We get excited when people ask us what there is to do outdoors in Columbia, SC. Being a metropolitan city, we have the best of both worlds. Just minutes from downtown, you'll find South Carolina's only national park, two South Carolina State Parks and a State Forest. Weaving throughout the Midlands and these parks are three rivers: the Congaree, the Saluda and the Broad. From biking trails, campsites, riverfront parks and a lake, there's no question why Columbia, SC is The New Adventure Hot Spot. 

Congaree National Park
Lace up your tennis shoes and hit the trails at South Carolina's only national park, Congaree National Park. If you call ahead of time, you can reserve a free, guided canoe tour of the swamp. The park also offers primitive campsites, an elevated boardwalk in addition to other hiking trails, special park events and some of the tallest trees in Eastern North America. (Note: Call to check park conditions and water levels before visiting.)

Dreher Island State Park
State parks and more
Sesquicentennial State Park 
sits in the middle of the Sandhills region and Dreher Island State Park is conveniently located on the Lake Murray shore. Put in your kayak or canoe, or take advantage of the 18-mile bicycling trails at Harbison State Forest. In Lexington, hike around Peachtree rock (a geological wonder!) at the Peachtree Rock Heritage Preserve.

River side parks
Go for a jog by the river on the West Columbia Riverwalk or at Cayce Riverwalk Park. Pack a picnic and enjoy Riverfront Park and its 2.5 miles of riverfront trails.

Three rivers and a lake
Perfect for kayaking, boating, swimming and sailing, take a dip in Lake Murray escape some of our famously hot summertime heat. Launch your kayak at Saluda Shoals Park for an easy coast down the Saluda river, and enjoy the parks miles of walking/biking trails as well as the water zone, Saluda Splash.

Outfitters like Get your Gear On and Adventure Carolina offer weekly, guided canoe and kayak river trips for those unfamiliar with the river. If you know the way the river flows, just rent your equipment from River Runner, and go!

For a more exciting adventure, spend the day on the Lake with a jet ski from Fifty-Fifty Watersports, or rent a boat for the whole family from Lake Murray Boat Rentals. Learn to sail with Lanier Sailing Academy. Or, tone it back down with a dinner cruise from the Spirit of Lake Murray.

With the City of Columbia's new bike racks throughout the city, it's a lot easier to pedal around town. Head to Outspokin' or Cycle Center to rent a road bike, cruiser or trail bike and take it to the streets or to a park. 

Outdoor outfitters
If you're going to explore the outdoors, you need to look the part. Half-Moon Outfitters on Devine Street, Mast General Store on Main Street or Backpacker to find all you need in outdoor gear.

For more outdoor events and activities, browse our calendar and things to do outdoors in Columbia, SC or find them pinned to our Columbia Outdoors board on Pinterest

What's your favorite thing to do outdoor in Columbia, SC? Leave a comment or drop us a line on Facebook or Twitter and let us know.

Read more about Columbia's hot spots. Drop us a line on Facebook or Twitter with any questions, or share photos with us about how you're experiencing Columbia, SC each day.