Dive into lake time fun and break into a big city adventure with the family this spring
This Spring Break pack up the family and set sights on an adventure to remember with a trip to Capital City/Lake Murray Country, South Carolina. The beautiful Midlands region is conveniently located off Interstates I-77, I-26 and I-20 in the central part of the Palmetto state. From boat rentals and paddleboard excursions, to zip lining at a nationally recognized zoo to big city entertainment and dining in the heart of downtown Columbia, embark on a memory-making voyage that both the kids and grown-ups will want to re-visit again and again.
First, check out Lake Murray Vacation Rentals for sprawling houses or the perfect quaint bungalow for your family’s stay. Or, check into a cozy cabin on Dreher Island State park–a three-island outdoor wonderland that spans 12 miles of Lake Murray’s shore.
Once you’ve unloaded the bags at your waterfront escape, head down to Lake Murray Boat Club, Lake Murray Water Sports and Entertainment or California Republic Standup Paddleboard for lake equipment rentals. Whether your crew feels the need for speed or desires to float the days away on a big pontoon, guests will soon discover why Boating Magazine named Lake Murray one of the “top 10 boating destinations and places to live” in the country. Spend the day exploring the 50,000 acres of sparkling waters that make up “The Jewel of South Carolina.”
After a long day on the gorgeous lake, refuel with a lakefront dinner. Tie up the boat or park the car at Liberty on the Lake or Frayed Knot Bar and Grill. Liberty on the Lake offers upscale casual dining with 48 beers on tap. The kids can dive into the children’s menu, while the adults can sink their teeth into tasty entrees like the decadent shrimp n’ grits, tangy baby back ribs and a variety of Angus-certified burgers. The Frayed Knot Bar and Grill serves up a Spring Break-worthy time with live music, fire pits and both kid and adult-friendly menu options like sandwiches, steaks and seafood. Both restaurants offer spectacular sunset views to cap off the evening. If you go to Frayed Knot, be sure to check out the paddleboard, kayak and jet ski rentals for the remainder of your stay.
Or, head for dry land and drive into neighboring downtown Columbia. The Capital City is the largest city in South Carolina and is one of the only major metropolitan areas in the country to have three rivers flowing through the city. Rent bikes at Columbia’s Riverfront Park and zoom through its 167 acres of spectacular riverfront scenery. Park the car on Main Street and shop at the Mast General Store. From outdoor gear, toys, books and classic candies, everyone will find a treasure to take home.
For lunch, picnic on the grounds of the stunning South Carolina State House. White columns, marble and a grand staircase make for an ideal backdrop to a day on the town. Another option? Make your own pizza at Persona. Start with the Italian imported dough, then top your pie with a variety of delicious ingredients. The chefs will then toss your masterpiece in the wood fire oven where it takes only 90 seconds to bake to perfection. For a twist on the typical deli spot, head to Groucho’s Deli where the specialty items will not disappoint. Try menu favorites like the Apollo Dipper–ham, turkey and cheese piled high and melted on a sub roll, then topped with Groucho’s special 45 or Danish Blue sauce. All sandwiches are served with chips and a pickle, the perfect lunch to get your family in and out and on their way.
If brunch is calling the family’s name look no further than Diprato’s Delicatessen. This Columbia spot has earned the title “Best Brunch in Town” three years in a row. Try the eggs benedict or the banana pecan pancakes or switch things up with a breakfast panini. For the adults, DiPrato’s offers a drink menu that leaves nothing to be desired. Sip on a sweet pineapple lime mimosa or a tangy bloody Mary to complement your scrumptious order.
Continue the adventure at EdVenture. This award-winning children’s museum immerses the kids in fun educational exhibits. The Wags and Whiskers area allows your child to become a veterinarian by caring for a cuddly plush animal. Maker Works is a tinkerer’s paradise–chock full of materials and fueled by brainpower. World of Work is where work is fun. The kids will love getting behind the wheel of a fire truck, stocking the shelves at the grocery store or chugging along on a tractor.
Explore the South Carolina State Museum. Discover the natural history exhibit with its shark and dinosaur displays. Peruse fine art, learn the principles of space flight or get up close to a Civil War submarine. While you’re there, step inside the 4-D interactive theatre. Watch a 3-D film with fourth dimensional effects–vibrating seats, bursts of air and blasts of water. If you go in the evening, the planetarium is a must. This 145-seat dome theater provides a completely immersive environment that surrounds viewers with multi-media images and sound. Enjoy educational and entertaining programs that showcase earth and astronomy, as well as history and art.
For more fun around Columbia, head to Riverbanks Zoo and Garden. Take a trip around the world without ever leaving the grounds. Explore Australia’s kangaroos, the Arctic’s penguins and Africa’s elephants and gorillas. You can also take the global tour by sky, zip lining above the 170 acres of beautiful land. Make the day a hole in one by ending it at Frankie’s Fun Park. Not only does this place have the best mini-golf in Columbia, but it also has batting cages, a fun house, laser tag, bumper boats, an arcade and a racetrack.
For fun that’s extreme, head to the Plex in neighboring Irmo. Break a sweat by jumping on 12,000 square-feet of world-class interconnected trampolines. Or burn off some energy by cooling down on the ice skating rink. While in Irmo, stop by Saluda Shoals Park. This premier outdoor space features paved and unpaved trails for hiking, biking and horse back riding. Explore the waters of the gorgeous Saluda by canoe or kayak or have the kids hit up the playground.
While in Lexington County, make sure you are fueling the fun with some of the area’s tastiest family-friendly spots. You can’t leave the Palmetto State without trying some of its famous barbecue. Shealy’s Barbeque in Batesburg-Leesville is so finger-lickin’ good that it’s officially on the South Carolina Barbeque Trail. Try delicious pulled pork, baby-back ribs, fried chicken and all the fixings. Flavor takes new height at The Flight Deck. This aviation-themed restaurant is not only tasty with its crowd-pleasing menu items like a rib-eye sandwich, loaded nachos and juicy burgers, it’s also decked out with flight themed gear and is an entertaining experience for your whole crew.
After days exploring the big city lights, retreat to your waterfront rental home and watch the moonlight bounce off the still waters of Lake Murray. Between fun in the sun and water, world-class family attractions and award-winning eats, Capital City/Lake Murray Country is the perfect recipe for a Spring Break vacation that will quickly become a family tradition.