Lake Murray

The jewel of South Carolina is none other than Lake Murray, a 50,000-acre manmade lake with 650 miles of shoreline. Known for its striped bass fishing and summer water sports, Lake Murray draws in locals and visitors alike. Rent a canoe, pitch a tent, or take in the public parks. You really can’t not have fun here. 

Boating: If you need to rent a boat, many local outfitters have you covered, like Better Boating or Lanier Sailing Academy. Or, try your hand at some adventure with kayaks, canoes, and paddle boards for a great way to explore the water. If a leisurely ride is more your thing, take a pontoon cruise and check out the homes that line the lake, with unique architecture that ranges from Mediterranean to Tudor styles. Hide out in a cove to sunbathe and enjoy the breeze. On summer evenings, look for the Purple Martins. An estimated flock of more than one million congregate on Bomb Island, creating a spectacle that is not to be missed. 

Dreher Island State Park: Located on 348 acres, Dreher Island State Park spans 12 miles of the Lake Murray shoreline. With lakeside villas and tent/RV camping, the park offers visitors a chance to camp near the water. The park also features hiking trails, three playgrounds, and a healthy dose of animals including white-tailed deer, egrets, and mallard ducks. 

Dreher Shoals Dam Park and Walkway: A popular spot for locals when the weather warms up, this walkway is just 1.7 miles each way, running alongside the dam. The path offers plenty of room for walkers, joggers, and cyclists of all fitness levels, including those that just want to gab with friends while taking in the waterside view. Look for historical markers that explain the history of the Lake Murray islands, which served as bombing ranges during WWII. While you're there, don't miss the love lock gate, mirrored after the famous tradition in Paris. Bonus points for bringing a lock and leaving your mark. When the walking’s over relax on the manmade beach, swim, or have a picnic. Access is $5 and you’re welcome to stay all day, just make sure that you brough enough snacks. 

Liberty on the Lake: Because all that boating and tubing can work up an appetite, dock your vessel at Liberty on the Lake. With more than 48 beers on tap, and an elevated view of the lake, this is among the best places to finish your day. The two-floor restaurant and bar offers a full lunch and dinner menu with sunset happy hour specials. While away a few hours as you watch boats head in and out of the marina and chat with the locals that have grown up on this lake.

Catfish Johnny’s: If all that boating put you in the mood to kick your feet up and enjoy some live music, then you’ll want to motor on over here. You’ll be able to dock, fill up on gas, and grab bites and brews while the sun sets behind you. With happy hour specials daily and fresh seafood plates, you’ll be hanging out like a local.