Club Wyndham Lake Marion
Club Wyndham Lake Marion is in Santee, South Carolina. Santee is somewhere I have stayed near but never actually stayed at a resort in Santee before. So, this should be a fun trip.
Video by Weekend Non-warriors
Day One Travel and Arrival
I live in Virginia, so a trip to South Carolina is an easy day drive for me. Santee is a community that has chosen for its tag line “America’s Value Golf Destination”, which tells you a little of what to expect.
I have just recently begun to play golf a little. I never really caught the bug when I was young. But once I reached a certain age, it felt almost as if I was destined to watch or play, so I chose to play some.
The drive today seemed fast. Likely because once I get onto I95 near the southern border of Virginia, the traffic picks up pace and the speed limit becomes 70MPH so that means traffic is really doing 75 or more the entire way. For a travel speed that is rolling down the road fast.
For me, the trip was only about 5 hours, which seemed like nothing compared to most trips I have taken recently. When it is a short drive to your vacation spot, that just seems to make everything nicer.
The resort itself is right on a major entrance to the lake on the water. A nice spot that has a great view and easy access to the surrounding area. The lake itself is the largest in South Carolina, at over 110,000 acres in size.
- Wi-Fi Internet Access
- Cable TV
Then the resort itself offers all of these options.
- Activities Center
- Boat Launching Ramp
- Fitness Room
- Hot Tub
- Swimming Pool (Heated/Outdoor)
- Internet Access
Once I was set up with my bags in the room, it was time to grab something to eat. I often prefer to eat at local restaurants but today I was hungry and did not want to search around. I had seen a sign for Cracker Barrel so I headed that way for dinner. I like this chain not only for the good service and food but for the menu choices. At the end of the day, much of the menu is comfort food.
I can confess that I also like the little country store and the old candy brands that they carry in the store. As a general rule of thumb, the comfort food is good at places that serve breakfast all day. Not life affirming, or 4-5 star but good.
Day Two: A Round of Golf
There are several golf courses in the area and all offer very affordable rates to play. For today’s game, I was able to find a foursome that needed someone to play along with them at Santee National. Now full discloser I have only played a few times now. I think 4 times so for me to even say I know a true handicap at this point is a bit of a joke. I have years of experience at mini-golf and months of experience driving at Top Flight golf, but I have only played 18 holes now a handful of times.
So far out of those times I have been luck and played 12 over par on average. This means I am not a great player by anyone’s definition. I can, however, fit into groups and play a reasonable game which has been a bit of a blessing to date because no one wants to make fun of themselves.
Santee National is an 18-hole course that is mostly Par 4-5 holes with 4 Par 3 holes spread throughout. You start to play with a long Par 4 on hole 1. 405 Yards long from the black tee. This is a long straight hole with water and a sand trap both to the left of the putting green.
Next at hole 2 you find a 520-yard (black tee) challenge that includes 2 water hazards and 4 sand pits. It is a Par 5 for a good reason. The website provides a good course layout for you here. Most holes even have a video flyover of the hole itself. I think that is a great option to help you choose that this course is the one for you.
More local Golf Course Options
Locally, you will find several other courses including the Lake Marion Course, with great water views. Another is the Santee Cooper Country Club Course. Across the lake, you will find more gold choices with the Wyboo Golf Club, and The Players Course at Wyboo. All seem to be well reviewed courses on Google and other sites that provide feedback for the golf in the area.
I made it through the course with the strangers I was matched with. They were all nice guys, and we chatted a little about business and life. At first, we all avoided political talks until we realized we were fairly well aligned in that regard. Then we laughed about some things, and collectively worried about others. At the end, I came away with a few more casual friends who I would certainly play with again if they needed a 4th.
After golf, I wanted to get some lunch and rest a little afterward. I was in the mood for something different, so I headed for the Santee Thai House 2 for some Thai food. I enjoy authentic Thai food. It is spicy, which I enjoy and it also offers a nice variety of flavors. This was a small local restaurant, and it had a low-cost menu that offered tremendous value. Even for a small town, this is a hole in the wall kind of place. But the service was outstanding, the food was great, and the prices were amazing. I feel like I ate like a king and even with a drink and a tip I think my meal was less than $20, which for me is unheard of these days.
After my meal, it was back to the resort for some rest.
Day 3 on the Lake
I love the water, everywhere I go if there is a local water feature that it where I want to go. Here with one of the largest lakes in the state, I knew I wanted to check out Lake Marion for myself.
Since I do not know the waterway at all, I thought it would be fun to go on a tour with a local captain. It turns out a long-time business in the area is the Fish Eagle Wildlife Tours. This group has a 40ft pontoon boat and offers tours of the lake and area. Since the boat is so large, it is rated for up to 30 passengers. On my little tour there were 2 families, a few couples, and myself. So, there was plenty of room to move around and see what you like.
What was awesome is that they offer a trip right from the resort as well. This was a little over 3 hours, but it was nice not to have to drive anywhere and the trip itself was more than 1 hour longer, which was a nice bonus.
The business has been running these boat tours for nearly a quarter of a century, so you know they have to do a great job to stay in business and successful that long.
Next on my list for the day was lunch, and then after I wanted to check out the state park in the area. For lunch I landed at Clark’s Inn & Restaurant. It was a pleasant surprise and the menu for lunch had nothing on their dinner menu. Lunch was good and the staff and setting were nice as well. I looked at their dinner menu and made a note to come here for dinner in the future. The shrimp and corn chowder were great tasting and hearty. I then had panini and a salad for lunch.
Their homemade pecan pie was something not to miss if you are a true pecan fan like me.
The State Park offers a great deal for locals and visitors. It has room for camping, picknicks, hiking, fishing, and exploring. There are even a number of cabins for rent here, with 10 of them being built over the water. If I wanted to rough it in the area, that might be worth checking into.
With over 10 miles of trails here, there is something to find for everyone at the park. Admission to the state park area is only $3.50 for adults and $1 for kids up to 15. So, like most state parks, it offers a true value.
I spent more than a few hours in the park. For some reason, the area called to me. It was simple and plain, but peaceful as well. The waterfall here was something that I sat down near and just listened to for a long while.
More Great Local Food
For dinner, I went to a local spot called Lone Star BBQ and Mercantile. They offer a true country cooking BBQ loves buffet here. Like many places in the area, they are small and do not even have a website, but they do not need one because there is often a line at the door. Being solo, I was able to grab a 2 top quickly and hit the buffet fast. The BBQ was good, and they offered the South Carolina style sauce, NC Vinegar Sauce, and a more tomato Texas style sauce separately at the table.
The meal here was a good one and again a great value. If you like small towns, golf, and fishing, it is hard to imagine a town with better low-cost food and travel options. Having booked through TZort I feel that this trip was almost free. The meals were less than I would have paid near home, and the Santee is such a close drive I will have to do this again.