Regular water quality checks measure various parameters, including water clarity, pollution levels, and biological health, which are critical for maintaining the lake’s ecosystem.

Local community-driven initiatives are critical in preventing pollution and promoting the overall health of the lake. The ongoing commitment to water quality helps preserve the natural beauty and recreational value of our lake.

Are there any public beaches on Lake Keowee?

Yes, there are public beaches, including a popular one in Seneca at South Cove County Park. It’s a great spot to bring the family.

High Falls County Park is another notable location on Lake Keowee that offers public beach access. Like South Cove, High Falls provides visitors with picnic tables, a swimming area, and other recreational facilities, making it another family-friendly option for enjoying Lake Keowee’s natural beauty and refreshing waters.

While these are two of the most well-known public spots on Lake Keowee, they aren’t the only ones. Here are a few more public access points and beaches you might find useful:

  • Devils Fork State Park: Located at the northern end of Lake Keowee, this park offers a small, but scenic, beach area along with hiking trails and fishing spots.
  • Keowee-Toxaway State Natural Area: This area includes some designated swimming spots and is known for its pristine views and natural beauty, though it has fewer facilities compared to the parks.

What is the closest town to Lake Keowee?

The closest town is Seneca, offering convenient access to shops, restaurants, and local services. It’s close enough that no matter where you live on Lake Keowee, you can pop over there for groceries, a bite to eat, or any other errands without much hassle.

Besides Seneca, other close towns to Lake Keowee include:

  • Clemson: About 16 miles east, known for its lively college town atmosphere and Clemson University events.
  • Walhalla: Approximately 14 miles west, offers a quaint downtown with local shops and dining.
  • Pickens: Around 20 miles northeast, features historic sites and a quieter, small-town vibe.
  • Anderson: Roughly 25 miles southeast, larger than Seneca with more diverse shopping, dining, and entertainment options.

What are some restaurants or dining options near Lake Keowee?

Nearby Seneca has some great eats—check out:

The Lighthouse Restaurant at 1290 Doug Hollow Rd in Seneca, SC for some tasty meals with a view of the lake.

Also, Keowee Brewing Company at 401 E Main St in Seneca is a great bar and grill style restaurant for anyone who likes craft beers and pub food.

Vangeli’s Bistro located at 119 Ram Cat Alley offers some impeccable dishes, including pasta, seafood, and great specials. It’s great for date night or family dinners.

How far is Lake Keowee from Greenville?

Lake Keowee is about 40 miles from Greenville, so you’re looking at roughly a 45-minute drive. It’s close enough for a quick escape from the city hustle, making it a popular spot for folks from Greenville who want to spend a day or weekend by the water (or vice versa for Lake Keowee residents who want to pop over to the city for a bit).

Final Thoughts

As we’ve explored, Lake Keowee’s characteristics  make it ideal for various water sports and fishing, while the surrounding area offers gorgeous nature and numerous events that go perfect with an active lifestyle. The local residents’ commitment to keeping the lake clean helps make sure it will remain a one-of-a-kind destination for homeowners and visitors for generations to come.

A picture of Frequently Asked Questions Before Moving to Lake Keowee with The Cason Group

If you’re considering a move or just curious about what makes this spot so special, Lake Keowee’s combination of natural beauty and modern luxury is hard to beat. It’s not just about finding another house for sale—it’s about discovering a place you can truly call home.