A Fun Day in Columbia SC

Columbia, the state capital of our beautiful state, has many options for fun. Most larger cities and state capitals have government buildings that are typically a great photo opportunity of beautiful architecture, Columbia is no different. In addition to the beautiful buildings around town, Columbia has much more to offer than you might expect.

In this article, we try to pin down some of the fun things you can do in Columbia if you have some time to explore.

Congaree National Park


This beautiful National Park located near Columbia in Central South Carolina encompasses over 26,000 acres of lush forest and mature hardwoods. The park surrounds the Congaree River which flows through the center of the property. Congaree National Park boasts some of the tallest trees in the eastern United States and is the only National Park in South Carolina. This is truly a nature lovers paradise.

There are many hiking trails throughout the park to accommodate both experienced and beginner hikers. If getting out on a canoe or kayak is more your pace, the Congaree River is the perfect body of water to do just that. This is a day trip you must add to your list when near Columbia.

South Carolina State House

South carolina state house a fun day in columbia sctravelguide
South Carolina State House

The South Carolina State House building houses the office of the governor and lieutenant governor. The state house is a popular destination for people visiting the city due to the beautiful architecture. The property was also at the center of the Confederate flag controversy that made national news.

The State House is in the Greek Revival style; it is approximately 180 feet (55 m) tall, 300 feet (91 m) long, 100 feet (30 m) wide. It weighs more than 70,000 short tons (64,000 t) and has 130,673 square feet (12,140 m2) of space. This is a must visit while in Columbia.

Riverbanks Botanical Garden

Riverbanks Botanical Garden, Columbia, South Carolina sctravelguide
Riverbanks Botanical Garden, Columbia, South Carolina

The Riverbanks Botanical Garden has been featured on HGTV for being one of the top 20 botanical gardens in the USA. Visiting the gardens is like stepping into a beautiful wilderness on another planet.

The garden features over 4200 different species of both native and exotic plants. The garden boasts over 70 acres of plant beauty. Be sure to check the gardens event calendar for some cool shows inside the park. We had to include this in A Fun Day In Columbia article.

Riverbanks Zoo

riverbanks zoo columbia south carolina sctravelguide a fun day in columbia
Riverbanks Zoo, Columbia, SC

The Riverbanks Zoo, the second half of the above Riverbanks Botanical Gardens, is a 170-acre zoo, aquarium, and gardens. The zoo is the home of over 2,000 animals ranging from lions to snakes, they have a little of everything. They also have an African Planes exhibit that houses animals from Africa meant to replicate their native habitat.

If you are looking for something to do with the kids, this is sure to have them entertained for hours. In addition to the animal exhibits and gardens, The RiverBanks Zoo has multiple activities for both kids and adults. Go on a safari right here in South Carolina.

Columbia Canal & Riverfront Park

Columbia Canal & Riverfront Park a fun day in columbia sctravelguide
Columbia Canal & Riverfront Park, Columbia, South Carolina

This 167-acre park in Columbia is a popular destination for joggers, bikers, and the casual walker. The park has  2 miles of trails throughout the park that follows the river in many areas.

Riverfront Park also has an outdoor brick amphitheater that is host to many festivals and concerts throughout the year. Be sure to check the events calendar for the next event. The park also has one of the old pump houses from many years ago that you can explore. This is truly a unique park in Columbia.

Columbia Museum of Art

columbia museum of art columbia sc sctravelguide a fun day in columbia
Columbia Museum of Art

The Columbia Museum of art is a great place to spend the day and take in some truly one of a kind pieces of art. This museum houses many collections from world-famous artist. The property is adjacent to the University of South Carolina campus and is near multiple food and lodging options.

Throughout the year the museum also offers many events and activities that will entertain you and the kids. The Museum opened in 1988 and is seeing more guest now than ever. This is an activity to put on your to-do list for Columbia.

Sesquicentennial State Park

Sesquicentennial State Park sctravelguide a fun day in columbia
Sesquicentennial State Park

Want to be close to a big city but feel like you are in the middle of the wilderness? This park is for you! Sesquicentennial State Park is over 1400 acres of lush forest, tall pines, campsites, hiking trails, and a beautiful 30-acre lake.

The park has over 14 miles of hiking trails and many RV Campsites to enjoy a beautiful weekend in the Midlands. If you are with your furry friend, the park also features a dog park for them to run and play. Make sure to check in at the rangers station for more info.

In Closing

Many times with any state capital city, these cities can often be overlooked for fun attractions because of the government offices and business districts. The truth is Columbia has many options available for fun things to do, you just have to know where to look. Considering Columbia is a large city, the town actually offers many options for outdoor activities as well. Next time you are in Columbia, do a little exploring, you will be surprised how amazing Columbia can be.

Be sure to check back often as we will be updating this list. If you have something you would like to add to this list, please email contact@sctravelguide.com