Columbia is surrounded by plenty of outdoor destinations where you can spend the day and have some fun. We know being inside can get pretty boring pretty fast. That’s why we at Live 21 Oaks decided to share the following list of the best places to have some Outdoor Fun in Columbia, SC. There’s plenty of fresh air and attractions for you to enjoy on your next day around town.
Visit Columbia Canal and Riverfront Park
312 Laurel St, Columbia, SC 29201
Riverfront Park is the perfect spot to get away from the city life and enjoy some outdoor fun in the area. The park features plenty of great spots with beautiful river views and hiking trails. Stop at any of the benches during sunset and enjoy the spectacular scenes you won’t find anywhere else.
Visit Riverbanks Zoo and Garden
500 Wildlife Pkwy, Columbia, SC 29210
The Riverbanks Zoo and Garden offers a bit of both the animal kingdom and botanical world. A trip to the park allows visitors to see and learn about various species from every continent on the planet and a little more. Don’t miss out on the chance to check out the lion cubs, feed an elephant, or touch a tortoise. The park also offers interactive one-hour encounters with some of the animals and multiple themed-gardens unique to the area. Riverbanks Zoo and Garden also offers zip tours across the zoo or the Saluda River, for those who are looking for outdoor excitement.
Visit Finlay Park
930 Laurel St, Columbia, SC 29201
Finlay Park is a popular outdoor attraction located in the heart of Columbia. This historical 18-acre park has been through rough patches of history. Finlay Park was first opened in 1859 as Sidney Park, closed down because of the Civil War, then re-established as Finlay Park in 1990. Today, Finlay Park boasts of having beautiful trees, 2 playground areas, a man-made lake, waterfalls, a fountain, and playing fields. It’s a great place to enjoy a stroll around the park and have a photo session.
Visit Congaree National Park
100 National Park Rd, Hopkins, SC 29061
Congaree National Park is the largest bottomland hardwood forest of its kind remaining in the southeastern United States. This natural beauty has some of the richest ecosystems you’ll find in the area. Along with the breathtaking scenery, this national park offers hiking trails, camping areas, and plenty of water for water activities. Congaree is the perfect spot to have some real outdoor fun in Columbia.
Visit Sesquicentennial State Park
9564 Two Notch Rd, Columbia, SC 29223
Also known as “Sesqui”, Sesquicentennial State Park is an amazing green getaway deep in the Sandhills region. This outdoorsmen haven is surrounded by 1,400 acres of pines, camping areas, and nature trails. Sesqui also offers great areas for birdwatching, geocaching, fishing, and boat rentals. It also features a dog park for those who like to travel with their faithful companion. A day trip to Sesqui is a great way to get away from Columbia and enjoy some of nature’s finest views.
Visit Saluda Shoals Park
5605 Bush River Rd, Columbia, SC 29212
Saluda Shoals Park is a riverfront park that offers plenty of natural attractions. This 400-acre park features great areas for hiking, biking, and horseback riding. Other park amenities include water activities, the Saluda Splash pad, a playground, and the Barking Lot Dog Park.
The Barking Lot Park is a premium dog park with fenced areas and three small bone shaped pools for dogs to cool off. All dog owners must pay a small daily fee or annual fee to get into the dog park.
Visit Lake Murray During the Summer
Lake Murray is a popular spot for both humans and wildlife during the hot summer months. With dozens of marinas around the lake, the destination is also perfect for boat launches and fishing. There are also several parks and recreation areas where visitors can take their children and spend the day cooling off in the water or having a cookout. As we mentioned before, Lake Murray is home to some amazing wildlife including the Great Blue Heron, Striped Bass, and migrating Purple Martins.
Visit Dreher Island State Park
3677 State Park Rd, Prosperity, SC 29127
Dreher Island State Park is a combination of three islands covering about 348 acres of land. This state park is a great place for recreational water activities, hiking, fishing, and other outdoor activities. Many locals like to rent out the cabins near the lake and camp out for the weekend. Dreher Island State Park is also a popular spot for fishing tournaments of different calibers.
Visit Frankie’s Fun Park
140 Parkridge Dr, Columbia, SC 29212
Looking for a unique way to have some outdoor fun in Columbia? Frankie’s Fun Park features exciting attractions including mini golf, a speed course, batting cages, bumper boats, and other outdoor activities for families and small groups to enjoy. The amusement park is also a great place to rent out for children birthdays and special events. It’s a thrilling place to blow off some steam during the weekends.
Visit the West Columbia Riverwalk Park and Amphitheater
West Columbia, SC 29169
Looking for a community park to have some outdoor fun in Columbia? The West Columbia Riverwalk Park is popular for hosting many events, marriage ceremonies, concerts, and theater events throughout the year. Visitors can also run into a mix of local joggers, bikers, and people relaxing in the evening. The best part is that you don’t have to travel far to end up at this beautiful park. The park provides easy access to nearby shops and restaurants as well as restrooms.
Visit Granby Park
100 Catawba Cir, Columbia, SC 29201
Granby Park is located near the historic Granby, Whaley, and Olympia Mill Villages on the Congaree River. It’s a great park to visit in case you love admiring scenic views, going for a run, or just enjoying the fresh air. Granby Park also features bicycling trails, fishing areas, wheelchair trails, and historic features.
Visit the NoMa (North Main) Bark Park
1250 Parkside Dr, Columbia, SC 29201
Even our dogs deserve to have some outdoor fun in Columbia. The NoMa (North Main) Bark Park is located within Earlewood Park. The dog park features fenced areas for small and large dogs, running water, tennis balls, and disposal areas. NoMa Bark Park is also surrounded by plenty of trees that provide nice shade, especially during the summer months.
Enjoy a Nice Round of Golf
How does getting away from chores and hitting a few holes sound? Columbia has plenty of country clubs and golf centers to do just that. Whether you’re looking for some hills, sand traps, and other obstacles to give you a challenge or just want to pass the time, we’ve got the right thing for you. The following is a short list of the best places to golf in Columbia:
- Forest Lake Club
- Fort Jackson Golf Club
- Linrick Golf Course
- Oak Hills Golf Club
- Spring Valley Country Club
- The Spur at Northwoods Golf Club
- The Woodlands Golf & Country Club
- Riverside Golf Center
Enjoy the Movies at the Park and Other Events
The cities of Columbia and Lexington have a fun Movies at the Park series every year. Plenty of local families, students, and other members of the community love to show up with lawn chairs, blankets, and food to enjoy an evening of entertainment.
The city of Columbia also has plenty of events for everyone to enjoy. From the Carolina Caillon to the Fourth of July Fireworks and Display, there’s plenty of free outdoor fun in Columbia to enjoy. Most events are accompanied with live music, local vendors, and other entertainment.
Just make sure you stay up to date with the list of special events being hosted in Columbia if you’re interested.
Can’t find your cup of tea on our list? Check out these Fun Things to Do in Columbia, SC.
Need something to do tonight in Columbia? Check out what the Nightlife in Columbia, SC has in store for you.