The roads circling Lake Moultrie make for a pleasant day trip. You may even have to return to finish.
The lake is the easternmost one in South Carolina, the closest major lake to the coasth. It’s one I’ve never visited before and on my journey I saw the lake only from Bonneau Beach, but there are other access points along the way.
Like all the lakes in South Carolina, Lake Moultrie is man-made. This was created in the early 1940’s when the Pinopolis Dam built on the Cooper River. It is part of the Santee Cooper projects along with Lake Marion.
The 60,000 acre lake offers fish, wildlife and some pretty massive alligators. One giant beast bit the arm of a man not long ago, so caution is needed when fishing, boating, or swimming although the swimming places look safe.
The roads encircling the lake are SC6, SC45, US52, and US17. You can join them anywhere. I took SC6 from I95 at Santee. This merges with SC45 in Eutawville and I stayed with the 45 as it veered west toward St. Stephens. Along the way watch for Francis Marion’s Burial site and Sandy Beach Wildlife Management Area (WMA). The latter is a nice place to observe wildlife especially water birds. The Palmetto trail passes through here and it’s a short walk from the parking place.
In Pineville sits the picturesque Pineville Chapel (ca. 1810). Another beautiful church can be seen in St. Stephens, the St. Stephens Episcopal Church (1769). Before reaching St. Stephens, I stopped at Canal WMA. Stretch your legs along the path that follows the canal.
I opted not to drive on US52 south from St. Stephens, taking instead Mandler River Road (SC Rd351). It starts/ends right by the St. Stephens church and ends in Bonneau where I took Black Oak Rd to Bonneau Beach. Besides a swimming area, one can launch their boats here.
Other sites to see around Lake Moultrie include the Dennis Wildlife Center (which I did not find, but am assured exists), the Canal Recreation Area, Pinopolis Dam, and Pinopolis and its historic district. There also the town of Moncks Corner, which is home to the Old Santee Canal Park, something I will cover in the next post.
If you want more of the lake, keep watch for the signs advertising the access points like the boat ramps and the access to the Palmetto Trail that travels around the east and northern part of the lake.
How to Get There:
You can get to Lake Moultrie from I95 or I26. All the exits on I26 east of I95 will take you there although some in a more round about way. Exit 199 on I26, the one for Alt US17, will take you to Moncks Corner. As for I95, exit 98 is the best bet, SC6 toward Eutawville.
What’s Near By:
Old Santee Canal Park
Francis Marion NF