Is the weather warming up? Don’t sweat it - we’ve got the lowdown on how to stay cool in our signature Southern heat.

Lake Murray

Boasting 600 miles of shoreline, the “Jewel of South Carolina” is Columbia’s major destination for water recreation. The Lexington side of the dam boasts a sandy beach perfect for swimming, while the Irmo side offers ideal spots for picnics and paddling. A convenient launch pad, just inches below the water's surface, allows for easy access to stand-up paddle boarding or kayaking without the risk of tipping over. Rent a boat, go fishing, take a dip and even do some paddleboard yoga! Ample parking is available in both areas, and the scenic walk across the dam between them adds to the experience. This vast waterway is also home to the first officially designated Purple Martin sanctuary, as they migrate by the millions each summer and come to roost on Doolittle Island.

For additional information about boating, fishing and other lake activities, visit our Lake Murray page.


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Saluda, Broad and Congaree Rivers

Kayak, canoe or tube down the cool waters of our rivers with the Columbia skyline as your backdrop. You’ll pass beneath shady trees and historic bridges as you go with the natural flow of the water. You may even spot a bald eagle along the way! Looking to rent a kayak, canoe or tube? Check out Palmetto Outdoors to book your trip or go with the flow and pay at the counter.


A little float party in #RealColumbiaSC. | (📷: @oliviancooley)

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Splash Pads

For a more low key way to beat the heat, sprinkle off at one of Columbia SC’s kid-friendly splash pads.

Drew Park Splash Pad and Fountain: one of the largest splash pads in the Columbia area with multiple sprayers and fountains for the kiddos to enjoy.

Saluda Shoals Park: Always a hit, the splash pad at Saluda Shoals Park opens for the season in late April and stays open through the end of September. The interactive, zero-depth water playground will keep both kids and parents cool and entertained.

Sesquicentennial State Park: A new addition to the park last year, the Sesqui splash pad has 26 sprayers, including one that shoots up to 10 ft. high.

Waterfall Junction at Riverbanks Zoo and Garden: This 3-acre interactive children’s garden at Riverbanks Zoo opened last summer and includes a splash pad complete with 25 ft. waterfall. 


Splash pad #dadlife

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Looking for more fun things to do in #RealColumbiaSC? Check out our website