Warmer days are here, and we’ve got that school’s-out-for-the-summer feeling. When planning your getaway to heart of SC, make time for these must-dos for rollicking summer escape.

Go With the Flow

Whether you want to leisurely float on tube or rent a kayak for an adventurous afternoon on one of our three rivers that converge right downtown, you have plenty of options to choose from to experience our waterways. Local outfitters like Palmetto Outdoor offer guided paddle trips as well as kayaks, canoes, or tubes for rent.

Lake Murray

Relax on the beach or play in the pristine waters at Lake MurrayDreher Island State Park, also located on Lake Murray, is a shaded area with plenty of locations to get your feet wet. If you're looking for the view and not a splash, you can be the captain of your own boat by renting one from Better Boat Rental or Aqua Fun Boat Rentals and Tours.


A trip to the capital city would be remiss without checking out our world-class attractions. For the art lovers, head to Columbia Museum of Art for their vibrant permanent and changing exhibits. For the history buffs, the South Carolina State Museum offers four museums in one – art, history, natural history, and science and technology. One of the top ten zoos in the nation, Riverbanks Zoo & Garden is also a must-see while you’re in the heart of SC. If you’re traveling with children, you’ll want to stop by EdVenture Children’s Museum, home to Eddie, the world’s largest 10-year old. The kids will have a blast climbing up Eddie’s vertebrae and sliding down his digestive tract exploring all 40-feet and 35,000 pounds of this prototypical South Carolina child with the smile that’s three feet wide.


Going from boutique to boutique is a cool way to explore the city and treat yourself to some souvenirs. Stroll the tree-lined Devine Street for nearly a mile of shady boutique shopping, or head to Five Points, with stores such as Revente and Papa Jazz Record Shoppe with plenty of shops around. Get outfitted by national brands like Anthropologie, J. Crew, and lululemon, or shop for unique finds from boutiques like Fab'rik at Trenholm Plaza in Forest Acres.

Cool Brews

What better way to beat the heat than with a self-guided brewery tour? Check out local favorites like Columbia Craft in the Vista and Steel Hands Brewing in Cayce. Nearby is Savage Craft Ale Works in West Columbia. You’ll love their selection of craft beers and sours, and not to mention, the roof top bar with a glorious view of the city skyline.

Newer to the scene is Peak Drift Brewing Company. At Peak Drift, they aim to highlight life's most memorable moments by presenting a selection of premium craft beers, hard seltzers, and non-alcoholic beverages that draw inspiration from the scenic landscapes of the Southeast region.

Congaree National Park

A visit to Columbia isn’t complete with a trip to Congaree National Park. Drive away from the buzz of the city to South Carolina’s only national park with the largest intact expanse of old-growth bottomland hardwood forest remaining in the Southeastern United States. Whether you stroll the 2.4-mile Boardwalk loop or decide to take on the 25 miles worth of marked trails, be sure to take a moment and look up at some of the tallest trees in Eastern North America and keep an eye out for the woodland creatures that call Congaree home.