Natural Wonders of Lake Murray Country

September 12, 2023

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Capital City/Lake Murray Country is home to two natural wonders that attract visitors from around the world annually: the purple Martin Phenomenon and the Synchronous Fireflies at Congaree National Park. For two weeks between mid-May and mid-June, visitors can experience the breathtaking sight of flashing lights during the Photinus Frontalis mating season. In other words, the Fireflies at Congaree National Park appear to synchronize their flashing in an elaborate mating ritual. Around the same time, the skies over Bomb Island on Lake Murray come to life as millions of Purple Martins arrive for their Summer vacation to roost. Both natural wonders are a sight to behold and definitely need to be on your Lake Murray Country adventure list.


Purple Martin Phenomenon on Lake Murray

Purple Martin Bird on a branchIt is estimated that more than one million Purple Martins  venture north for the summer and roost on Bomb Island, giving spectators a rare look at one of nature’s top 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. 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. Schedule a guided tour during your visit.


Synchronous Fireflies at Congaree National Park

Fireflies light up the dark

Congaree National Park is one of a few locations in North America where visitors can experience synchronized fireflies and only one of about a dozen locations on the globe. In case you didn’t know, synchronized fireflies are a rare species of lightning bug that synchronize their flashing with the “light show” or swarm. For two weeks between mid-May and mid-June, visitors can experience the breathtaking sight of flashing during the Photinus frontalis mating season. Due to high visitor interest and to protect the firefly habitat, guests to the park have the opportunity to enter the annual lottery for a vehicle pass. 

Visit nps.gov/cong or call (877) 444-6777 for more information and instructions on how to enter the viewing lottery.


Keep your adventure going – get outdoors and enjoy golfing, hiking, boating and more on Lake Murray. Learn more about Lake Murray Country’s Outdoor Recreation and natural offerings as you plan your next vacation!