Summer weather means fun on the water in West Columbia

With summertime temperatures, opportunities to play in the water in West Columbia are abundant.

Palmetto Outdoor has become the epicenter for recreation on the Congaree River. The eco-tourism business provides cool, stress-relieving tubing trips down the refreshing river, ending at the West Columbia Riverwalk.

Children playing.

“I’m very proud to offer an experience on the river to so many visitors to our area,” said Michael Mayo, Palmetto Outdoor owner.

Mayo spoke to the West Columbia City Council last week. He said river tubing trips attract thousands to West Columbia in the summer months. He also said West Columbia used to be a daily detour for travelers to Myrtle Beach, but that has changed.

“West Columbia is now a destination,” Mayo said. “Visitors find that there are so many more resources to enjoy when they get here.”

There are also 2 more weeks of the Rhythm on the River Concert Series. The concerts are at 6 p.m. Saturday at the West Columbia Riverwalk Amphitheater.

One destination is Riverbanks Zoo and Botanical Garden. There is an entrance to the zoo off of Mohawk Drive in West Columbia.

The zoo’s Splash Pad at Waterfall Junction is open daily. It features a new soft play, rubber surface.

“The zoo’s Splash Pad is a great place for kids to cool off,” said Netra Thompson of West Columbia. “I have four grandchildren and they love to get in the water at the zoo. They love the zoo, too. We will make the zoo part of our activities all summer long.”

Splash Pad at the zoo

Mayo also said the South Carolina State Museum is an attraction that visitors stay over to see. Congaree National Park is another draw, along with the natural beauty of Riverwalk.

“People who visit West Columbia tell me they have never seen anything like Riverwalk,” Mayo said. “They love walking by the river and enjoying the nature of it all.”

West Columbia is also in close proximity to Lake Murray, one of the most attractive water recreation sites in the Southeast.

“We are lake people,” said Lesley Kellet. “We start going to Lake Murray in the spring and we go more in the summer when school is out. Our family loves it”

If you want to go to the lake, there is a public option.

Lake Murray

Dominion Energy has opened its public parks on the Lexington and Irmo sides of the Lake Murray dam for the 2022 recreation season.

The beach and recreation area on the Lexington side (near the dam) will remain open through Sept. 5. Parking fees for all vehicles on both sides will be $5, with season passes available for $50 per vehicle.

Click here for link to Dominion site

  • The Lexington beach and recreation areas will operate:
  • Mon. – Fri. (May 1 – Sept. 5) 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.
  • Sat.– Sun. 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.- Amenities: Picnic Facilities, Swimming, Restrooms
  • The Irmo side boat launch will be accessible to the public 24 hours a day.
  • Amenities: Boat Launch, Picnic Facilities, Fishing Docks, Restrooms

Alcohol and pets are not allowed at either area and no lifeguards are on duty at the beach. Swimming is also prohibited at the boat launch. Call the Lake Management Office at 803-217-9221 for more information.

Also on Riverwalk

The City of West Columbia is installing fitness equipment along the West Columbia Riverwalk Park and Amphitheater. Visitors can walk, run, or bike along the path and stop to use each piece of equipment for a well-rounded workout with a beautiful view of the Congaree River. The eleven pieces of equipment are strategically placed from the Moffatt Street entrance at 100 Riverside Drive, along the pathway towards the amphitheater, at 109 Alexander Road, and south along the remainder of the West Columbia Riverwalk.

The eleven pieces of equipment include a Double Glider, Single Fit Rider, Double Sky Walker, Double Station Lat Pulldown, Single Sit-Up Bench, Triple Inclined Chin-Up Bars, Double Station Leg Press, Single Push-Up Bar, Double Station Chest Press, Double Dip Station, and a Single Station Country Skier for a combination of a strength and cardiovascular workout on the approximately one-mile stretch of the Riverwalk.

Mayor Tem Miles said, “I am excited that we installed workout equipment along our beautiful West Columbia Riverwalk. I like to walk down there. It’s great that people will have additional workout activities to do to stay in shape in such a beautiful setting.”

The project was partially funded through the South Carolina Eat Smart Move More Coalition, by the Let’s Go 3.0 Grant, with resources made available by the BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina Foundation.

Summer weather is here. Get out and enjoy the opportunities on the water in West Columbia.