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Seneca (and Oconee County)

Seneca and Oconee County

Located in the northwestern corner of Upstate SC, Seneca sits at the heart of Oconee County. Home to gorgeous rivers, lakes and forests, it’s known as one of South Carolina’s most scenic areas. Seneca ranks on Thrillist’s list of America’s 20 Greatest Lake Towns thanks to Lake Keowee, a sprawling man-made reservoir that encompasses nearly 29 square miles and 350 miles of shoreline, plus neighboring Lake Jocassee and Lake Hartwell. The Seneca and Oconee County area is also known for its history, particularly Ram Cat Alley, which is lined with gorgeous, traditional buildings from the late 1800s, and excellent hiking thanks to its location in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Facts + Figures

8,340

City Population

76,972

County Population

$41,589

Median Household Income

  • Food Scene
  • Arts + Culture
  • Outdoor Activities
  • Business Climate
  • Education

Food Scene

Whether you’re looking for craft beer, strong coffee, a fancy restaurant or a place to meet up with friends or family, Seneca’s has a spot for you. Voted the Best Bar and Burger in the Upstate area, The Spot on the Alley hosts special events, live music and other nightly entertainment that you’ll want to mark your calendars for. Looking for a sandwich? Sink your teeth into a sandwich that’s sure to please from Ye Olde Sandwich Shoppe , Blue Marble, or Presst. Not in the mood to eat? BREWS on the Alley is proudly Seneca’s first craft beer and coffee experience, offering more than 20 draft beers in addition to canned and bottled beverages. Keowee Brewing Co will open their doors in downtown Seneca in first quarter 2019. Adding to its reputation as a top lake town, Seneca is home to The Lighthouse on Lake Keowee. Whether you choose to arrive by boat or car, The Lighthouse ensures a premier dining and leisure experience. Vangeli’s Bistro, Joe’s New York Pizza, Sole Grill and Sushi Bar, Black’s Smokehouse and Paesano’s are other local favorites that showcase the diversity of cuisines offered in Seneca.

Arts + Culture

The arts and culture scene in Seneca and Oconee County is bolstered by the renowned Ram Cat Alley. Located in downtown Seneca, Ram Cat Alley is known for its locally owned businesses that give the downtown area a vibrant atmosphere worth visiting. Ram Cat Alley also hosts events open to community members and visitors alike. The annual Sip ‘N Stroll is an Art Festival and Wine Tasting event, featuring hand-crafted products and live entertainment. Ram Cat Alley also features live music with “Jazz on the Alley” every Thursday in April through October. You can plan your day in downtown Seneca here. Other cultural attractions include:

Outdoor Activities

Known as the “Golden Corner” of the South Carolina, Oconee County has the beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains and a wonderful climate for outdoor activities. In fact, the Jocassee Gorges region of Oconee County was recognized as a “Destination of a Lifetime” by National Geographic.

With close access to a trio of popular lakes—Lake Keowee, Lake Jocassee and Lake Hartwell—Seneca is a nationally recognized lake town and ranks on Thrillist’s list of America’s 20 Greatest Lake Towns. One of the purest lakes in South Carolina, Lake Keowee is nearly 29 square miles and has over 300 miles of shoreline. The clear water lends itself to outdoor activities like water skiing, tubing, swimming and more. Also located in Oconee County are High Falls and South Cove County Parks that each offer lake-focused activities, including camping, boating and fishing.

Apart from the area’s lake scene, Chau Ram County Park was named Oconee’s “best kept secret,” for its river activities, hiking, waterfalls, camping and picnic areas. The Oconee Station State Historic Site is perfect for avid and beginner campers alike, with 139 standard campsites with electrical service and 15 designated rustic tent sites on 1,165 acres of land.

Business Climate

Seneca and Oconee County possess a diverse business community and talent pool that support 60 industrial related companies, from large energy employers to top manufacturing companies. Situated on the Interstate 85 corridor, Oconee County is the closest South Carolina community to Metro Atlanta and offers easy access to the South Carolina Inland Port. Within the county are a variety of industrial buildings and industrial sites. Thanks in part to its proximity to Clemson University, Oconee County is also home to forward-thinking healthcare companies that are pioneering cutting-edge innovation and forming innovative partnerships. Oconee County’s major employers include:

Education

Oconee County is home to robust higher education and K-12 schooling options. The Oconee County School District is home to more than 15 public K-12 institutions. Seven private schools provide even more options for parents.

Oconee County’s higher education ecosystem includes Tri-County Technical College, which serves Anderson County, Oconee County and Pickens County, and was ranked No. 1 in the South Carolina Technical College System. The college recently opened its Oconee campus in Fall 2018, brining top-notch technical education into the heart of Oconee County. In addition, just up the road is the home of the Tiger faithful, Clemson University. Ranked No. 24 on the nation’s “Most Innovative Schools” from U.S. News, Clemson University’s proximity to Oconee County puts higher education at the fingertips of the area’s residents and students.

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