Renting a Boat at Lake Cooley Needs to Be on Your Summer Bucket List

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Would your family like spending time by a beautiful lake in Spartanburg but you’re not sure where to go? Whether you like fishing, kayaking or just somewhere peaceful and relaxing, we’ve got just the place for your family! We have everything you need to know about Lake Cooley, including how to obtain a fishing license, how to rent a kayak and more.

About Lake Cooley

Lake Cooley is a 330 gallon watershed located in Wellford just about 10 minutes north of Wade Hampton road. This hidden gem is home to the Lake Cooley Outdoor Education center. The center is a two-story building that includes a classroom filled with live & mounted wildlife. The ground level houses the rental area of the center.

Lake Cooley in Spartanburg County

Water sports on Lake Cooley

Several different styles of kayaks, canoes, paddle boards and pedal boats are available for rent on a first come first serve basis. The rates start at ten dollars for a two hour rental and are currently available Friday through Sunday. The current rates and hours can be viewed on the park’s website.

If you are fortunate enough to have your own kayak, then you’ll need to purchase a permit decal from SJWD in person during weekday business hours. The office is located on highway 29 in Wellford. The permit is $40, is good through December and is only valid for Lake Cooley.

Our family of four recently spent a day on the lake. My son received a kid size kayak for Christmas and this was his kayaks maiden voyage. He used his kayak and we rented a tandem kayak. It accommodated my husband, our toddler and I. If you are bringing children under 10 and plan to use a rental, you will need to provide a life vest for them to wear they are required the entire time you are on the lake. Also be sure to allow plenty of time to check in, fill out waivers and get fitted for life vests.

Our day on the lake was memorable. Our son took to his kayak like it was second nature and the toddler was surprisingly well behaved. Towards the end of the rental time, she was getting ready to jump off the kayak and go swimming. Which by the way is prohibited.

I like this lake because it seems like the boat traffic is minimal. Most of the lake traffic was kayaks or paddle boards. We did see a few pontoon boats but they were anchored. We were already planning our return trip to the lake before we had left.

Lake Cooley kayaks picnic shelters Spartanburg

Fishing on Lake Cooley

If you are a fishing enthusiast, you’re in luck. There are two fishing piers at the lake and they also offer specialty fishing kayak rentals. Small fish are plentiful around the shore and make the perfect bait for the bass fish that lurk in the lake, just be sure to bring a net. I can’t say I’ve caught one, but the bass have taunted me while swimming past my hook.

A freshwater fishing license can be obtained from the SCDNR website and is only $10. Children do not need a license if with a licensed adult.

Keep an eye on the park’s website for the annual Lake Cooley fish rodeo (this year it was May 11, 2019). It is an annual event and children receive a free fishing pole (while supplies last) & a hot dog lunch. It’s a lot of fun and SCDNR officers are there to help.

Picnic shelters and grills at Lake Cooley

If you pack a picnic or would like to grill at the lake – there are two picnic shelters available and restrooms. Not to worry if you forget snacks or refreshments! The rental area has drinks, bagged snacks and frozen treats for just $1 each.

The New Playground is Open

As if we haven’t already given you enough reason to head to Lake Cooley, the new playground opened this spring. The is a great playground with lake views!

Visit Lake Cooley

I really think this lake has everything you could want, and it’s conveniently close. My hope is that you decide to check Lake Cooley out. I promise you won’t regret a day on the lake with your family.

Lake Cooley
100 Cooley Dock Road, Inman
864.949.1002

Would your family enjoy a day of adventures at Lake Cooley?

About the Author
Melanie is a native New Yorker, who landed in the Upstate by way of Florida. She is the mom to two awesome kids, and the three of them love going on adventures! She enjoys sharing her finds with friends and loves even more that she can share them with Kidding Around readers! She can be found on Instagram @figuringthisoutdotcom

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Hope Curry
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Hope Curry

Is there a swimming area?

Bethany Winston
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No, swimming is prohibited at this lake.

Chris Parham
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Chris Parham

Is the education center free?