This peaceful state park is rural South Carolina at its best: towering trees draped in Spanish moss surrounding 200-acre Lake Warren, the perfect spot for lazily fishing away an afternoon! Whether you bring a boat and get on the water or prefer to stay on land and enjoy a picnic lakeside instead, Lake Warren State Park is a quiet oasis in southern South Carolina. Let’s check it out!
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Top 5 Know Before you Go Tips for Lake Warren State Park
- FREE admission!
- Boating & Fishing on Lake Warren are the top things to do here, but there are spaces on land for kids to play.
- Polite pets welcome!
- Three short hiking trails, but this isn’t a hiking park.
- Rent out Hampton Hall or a picnic shelter for your group event.
>> The Ultimate Outsider stamp is located at the bulletin board kiosk by the park office, the first parking lot on the left when you enter the park. <<
How to Get to Lake Warren State Park
Lake Warren is a 2 hour drive almost straight south of Columbia, SC or a 2 hour drive nearly straight west of Charleston, SC.
It’s pretty close to the South Carolina-Georgia state line, in the rural pocket between Savannah, Augusta, Columbia, and Charleston. You won’t end up here by accident; it definitely requires an intentional trip!
If you’re working your way through your South Carolina State Parks bucket list, the following are within about an hour’s drive of Lake Warren State Park:
- Battle of Rivers Bridge State Historic Site, 30 minutes
- Colleton State Park, 50 minutes
- Barnwell State Park, 55 minutes
- Givhans Ferry State Park, 1 hour
- Redcliffe Plantation State Historic Site, 1hr 10min
How Much Does It Cost to Visit? Do I Need a Permit?
Free entry to Lake Warren State Park! Doesn’t get any better than that.
A freshwater fishing license is required if you want to fish in Lake Warren or the park pond. Prices vary for a fishing license based on residency. Check the South Carolina DNR website for more details and cost.
Rental fishing boats are available from the park for $25 per day. This includes a trolling motor, life jackets, and paddles.
Four outdoor picnic shelters can be reserved ahead for $42 per day. Price varies by season.
Need an indoor venue with a kitchen? Hampton Hall community center at the back of the property has good views of the lake for as low as $252 per day. Reserve online or call the park if you need hours outside of 9AM to 6PM.
What to do at Lake Warren State Park
This state park is made for lazing the day away while fishing or boating, but it’s also a great space for group gatherings.
Whether you come for the day to fish, to enjoy the outdoors, or to celebrate with a group, here’s what you can expect at Lake Warren State Park.
Boating on Lake Warren
The most obvious thing to do at Lake Warren is get out on the water.
Private boats, kayaks, canoes, and paddleboards are all allowed on the lake. Motors may not exceed 10hp!
If you don’t have your own boat, rent a jon boat for the day from the park for $25 per day! See the park office for details. Available year round.
Boat ramps are located outside of the main park area.
The first is on Lake Warren Road, just past the main entrance after you pass the lake on your left. The other boat ramp is on the other side of the lake, off of Hope Well Road.
A floating boat dock, ideal for paddleboards and canoes, is located at the back of the main park property, near Hampton Hall.
Fish from your own boat, from a rented boat, from the shore, or from one of the many piers.
You also don’t have to stick to just Lake Warren. The park pond (on the left as you enter the park) is another great fishing spot.
Lake Warren is 200 acres of prime Lowcountry freshwater and home to large-mouth bass, brim, redbreast, crappie and catfish, and that’s just the fish.
This forested wetland area also supports all manner of birds and water fowl, typical woodland creatures like raccoons, squirrels, and deer, and usually a few alligators.
Pro Tip: The alligators will rarely bother humans if you give them space and leave them alone. Keep an eye on any pets playing on the shore while you fish.
Reserve a picnic shelter or Hampton Hall and host your next group event at Lake Warren.
Use the open field near the picnic shelters, perfect for kids running around or setting up a pick-up game of soccer, wiffle ball, or corn hole.
This park is rarely busy, and the picnic shelters are first come, first served if not reserved.
If you’re feeling lucky (and you don’t absolutely need electricity for your event), you could check the reservation page and show up early to claim a shelter that has no reservation. But if you set up shop at a shelter that has a reservation, park rangers can and will make you move for the reservation holder.
Playground for the Kids
The playground is near the front of the park, near picnic shelter 3, the restrooms, and the park office.
Alternatively, there’s a large, open field for those kids that just want to get out and run around. Kick a soccer ball, play catch, whatever they want to do!
Lake Warren State Park has three hiking trails, all short and easy. This is definitely not a hiking park, but it is nice to get out of direct sunlight and into the shade of the woods for a while.
Kids will have no problem on these trails, but these are wetlands, so be prepared for muddy shoes!
The Interpretive Trail is the longest at 1.25 miles roundtrip. Park in the first parking lot on the left when you enter the park, near the park office.
This trail explores the woods near the park pond with a few exhibit plaques along the way for reference and a nice pond overlook on the other side.
The 0.4 mile loop Fit Trail starts in about the same place as the Interpretive Trail and provides ten fitness stations with different exercises to try at each.
The last trail is a very short 0.30 mile loop Nature Trail, which essentially connects Hampton Hall to the playground, with a boardwalk section through a swampy area, showcasing the Lowcountry’s most plentiful habitat.
Birding & Photography
Several piers stretch out into Lake Warren for both fishing and good views. Birding is another popular pastime here.
Bald eagles and osprey have been known to stop here, as well as owls, hawks, heron, egrets, and plenty of other species.
The gazebo at the end of the first pier is the most popular spot for photography in the park, but wildlife photography is also pretty good here.
Fewer visitors means the wildlife feels more comfortable. Bring a zoom lens, and you’ll see plenty!
Can you Camp at Lake Warren State Park?
Technically, yes. There is a group primitive camping site at the back of the park, but individuals can opt to camp here if there are no groups scheduled.
It’s $22 per night, but you can’t book it online. Call the park office up to two weeks ahead.
Note that this is very primitive camping. It has potable water, but that’s about it.
The closest restrooms are the day-use restrooms at the front of the park, about 900 yards from the camping sites. There are no showers.
Enjoy Visiting Lake Warren State Park!
If you love being on the water and/or fishing, you’ll love Lake Warren State Park! It’s the perfect peaceful day away from it all.
If you enjoyed this park, here are more state parks with similar activities:
- Colleton State Park, tiny but mighty, with RV camping and the beginning of the Edisto River Kayak Trail
- Givhans Ferry State Park, fishing, kayaking, or tubing down the Edisto River
- Santee State Park, water activities galore on Lake Marion