Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in Seneca, SC

  • Published 2022/07/31

People often regard Seneca as one of the best places to retire in South Carolina.

The city of Seneca boasts many attractions, historic sites, and exciting events that attract thousands of tourists every year.

The largest city in Oconee County borrows its name from the Cherokee village of Esseneca.

The Cherokee established Esseneca along the banks of the neighboring Seneca River during the colonial period.

Like many American cities, Seneca started from the rapid expansion of railroad networks across the U.S. in the late 1800s.

During Reconstruction, Seneca also became the trading and distribution hub for the cotton industry in the region.

The completion of three major dams resulted in the creation of lakes Keowee, Hartwell, and Jocassee in the 1960s and ’70s.

These lakes led to the transformation of Seneca into a famous resort town, which remains true today.

The city offers a vast selection of recreational sights and activities.

Here are the best things to do in Seneca, South Carolina, including some notable attractions near the city.

Go for a Lake Adventure with Lake Keowee Marina

A kayaker on Lake Keowee

Patrick Jennings /

As Lake Keowee’s biggest full-service marina, Lake Keowee Marina offers a vast fleet of vessels of different types and sizes to suit your preferences.

The marina is just a short drive from the heart of Seneca.

You can easily stock up on the supplies needed for your boating trip.

From simple paddleboards, kayaks, or canoes up to bigger pontoons that can take families and friends, Lake Keowee gives you several options.

The marina ensures that all its vessels are in the best condition for a seamless and safe boating experience.

Going for a lake adventure ranks among the best things to do in Seneca.

Lake Keowee Marina guarantees a fun and unforgettable experience.

Go Camping at South Cove County Park

South Cove County Park is one of the outdoor attractions nearest to the city.

The 48-acre South Cove County Park sits between the Blue Ridge Mountains foothills and Lake Keowee’s pristine waters.

The park offers 86 campsites, 46 of which offer breath-taking waterfront views of Lake Keowee.

To add to a more comfortable camping experience, each campsite has access to electricity and running water.

Other activities you can enjoy at the South Cove County Park include fishing at the handicapped-accessible pier, boating, and water skiing.

South Cove County Park also offers several basketballs, tennis courts, a playground, and picnic areas.

However, if you want to relax and appreciate Lake Keowee’s beauty, you can sunbathe at the park’s sandy beach.

Go Putting at the Oasis Ranch

Whether you want to hone your putting skills or have a great time with family and friends, visit the Oasis Ranch.

The 18-hole mini golf course sits amid artificial waterfalls cascading onto beautiful fantasy-inspired structures, crystal-clear koi ponds, and a refreshing botanical garden.

After a tiring round of mini golf, you can relax at the botanical gardens or enjoy looking at the koi ponds.

You will enjoy the sight of colorful and majestic koi fish.

However, the best part is that you can also feed them.

With all these lovely features and a dream-like atmosphere, the Oasis Ranch ranks as one of the best family leisure places in Seneca.

Enjoy Outdoor Sports at Shaver Recreation Complex

The Shaver Recreation Complex offers a broad playing field purposely built for outdoor sports.

For example, you can play baseball and soccer, follow a walking trail, and bring your kids to the playground.

You can also play hoops at the site’s indoor basketball court.

Shaver Recreation Complex also boasts an 18-hole Frisbee golf course which offers a variety of elevations for players of all levels.

The complex also has a climbing wall, perfect for those who want some extra physical challenge.

Whether you want to break a sweat with outdoor sports or wander along a walking trail, you can always find the ideal activity at Shaver Recreation Complex.

Learn Colorful Black History at Bertha Lee Strickland Cultural Museum

Showcasing the proud history of Seneca’s African-American community, the Bertha Lee Strickland Cultural Museum is a must-visit for history buffs.

Check out the various memorabilia, works, and artifacts from notable Black residents throughout Seneca’s history.

The museum offers a combination of traditional and modern methods to provide a more immersive learning experience.

The museum also hosts lectures and interactive activities.

Gain a deeper understanding of the city’s black culture and deep connection to Seneca’s history.

As one of Seneca’s most important historical and cultural sites, the Bertha Lee Strickland Cultural Museum should be on every visitor’s itinerary.

Get a Glimpse of Seneca’s Past at the Lunney Museum

Exterior of The Lunney Museum

KudzuVine, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

The Lunney Museum is on the National Register of Historic Places.

You can find it inside the house of William John Lunney.

William and his wife, Lillian, were some of Seneca’s earliest settlers.

The museum houses many of Lunney’s original furniture and fixtures dating back from the early 1900s.

The museum also contains many carefully preserved memorabilia, such as photos, postcards, and letters, among other exciting keepsakes.

The Lunney Museum is a prime example of late 19th century to early 20thcentury American residential architecture.

Likewise, the museum is a must-visit if you want to experience American life and history from the perspective of an individual family.

Discover Local Works of Art at Blue Ridge Arts Center

Along with its rich culture and colorful history, Seneca also boasts a thriving art scene.

You can see these works of art inside the Blue Ridge Arts Center.

Likewise, the center is inside the oldest church structure in the city.

It is a few blocks away from Seneca’s other culturally important sites, such as the Bertha Lee Strickland Cultural Museum and the Lunney Museum.

Check out works from local Seneca artists in the center.

These works comprise a wide range of art styles from classical and modern to contemporary art.

As a cultural institution, the Blue Ridge Arts Center also holds art classes and demonstrations for newbie or experienced artists.

Test Your Aim at Timber Ridge Axe Throwing

Nothing screams the great outdoors than some good ol’ timber axes and some wood to chop.

The Timber Ridge Axe Throwing wants you to experience this feeling.

Channel your inner lumberjack with this fun and unique activity, ax throwing!

You don’t have to worry about safety as the staff will guide you on how to throw the axes properly.

Barriers and other safety precautions also protect guests from errant axes.

Even children can join the fun of ax throwing as the facility also has smaller-sized throw axes for younger enthusiasts.

Timber Ridge Axe Throwing is a popular hangout place for families and friends who want to experience the fun and thrill of ax throwing.

Challenge Your Wits at the Escape Quest

At the heart of the city lies a popular destination that challenges people’s puzzle-solving and analytical skills like a real-life detective.

The Escape Quest lets people channel their inner Sherlock Holmes or Nancy Drew.

Examine each clue and puzzle to uncover the mysteries from one room to another.

The Escape Quest has different rooms and themes with distinct puzzles and mechanics, adding more reasons for you to come back.

Bring your family or friends to this place to enjoy the experience fully.

These challenges are tricky but you can do it while having fun with your companions.

The Escape Quest’s pleasant blend of intriguing atmosphere and clever puzzles create an immersive and highly-rewarding experience.

Hone Your Putting at Oconee Country Club

Situated on the outskirts of Seneca, the Oconee Country Club is a semi-private golf club that caters to both avid and casual golf enthusiasts.

The course is short compared to modern courses, yet it still gives a nice little challenge even for seasoned golfers.

One of the course’s main features is its Diamond Zoysia greens, which guarantee a smooth roll.

Even complete beginners will enjoy themselves because the Oconee Country Club offers lessons from a PGA pro.

The club also has two practice greens and practice range.

The scenic views, beginner-friendly facilities, and challenging course make Oconee Country Club one of the best golf courses in Seneca.

Hunt for Antiques at M. Tannery & Sons

The M. Tannery & Sons is Seneca’s go-to spot not only for new home furnishings and décor but also for antiques and vintage items.

With its rustic charm and local feel, M. Tannery & Sons is a quintessential example of an American brick-and-mortar store.

You can spend hours browsing its wide selection of antiques, wondering about each item’s history.

Check out Seneca’s craftsmanship in the locally-made crafts sold at M. Tannery & Sons.

Whether you are a collector or want something to remind you of Seneca, pick up something memorable at M. Tannery & Sons.

Commune with Nature at High Falls County Park

From the heart of Seneca, you’ll have to take a 19-minute drive to the north to reach High Falls, County Park.

It’s still within city limits.

With a total area of 46 acres, the park offers 91 campsites.

Ten of these campsites provide breathtaking views of Lake Keowee.

Each of the park’s campsites also has access to electricity and water, as well as bathrooms, for a hassle-free camping experience.

Other amenities that High Falls County Park offers include picnic areas with grill stations, a dedicated swimming area, and a playground for children.

You can also play at the park’s tennis, basketball, and volleyball courts.

Of course, you can’t miss out on fishing since the park also has a fishing pier.

Whether staying for a day or camping for a night or two, High Falls County Park offers everyone an unforgettable experience with nature.

Explore Unique Sights at Oconee Point Campground

For a one-of-a-kind adventure, the Oconee Point Campground is the place for you.

The campground’s sprawling 70-acre property along Lake Hartwell boasts 70 campsites, with access to water and electricity.

If you’re feeling extra adventurous, you can paddle your way to Cemetery Island, located about a half-mile southeast of Oconee Point Campground.

The historic Cemetery Island exudes an eerie atmosphere thanks to the dozens of graves dating back to the 19th century.

The graves are all that remains of the former Harrisburg Plantation.

During the 1960s, the construction of Lake Hartwell sank the plantation.

However, if you want to relax and enjoy the scenery and peaceful environment, go camping at any of Oconee Point Campground’s campsites.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Explore Lake Issaqueena

Drive for 12 minutes from Seneca to reach the gorgeous Lake Issaqueena.

Besides the water, the most prominent feature of Lake Issaqueena is its dam, built in 1934.

You can go fishing or kayaking in the lake’s clear waters.

If you seek more adventure, you can go hiking along the forested trail.

Unlike many of the nearby recreational areas, Lake Issaqueena offers a mostly undisturbed outdoor experience due to the site’s primary facilities.

Embrace the Outdoor Life at Coneross Campground

The city of Seneca boasts many attractions.

However, you can also explore nearby towns for more.

For instance, you can take a 20-minute drive southeast of Seneca to reach the Coneross Campground in Townville, South Carolina.

Spanning 136 acres, the site offers stunning views of Lake Hartwell.

Those who plan to go camping will have plenty of space to choose from.

The park has 106 camping sites; 94 of them have access to water and electricity.

You can also take a dip into the lake’s clear waters at the park’s two dedicated swimming areas.

Coneross Campground’s amenities and features may not be as robust as the other recreational parks.

However, it’s a small trade-off for an unforgettable camping experience.

Final Thoughts

With its refreshing atmosphere, rich culture, and livable environment, the city of Seneca consistently ranks as one of the best places to retire in South Carolina.

However, don’t wait until retirement to experience the beauty of Seneca!

Whether you prefer to relax along the serene lakeside, or try unique activities, this city always has something to offer everyone.

Book your trip today!

You might find more things to do in Seneca, SC after you arrive.

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