Dreher Island State Recreation Area
From I-26 westbound: Get off at the Chapin exit in northern Lexington County (Exit 91). Go west on Road 48 for about 2 miles, until you reach US 76 in Chapin. Turn right (northwest) on US 76 for a half mile, until you reach Road 29, St. Peter's Church Road. Here turn left (west), following signs for the state park. At 3.6 miles west of US 76, turn left (southwest) on Road 231, Dreher Island Road. In another 2.4 miles Road 231 crosses an arm of Lake Murray (Camping Creek) and enters Newberry County. The same road continues in Newberry County as Road 15. Go west on Road 15 for 0.6 miles, to Road 571, a turnoff to the left. Follow Road 571 south for about 2 miles to the state park. (This rather complicated route is marked with state park direction signs at every major turn.)
From I-26 eastbound: Leave I-26 at any of the Newberry exits and go west to US 76. Follow US 76 southeast from Newberry to the town of Prosperity, about 5 miles from Newberry. Here turn right (south) on SC 391, which becomes Main Street in Prosperity. In downtown Prosperity, SC 391 turns off to the right, but you should go straight ahead, following the signs for Lake Murray and the state park. Here Main Street becomes Road 26.
Follow Road 26 for about 8 miles, to the intersection with Road 15. Here turn left (following the sign for the state park), and go east on Road 15 for just 0.6 miles, where you will turn right on Road 571, which leads to the state park in about 2 miles.
Birds to look for
Mallard, Lesser Scaup (w), Bufflehead (w), Hooded Merganser (w), Red-breasted Merganser (w), Common Loon (w), Pied-billed Grebe (w), Horned Grebe (w), Double-crested Cormorant, Osprey (s), Bald Eagle, American Coot (w), Spotted Sandpiper (spring, fall), Bonaparte's Gull (w), Ring-billed Gull (w), Herring Gull (w), Caspian Tern (spring, fall), Forster's Tern, Belted Kingfisher, Cliff Swallow (s), American Pipit (w)
Dreher Island State Recreation Area provides excellent access to Lake Murray, a large Piedmont reservoir on the Saluda River. The campground and cabins are very popular. From various spots around the park you have good views of much of the lake. Gulls, loons and grebes are common in winter, found along with a few ducks and other waterbirds. From April through July Cliff Swallows, which breed under nearby bridges, are easily seen. The woodlands of the park can be good for migrant warblers and flycatchers, both in spring and fall.
There is a large late-summer roost of Purple Martins at Lunch Island in Lake Murray. The park occasionally arranges excursions to Lunch Island to see the martins return to the roost in the evening, as do local outfitters and excursion boats. Ask at the office about a visit to Lunch Island.