The Best Lake Murray Country Outdoor Recreational Areas

January 18, 2019

A dose of fresh air can be the best remedy sometimes. The New Year has us spending more time outside, finding ways to stay active and looking for inspiration from nature. Lake Murray Country is packed with great ways to get outside and reconnect. We’ve rounded up some of our favorite destinations to help inspire you for a happier and healthier New Year!

Outdoor Recreation, Recreational Areas, Lake Murray County Parks, South Carolina Parks

Lake Murray Country Outdoor Recreational Areas

Congaree National Park

Lake Murray Country is home to the amazing Congaree National Park, which is the only national park in the state of South Carolina. The park has roughly 3,000 square feet to enjoy and they offer numerous recreations activities – from bird watching to camping.

The park has over 18 miles of hiking trails, which offer scenic views of the largest intact expanse of old growth bottomland hardwood forest remaining in the southeastern United States. You can also canoe or kayak along the waterways to enjoy the various types of wildlife who call the park home.

The Cedar Creek Canoe Trail in Congaree Swamp National Monument is an easy, six-mile journey, that’s perfect for the novice kayaker. Some say that canoe trail could be the finest one in the Midlands, since floating this dark waterway feels like taking a trip back to prehistoric times. Float time, in normal conditions, is three to four hours and it’s always recommended to tell a park ranger that before departing.

Outdoor Recreation, Recreational Areas, Lake Murray County Parks, South Carolina Parks

Wells Japanese Garden

Located in Newberry, the Wells Japanese Garden is a historic landmark. The gorgeous landscape vision was designed by the father-son duo W. Fulmer Wells and Henry B. Wells, Sr. It was crafted with local materials and it’s the perfect spot to slow down and relax.

The garden features a Temple, Torri Gate, Moon Bridge and Tea House. With the hustle and bustle of the nearby capitol city, it’s nice that Lake Murray Country also offers a great spot to meditate and reflect. The Wells Japanese Garden is also a beautiful spot for photography.

Outdoor Recreation, Recreational Areas, Lake Murray County Parks, South Carolina Parks

Dreher Island State Park

Spanning over 348 acres of land, guests can explore 12 miles of Lake Murray shoreline at Dreher Island State Park. While it’s known as one of the best spots for large-mouth bass fishing and hosting national fishing tournaments, it’s also a great spot for water sports.

They offer campsite and overnight lodging at the park villas, if you’re looking for an outdoor adventure getaway. The park has three trails to explore and kids can enjoy several playground areas as well.

Don’t forget to pick up your Ultimate Outsider guide at the park, so you can collect a stamp at each of South Carolina’s 47 state parks. Once achieving Ultimate Outsider victory, and you’ve collected a stamp from every park, you’ll receive a free commemorative t-shirt.

Finlay Park

Located in the heart of Columbia, Finlay Park is a green oasis that offers a spot to refresh within the big city. The 18 acre park offers beautiful views of the city and the perfect spot to plan a picnic. It serves as the site for such events as Columbia Kids Day, Mayfest, The Summer Concert Series, Let’s Share and many more.

You can find 2 playground areas, a man-made lake, waterfalls, a fountain, playing fields, a pergola with swings, and a snack bar that is open in the summer. Finlay park is also known as one of the largest handicap accessible parks in the country.

The paved pathways are perfect for strollers and it’s one of the most photographed spots in the city. Definitely add this spot to your family’s bucket list for a spring day.

Sesquicentennial State Park

Affectionately known as “Sesqui” for short, this park is home to 1,400 acres of pines, camping sites and nature trails. They welcome large family reunions and parties, with various outdoor actives to enjoy: kayak and canoe rentals, fishing, two nature trails and a 6-mile bicycle loop for day-use recreation.

It’s a great spot to get outside with your furry friend (dogs are permitted with a permit) because the park has a 2-acre off-leash fenced area. Sesqui also offers several splash pads for the kids to cool off during the summer months. Bring the RV and the whole family for some fun at this beloved state park.

Outdoor Recreation, Recreational Areas, Lake Murray County Parks, South Carolina Parks
 Photo by Perry Baker

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