Head for the hills

Mix mountain state parks with music for sweet summer fun

June 11, 2014 

June is an especially sweet time to get away to South Carolina’s mountain state parks.

The air still cools enough at night to comfortably sit around a campfire or lantern, but days are warm enough for playing in the small lakes at Oconee and Table Rock, the big lakes at Devils Fork and Keowee-Toxaway and the creeks and waterfalls in Jones Gap or Caesars Head.

And this weekend, there’s the bonus of music at Oconee and Table Rock.

Every Friday night in the summer, locals and park visitors gather in the Old Barn at Oconee State Park for an evening of square dancing. The Dixie Blue Grass Boys provide the music, and everybody else provides the real entertainment – the dancing. It runs from 8-10 p.m. and is well worth the entry fee of $2 for adults and $1 for ages 12 and younger.

At Table Rock, you’re more likely to be toe tapping and foot stomping Saturday during the free Music on the Mountain bluegrass jam session 2-6 p.m. Local pickers gather once a month (usually the second Saturday) for impromptu jams in the Table Rock Lodge.

If you can play, pack your own instrument. You need to bring your own chair, too, if you plan to stick around for the entire four hours. Snacks and drinks are available.

To get the full experience at mountain state parks, you need to spend the night. Camping is available at each of the parks mentioned above, though it ranges from primitive trail-side sites at Caesars Head to large camping areas with facilities at Devils Fork, Oconee and Table Rock. Cabins are available at Devils Fork, Keowee-Toxaway, Oconee and Table Rock, but they often are reserved months ahead of time in the summer.

For details or reservations, go to southcarolinaparks.com.

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