Lake Murray: Top 10 Place to Live and Boat

March 2, 2021

Article in Boating Magazine
Written by: Steve Griffin

Choose from our list of 10 best places for boating…

Everybody likes their home waters.  But facts are facts: Some places are nicer than others.  Maybe it’s the water or the land that contains it.  Perhaps it’s the people, or maybe the lack of them! Easy access? That can be nice, but “hard to reach” sometimes means “hard to beat.” And some places are just plain boaty.

Over the decades, our editors have boated hundreds of idyllic waters in the United States.  We’ve tapped our experiences, chatted up other boaters and even checked in with web surfers to help us refine this list of our 10 favorite boater-friendly spots in the Lower 48. We considered livability, public access, convenience and also relaxing getaways that should please anyone looking for a primary or secondary boating home.

Lake Murray, Columbia, South Carolina

Columbia’s Southern charms make it a great setting for relaxing and civility. Nearby Lake Murray provides a place to bust loose.  Lake Murray was formed in 1930 by the distinctive five-tower Dreher Shoals Dam on the Saluda River.  The 48,000-acre reservoir – 41 miles long and as wide as 14 miles – produces electrical energy and is the main source of Columbia’s drinking water.  It has also become “the water playground for the (South Carolina) Midlands.”

Although the lake is a power-producing reservoir, water level changes are not massive – four feet between normal summer high and normal winter low.

Water skiing, wake boarding, cruising and swimming are all popular.  Murray is famous too for its rafts of hundreds, sometimes thousands, of boats, plus numerous poker runs on this enormous inland waterway.

Dozens of marinas serve the lake, with abundant lands and ramps.

Columbia, 18 miles away, claims one of the lowest costs of living in the United States.  Still, upscale home communities ring the lake, so pick your lifestyle.  The city overflows with options such as concerts, ice shows, Broadway shows, dancing, historic homes, museums, theaters, and a zoo and botanical garden.  Columbia’s Riverbanks Zoo and Botanical Garden is consistently ranked among the nation’s top 10.

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