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Columbia Checklist: Best Parks for Outdoor Fun

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at South Carolina chapter.

I don’t consider myself to be an “outdoorsy” person; in fact, spiders and snakes are my worst nightmare. My ideal version of camping would have to include an air-conditioned RV and a shower. Somehow, though, I found myself in a city full of outdoor opportunities. I have come to appreciate all of them, as I am sure you will too. Next time you need a breath of fresh air or a new jogging trail, try out one of these parks!

1. Saluda Shoals Park

This park is located along the Saluda River and features hiking and biking trails and picnic areas. You can even take a canoe and kayaking trip or rent tubes for floating down the river! It also has a playground onsite and a dog park. Daily admission is only $5.00.

2. Sesquicentennial State Park

“Sesqui” seems to be the park of all parks. It is located off of Two Notch Road, and costs $2.00 per adult. Its many amenities include camping, trails, picnic shelters, playgrounds, bird watching areas, sand volleyball, softball, a dog park, and paddleboard rentals.

3. Congaree National Park

Located along the Congaree River, this park is a great place to relax and unwind. It features 25 miles of hiking trails, a 2.4-mile boardwalk trail, and marked canoe trails. Unfortunately, the park does not rent canoes; however, there are many places you can go close by to rent one!

4. Cayce Riverwalk

If we could only recommend one thing from this list, this would be it. Bordering the Congaree River, this park offers many breathtaking views along a paved trail. In fact, the featured photo of this article was taken by me in February during a sunrise run!

5. Harbison State Forest

Featuring over 18 miles of trails, the Harbison State Forest will not disappoint. The forest has a canoe landing, but requires you to bring your own canoe. Parking is $5.00, and the forest is located just north of the Broad River.


While the following activities did not make it to the top, we encourage you to check them out! Many are smaller and affordable, if not free.

  1. Seven Oaks Park

  2. Finlay Park

  3. Granby Park

  4. Dreher Shoals Dam

  5. Canal and Riverfront Park

  6. Memorial Park

  7. Lake Murray
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Cassie Sobers

South Carolina

Cassie is a Management and Marketing major at the University of South Carolina. She is an outgoing and adventurous person, and an avid runner. When she is not writing for Her Campus or training for a race, you can find her browsing Pinterest for a creative project to tackle, reading a good book, or cooking a delicious meal.
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SC Contributor

South Carolina