Experience the Purple Martin Phenomenon at Lake Murray

May 23, 2024

Reading Time: 2 minutes

At night, the Purple Martins take flight! Each summer the skies over Bomb Island on Lake Murray come to life as the Purple Martins arrive for their summer vacation. It is estimated that more than one million birds venture north for the summer and roost on the island, giving spectators a rare look at one of nature’s true phenomenons. This sanctuary provides the ideal layover for the birds on their long journey to their winter home in South America and makes it the largest roosting site in North America.

When is the best time of year to see Purple Martins?

Late June through the beginning of August, is the best time to view the phenomenon with the number of birds peaking in mid-late July. The birds are visible at two times during the day – in the morning and evening. It has been recorded that when the birds leave in the morning, it is like an explosion and  the local weather radar has said the image is larger than Hurricane Hugo was in 1989.

Where Is This Phenomenon Located?

This one-of-a-kind birding event is located at Bomb Island on beautiful Lake Murray in South Carolina, USA.

How Can You See the Birds?

A boat is the best way to view the phenomenon! Boats are available to rent around Lake Murray or you can charter a personal tour.

Purple Martin Bird on a branch

Whether you’re a local or visiting from out of town, you don’t want to miss this extraordinary phenomenon. Embark on a journey and create cherished memories on beautiful Lake Murray with any of our experienced captains who will take you to witness this avian phenomenon. Most tours last about two hours and riders are encouraged to bring their own beverages and snacks.

Take a tour!

Captain Zach Steinhauser
📍 Wingard’s Market | 1403 N. Lake Drive, Lexington, SC
📞 (803) 359-9091
🌐 carolinasafarico.com/lake-murray-purple-martin-tours
📧 [email protected]

Captain Kenny Hardee
📍 Pontoon Rentals & Tours | 220 Jakes Landing Road, Lexington, SC
📞 (803) 530-3713
🌐 lake-murray-boat-rentals.com

Captain Rick Crout
📍 Captain Hook’s Lake Murray Tours
📞 (803) 603-1142
🌐 captainhookstours.com
📧 [email protected]

Captain Dale Gossett
📍 Lake Murray Island Tours
📞 (803) 318-3911
🌐 lakemurrayislandtours.com
📧 [email protected]

Captain Ben Stickney
📍 Pilot Cove Adventures – Sailboat and PowerBoat Tours
📞 (803) 969-0105
🌐 pilotcoveventures.com
📧 [email protected]

Spirit of Lake Murray – Purple Martin Cruises
📍 Spirit of Lake Murray
📞 (803) 250-5497
🌐 spiritoflakemurray.com
📧 [email protected]


Need more ideas and things to do while visiting Lake Murray County? Check out our Itineraries, that are fun for the whole family! Whether you’re a local or a visitor, this is the place to Stay and Play. Book your Lake Murray Playcation today!