Boating

If time on the water is what floats your boat, you’ll love Columbia’s watery options. For starters, rental options abound along the shore of Lake Murray - companies like Better Boat Rental and AquaFun Boat Rentals and Tours can put you in the captain’s chair of super-stable pontoons, fierce speedboats that will give water skiers the ride of their lives and even high performance tri-toons perfect for pulling wakeboards and tubes. There are also fishing pontoons, party boats that will hold a dozen friends and even chartered sails. Sailors can head to Lanier Sailing Academy, which offers not just sailing lessons, but half day sailboat rentals as well.  Whatever you choose, boats come fully loaded with lines, bumpers and navigation equipment - you just need to bring a crowd and a picnic - or pull up to Liberty at the Lake, or Frayed Knot, just to name a few. Plan ahead for summer weekends, when lakeside restaurants add live music to the menu. You’ll find old-school pedal boats at Sesquicentennial State Park and Better Boat Rental - some even come with on-board coolers and shade-providing tops.

If you tow your own boat to Columbia, you can launch at Dreher Island State Park, Lake Murray Marina and a number of public ramps scattered around the lake. Most marinas sell food, fuel, ice, bait and, if you’d like, can provide overnight parking. Small boats with electric motors can be launched at Sesquicentennial State Park.

Cruise in style aboard the Spirt of Lake Murray, an 80-foot yacht that plies the calm waters of Lake Murray all year long. Themed dinner cruises cover history, music, the area’s famed purple martins and fall foliage. Bonus - the ship is fully climate controlled.