Things To Do With Holiday Visitors in Lake Murray Country

December 16, 2021

Reading Time: 3 minutes

The holiday season is upon us and family and friends are coming together. Some are getting together for the first time in years. Are you wondering what to do while they’re here? Some may want to stay indoors where it’s warm and others may want to venture outside. We’ve compiled a list of things to do around the region for those wanting an indoor or outdoor excursion.


Now through January 2nd, Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer 4-D is at the SC State Museum, 301 Gervais Street, Columbia. The 4-D theater is enhanced with 3-D visuals and 4-D effects such as rumbling seats and whistling snow. And while you’re at the museum, check out the 30-minute laser light show set to holiday music in the museum’s planetarium.

Through December 31st, you can enjoy holiday tours of Columbia’s historic homes. Walk through history and experience the traditional holiday decorations at the Robert Mills House and Hampton Preston mansion in downtown Columbia. Tickets for the tours are available at the gift shop at the Robert Mills House at 1616 Blanding Street in Columbia.

And, of course, you don’t want to miss the Lights Before Christmas at Riverbanks Zoo & Garden. It’s a holiday favorite and Columbia’s longest running holiday attraction. Kids, and the adults, love the LED story tree, the candy cane carousel, the north pole express train, s’mores and lots more.

You can enjoy more lights and the warmth in your car at the drive through light displays at Holiday Lights on the River at Saluda Shoals Park and Carolina Lights at the South Carolina State Fairgrounds. Both of these locations will be open through the end of December.


For those visitors wanting to head outside, they are so many parks in the region to explore. Gibson Pond Park recently re-opened in the Town of Lexington, Columbia’s Riverfront Park and West Columbia’s Riverwalk offer serene scenery and great walking paths.

Congaree National Park is magnificent any time of the year with the largest tree canopy in the state. There’s a visitor center onsite offering educational exhibits.

Both state parks are open for exploring; Sesquicentennial “Sesqui” Park and Dreher Island State Park. At Sesqui, find the “FEMA bridge” on the Loop Trail. It’s a 100-foot-long aluminum bridge that was installed over Jackson Creek and it spans a misty, marsh area with babbling brook sounds; something rarely heard in the midlands of South Carolina. Sesqui is made up of the 1,400 acres of pines, camping sites, and nature trails… you can easily forget just how close you are to a city.

At Dreher Island State Park, you can get outside and take a swim (if you like cool water).  Dreher Island State Park is located on Lake Murray.  Since it’s on the shoreline, bring a fishing rod and see what’s biting. As a first-time visitor, the park rangers suggest you stop by the Tackle Shop/Visitor’s Center for a map and take a stroll on one of the three trails. Ask about the Fishing Tackle Loaner Program which allows you to borrow a rod, reel and tackle box… everything but the fish! You could also pack a picnic or let the kids have fun on the playground.

These are just a few of the many ways to explore the Lake Murray Country region spanning four counties. Visit our website (LakeMurrayCountry.com) to locate more parks to explore, holiday events that are happening, and amazing attractions in the area.


By: Jayne Baker