Real Experiences, Real Safe
Your comfort level is important to us. Whether you are just dreaming of a weekend escape right now or hoping to venture out safely soon, we have the latest information on Columbia SC safety precautions underway and ideas on how to maximize your travel plans. When you’re ready, activities like a nature walk through a State Park, kayaking, patio dining, or an urban outdoor stroll to take in public art might just be the welcome change of scenery you seek.
FAQs About Travel & Safety in Columbia SC
What does the City of Columbia face covering/mask ordinance mean for me?
To help slow the spread of COVID-19, the City of Columbia is requiring face coverings to be worn by all people over the age of 10 in public spaces when six feet of distance cannot be maintained. If you’re eating or drinking or enjoying a socially distant outdoor activity, no face covering is required. Rule of thumb, wear a face covering or mask whenever you're out and about to protect you and those around you. (Most businesses, restaurants, attractions will require one for entry as well.)
What attractions are currently open?
Most of your favorite attractions, including Riverbanks Zoo & Garden, EdVenture, South Carolina State Museum, Congaree National Park, and Historic Columbia, are open to varying degrees and welcoming visitors. They’re working hard to ensure you feel comfortable during your visit with safety measures such as hand sanitizing stations, reduced occupancy, and mask requirements in place.
Find open attractions with specific safety precautions you’re looking for by using the search filter on our Attractions page. For the latest updates on openings, hours, and guidelines, check the attraction’s website or call ahead before you go.
Have restaurants opened their dining rooms again?
Many restaurants are open for in-person service, and they're ready to pull up a seat for you! They're operating at reduced occupancy with safety precautions in place, such as temperature screenings, single-use menus, and tables socially distanced, to keep you and your loved ones safe.
Not ready to dine inside? Try dining al fresco and search our outdoor dining page to find your perfect spot. If you don't feel quite comfortable venturing out, plenty of restaurants are offering take out and no-contact service options for a no-hassle, delicious experience.
What is there to do at Congaree National Park?
At Congaree National Park, a lot of adventure is to be had.
Go for a short hike along the Boardwalk Trail, if you're looking for a challenge hike along the River Trail and see what wildlife you can spot. Bring your fishing license and pole to cast a line and see what will nibble. Canoe or kayak down Cedar Creek to experience the park from a different point of view. If you're looking to rent one of these small boats, you'll have to do it through a commercial outfitter such as Palmetto Outdoors or Carolina Outdoor Adventures. Keep your eye out for the park's calendar of events, the have park ranger led programs ranging from tours to yoga.
Having so much fun that you don't want to leave? Make a reservation to camp at either of the two frontcountry campgrounds, Longleaf Campground or Bluff Campground.
COLUMBIA MASK ORDINANCES
The majority of the Columbia region has a face covering policy that is required or strongly encouraged. The policies do not apply when eating and drinking, or for outdoor activities. Some areas of the region are governed by different municipalities and may have lifted requirements due to an increase in vaccinated residents. Our region has been open for several months and has experience following safety guidelines while maintaining Southern hospitality for our visitors and locals alike.
South Carolina State House
The South Carolina State House is the seat of state government in South Carolina, home to the Governor’s office and the House and Senate chambers. Stroll the grounds of the state capitol building while maintaining social distance. Have a picnic or pay a visit to the African American Monument, among other structures found on the grounds. State House tours have resumed on a limited basis. Please contact the Tour Office at (803) 734-2430 for more information about the modified schedule. You can also still participate in a self-guided tour and enjoy The South Carolina State House Gift Shop, open 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Monday – Friday, and 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. on most Saturdays.
Columbia Museum of Art
The Columbia Museum of Art (CMA) is South Carolina’s premier international art museum with traveling shows, exclusive exhibitions and internationally renowned collections. The CMA is open to the public with cleaning and physical distancing practices in place, including limited timed admission tickets, reduced gallery capacities, robust cleaning practices and the required use of face masks or cloth coverings.
EdVenture is an award-winning children's museum dedicated to creating new generations of lifelong learners through museum experiences, programming and camps. EdVenture is open and ready to welcome you and your family with extra safety precautions in place, so you can have peace of mind while you learn and play. To plan your family day, purchase your tickets in advance online, and bring face coverings for explorers ages 3 and older.
The mission of Historic Columbia is to nurture, support and protect the historical and cultural heritage of Columbia and its environs through programs of advocacy, education and preservation. Semi-guided house tours are back at Historic Columbia properties on Tuesdays and Friday - Sunday. Or, stroll the gardens of several properties for free and at your own pace at these times.
Riverbanks Zoo & Garden
South Carolina State Museum
The South Carolina State Museum is a state-of-the-art facility featuring four floors of permanent and changing exhibits, digital dome planetarium, 4D interactive theater and an observatory. All guests over the age of 11 are required to wear face coverings, and advance online ticket purchases are highly encouraged, especially if you wish to see a planetarium show. Members and guests who do not purchase tickets or submit a Member RSVP in advance may have to wait to enter the museum if the building is at its capacity limit. Due to health and safety needs, the 4d theater is currently closed.
OUTDOOR ACTIVITY UPDATES
Congaree National Park
At 26,000 acres, South Carolina’s only National Park is the largest intact tract of old-growth bottomland hardwood forest remaining in the U.S. The park contains some of the tallest trees in Eastern North America with one of the highest canopies in the world, broad bio-diversity and old-growth forest. Congaree National Park has been opening in a phased approach. Some sites of the Longleaf Campground and portions of the Visitors Center remain closed. All hiking & paddling trails, canoe launches, restrooms & the picnic shelter remain open.
City of Columbia Parks
The City of Columbia Parks and Recreation Department reopened parks and amenities in phases throughout the summer to ensure the safety of residents and visitors. All park amenities are currently open, which is includes, but is not limited to, basketball courts, playgrounds, restrooms, water fountains, circulating spray pads, and shelters.
City of West Columbia Parks
City of West Columbia parks and playgrounds are open for outdoor fun. This includes the West Columbia Riverwalk, where you can walk the half-mile path, and enjoy the fresh air and cool waters on the Congaree River. Help make the parks fun and safe for everyone by abiding by social distancing guidelines.
City of Cayce Parks
There are several parks in the City of Cayce with secluded areas and plenty of nature, all of which are open to the public. Their most popular park, the Riverwalk Park, features the Timmerman Trail of the Three Rivers Greenway, which runs along the river with lighted pathways and 24 hour security.