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Lake Marion

As the largest lake in South Carolina, Lake Marion's waters reach into five counties and often are referred to as "South Carolina's inland sea." The lake, which is a reservoir that impounds the upper portion of the Santee River, covers nearly 110,600 surface acres and has a 511-mile shoreline.

Santee Cooper, a state-owned electric and water utility company, built this project, which also includes the Pinpolois (Cooper River) Dam that creates Lake Moultrie on the Cooper River. Lakes Marion and Moultrie are connected by a seven and one-half mile diversion canal. The waters from Lake Marion flow into the Santee River below the dam. The river splits to form Cedar Island before it reaches the Atlantic Ocean at Santee Point.


Anglers know Lake Marion for its big fish, and the state record for largemouth bass was set here in 1949 at sixteen-pounds, two-ounces. Other fish that occupy this lake include striped and white bass, white perch, crappie, and catfish of several varieties. This lake also has been consistently stocked with bluegill, largemouth bass, redear sunfish, striped bass, and white bass from 1991 through 2008. The lake also hosts thirteen fish attractors, most located along Lake Marion's eastern shore. These attractors are clearly marked by buoys.


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    Lake Marion South Carolina Coordinates:
33.4539N -80.1639W
Map It:
Lake Type:
Surface Area:
110,600 acres
Maximum Depth:
76 ft
77 ft
Normal Water Clarity:
3 ft
Major City:


Boaters can gain access to Lake Marion through sixteen boat ramps located across Clarendon, Calhoun, Orangeburg, Sumter, and Berkeley Counties. Lake Marion Resort and Marina is the only marina on the lake with a pumpout.


Santee State park sits on Lake Marion's eastern shore, and it offers ten rondette cabins that sit on piers over the lake as well as two campgrounds with a total of 158 sites. Some sites offer space for 40-foot RVs. Manchester State Forest also is available to campers. Two campsites are available in that undeveloped area -- the Poinsett State Park and Mill Creek.

Sumter, located to the northeast of the lake, offers hotels and motels, short-term rentals and B&Bs. Other towns and counties around this lake provide all the above plus additional camping and lodges.

Review the Lake Resource Guide for additional lodging.


Lake Marion extends into Berkeley, Calhoun, Clarendon, Orangeburg, and Sumter Counties in central South Carolina. Located a little over an hour from Columbia, South Carolina, along I-95 and I-26, this lake also is close to towns such as Manning, Santee, and Sumter. I-95 Bridge crosses the lake between St. George and Manning.

Fun times at Lake Marion  Lake Marion

  Lake Marion   Lake Marion

Average Temperatures Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Avg. High  58 Avg. High  62 Avg. High  70 Avg. High  77 Avg. High  84 Avg. High  89 Avg. High  92 Avg. High  90 Avg. High  86 Avg. High  78 Avg. High  69 Avg. High  61
Avg. Low  35 Avg. Low  37 Avg. Low  44 Avg. Low  51 Avg. Low  60 Avg. Low  67 Avg. Low  71 Avg. Low  70 Avg. Low  66 Avg. Low  55 Avg. Low  44 Avg. Low  37