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25+ Summer Activities in Columbia, SC

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School break is here and you need some super fun summer activities in Columbia? We have some great ideas! From where to swim, to the perfect splash pad, amazing summer day trips, and even the best indoor places to play, summer is full of fun in Columbia, SC! Use our list as a springboard to all the amazing adventures you will have this summer!

Summer Guide to Columbia,, SC

Top Summer in Columbia Quick Links:
Summer Camp Guide to Columbia
VBS in Columbia, SC
Places to Cool Off, Swim, and Splash
Free Things in Columbia

Looking for more? See our HUGE guide of Things to Do in Columbia with kids’ activities, family adventures, and more for every season.


2024 Vacation Bible Schools: Free VBS Columbia, SC

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Are you looking for 2024 VBS programs near Columbia, SC for your children? VBS programs bring together summer fun, crafts, games, and friends often without any cost. If you’re looking for VBS programs in the Columbia area, wondering “Where is a free VBS near me?” you’ve come to the right place. We’ve pulled together the important details for VBS programs happening this year. We’ll keep updating this list as we get closer to summer, so bookmark and check back frequently.

Add your VBS! If you are a coordinator for a VBS program and would like your program listed, please email Maria@Kiddingaroundgreenville.com.

VBS Columbia, SC, the answer to "Where is a free VBS near me?"

We’ll be updating this list throughout the VBS season. Check back soon for more options!


Ideas for Everyone! Things to Do Outside: Columbia, SC

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Are you looking for things to do outside in Columbia, SC? The weather is finally gorgeous, and you’re looking for spectacular things to do to enjoy this beautiful day. That sunshine and breezy fresh air is calling your name. Good news! You’re here on the Kidding Around Outdoor Guide to Columbia. And, what does that get you? Lots and lots of family-friendly ideas about how to enjoy a perfect day outside, plus all the information you need to know to make it happen.

So, what are you waiting for? Snatch up one of these ideas for things to do outside! Columbia, SC adventure waiting.

Things to Do Outside: Columbia, SC

Outdoor Things to Do in Columbia for Everyone

We have real ideas for families, by the way. You’ll find outdoor fun here for families with little kids, older kids, teens, couples, and ideas that fit every budget. Totally free ways to enjoy outdoor things to do in Columbia, SC? We have them.

This outdoor list is for everyone in Columbia, SC.

Parks and Playgrounds

Go for an hour or go a whole afternoon. Pack a picnic with some favorite snacks to really maximize the fun. Just don’t forget a hat and some suncreen!

The playground at Carraway Park in West Columbia
Carraway Park

Carraway Park: Great for kids of all ages in West Columbia, SC

Leo's Landing Playground in Columbia, SC at Saluda Shoals
Leo’s Landing

Leo’s Landing: Very large, inclusive playground at Saluda Shoals in Irmo, SC. ($5 per vehicle, or $55 per year)

Playground at Elmwood Roy Lynch Park in Columbia, SC
Elmwood Roy Lynch Park

Elmwood Roy Lynch Park: Splash pad, zipline, and playgrounds

Hiking in Columbia

You’ve got sneakers, water bottle, and maybe some bug spray. You’ve filled up a backpack with trail mix and favorite snacks. You’re ready for some hiking in Columbia, SC. All you need now is the perfect trail, and that’s where we come in.

Sesquicentennial State Park

Discover Sesquicentennial State Park! This is one of South Carolina State Parks’ most unique parks. We love that this park has a splash pad for summer fun! Don’t forget you can purchase an annual membership to the state park system that will grant you entrance to all 47 South Carolina State Parks for a year.

Kayak rentals at Sesquicentennial State Park
  • Summertime splash pad
  • Hiking
  • Camping
  • Dog park
  • Playground

Sesquicentennial State Park
9564 Two Notch Road, Columbia SC 29223

Congaree National Park

Kayak, Canoe, and hike at Congaree National Park in Hopkins, SC. Take advantage of ranger-led programs like the Owl Prowl, explore an old-growth forest, and see native wildlife. It’s a unique national park you don’t want to miss!

Three Rivers Greenway trails in Columbia, SC

Three Rivers Greenway Trail: Paved trails to enjoy along the river. Free!

Harbison State Forest has a variety of trails, including an ADA-compliant trail!

Harbison State Forest, Columbia, SC

Peachtree Rock Heritage Preserve

Peachtree Rock Heritage Preserve has the midlands’ only naturally occurring waterfall!

Sports Teams in Columbia

Root for the home team at these Columbia, SC sports teams.

Root for the home team!

Columbia’s local sports teams

Riverbanks Zoo

There’s so much to see at Riverbanks Zoo. You can spend the day checking out the bears, giraffes, penguins, sea lions, and more.

But River Banks Zoo is also home to an arboretum and Waterfall Junction, which is a splash pad area and a playground. It’s a full day of fun in one spot.

Giraffe at Riverbanks Zoo
Waterfall Junction

Riverbanks Zoo
500 Wildlife Parkway, Columbia

Eudora Farms

At Eudora Farms Wildlife Safari Drive-Thru you’ll be able to drive through fields of animals like llamas, camels, cattle, goats, antelope, ostriches, emu, and more. Food for the animals is available for purchase, which you can offer them as you drive along.

Zebra at Eudora Farms
Cows at Eudora Farm

Eudora Farms
219 Salem Lane, Salley SC

Petting Zoos Near Columbia

Farms in Columbia, SC to visit

Ride a pony or get lost in a maze; there’s fun to be found at these farms near Columbia, SC.

Enjoy the water- splash pads and more!

Where to splash and swim: Columbia, SC

Where can you enjoy the water in Columbia?

Here are 30+ places where you can swim and splash!

Fishing in Columbia, SC: fishing spots that are great for kids

9+ Great places to take the kids fishing in Columbia, SC

Bonus: Did you know you can borrow a pole and tackle for free?

Lakes in Columbia, SC

Lake Murray

Lake Murray Lexington ,SC

Lake Murray Public Park

Enjoy the beach area and swim with the kids at Lake Murray Park in Lexington, SC.

Paddleboard on Lake Murray: California Republic SUP

Rent Paddleboards on Lake Murray!

California Republic SUP offers very affordable paddleboard rentals on Lake Murray.

Dreher Island State Park sits on several islands in Lake Murray. From there you can access hiking and camping as well as all that Lake Murray has to offer.

  • Swimming
  • Boating
  • Fishing
  • Camping

Lake Monticello

Managed by SC DNR, Lake Monticello is available for fishing, boating, and swimming.

Love hanging out at the lake? Check out more Lakes in the Carolinas.


Looking for more things to do?

Things to do Columbia, SC

Fun Days Start Here!

See all the fun, amazing things to do in Columbia, SC

Sesquicentennial State Park: Gorgeous Splash Pad and $5 Kayak Rentals in Columbia, SC

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Have you visited Columbia, SC’s Sesquicentennial State Park? So close to downtown Columbia, this large park feels like a wooded retreat far away. Enjoy the outdoors, picnics, hiking, rent a kayak or pedal boat, and even have fun at a splash pad at Sesquicentennial State Park!

Sesqui State Park is a great place for a seriously budget-friendly day of adventure with your family!

Sesqui State Park

50+ Things to Do in Columbia, SC: Fun Days Start Here

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What is there to do in Columbia? A lot! If you’re looking for things to do or attractions in Columbia, SC, you’ve come to the right spot. When you’re spending time in South Carolina’s capital city with your family and kids, there are a lot of things to do and adventures to fill your days. Here are some great kids’ activities in Columbia and more ideas to keep you busy.

Columbia, SC

Looking for dining and restaurants? If you’re searching for things to eat in Columbia, we have some suggestions here: Favorite Restaurants and Family Dining in Columbia, SC.


Strawberry Picking: Columbia, SC’s Berry U-Pick Farms

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Are you searching for u-pick strawberries near Columbia, SC? You have a lot of options when it comes to strawberry-picking farms all throughout the Midlands! Columbia, SC has several nearby farms where you can pick your own delicious berries or just pick up a gallon or two of pre-picked berries.

Our list includes all the strawberry picking options in Columbia and the surrounding Midlands’ area. We’ll let you know what other farm activities might be happening and where you can find other fun things to do nearby. Enjoy the strawberry season in Columbia, SC!

Strawberry picking: Columbia, SC

Before You Go: Top Strawberry Picking Tips

  1. Strawberry patches, and as a result strawberry picking availability, are highly dependent on weather. Most farms won’t have regular hours. You’ll need to check their social media Facebook page or Instagram for picking availability.
  2. Wear sneakers or boots. Fields have ants. Ants bite. A strawberry patch is not the place for flip-flops.
  3. Don’t forget a hat, sunscreen, and water bottles! That sun gets hot fast!
  4. Think about visiting a restroom before you get to the farm. You might have a porta-potty option at the farm, or there might not be an on-site restroom. No one wants to run away from their basket of freshly picked strawberries to try to find a potty.

Cottle Strawberry Farm

9560 Garners Ferry Road, Hopkins, SC 29061| 803.695.1714

One of the most popular places to pick strawberries near Columbia, Cottle Strawberry Farm offers both u-pick and pre-picked berries.

We visited Cottle Strawberry Farm, and you’ll find everything you need to know about this farm in our Cottle Strawberry Farm review.

This farm participates in the SC Agritourism Passport.

cottle strawberry farm agritour

Lever Farm

5057 SC Highway 34, Pomaria, SC | 803.321.5952

Lever Farms has both U-pick and pre-picked strawberries.

They do plan do be open for the 2024 season in early April, but as always, keep an eye on the Lever Farm Facebook page for conditions and availability before you go for spring break and after!

This farm also offers u-pick flowers!

James R. Sease Farms Inc. Strawberry Patch

3911 Augusta Hwy, Gilbert | 803.359.3276

James R. Sease Farms offers both u-pick and pre-picked strawberries.

U-Pick Gallon: $16
Pre-picked gallon: $20

You’ll also find this farm’s berries at farm stands located: Hwy 378 Lexington, Wingard’s Market on Hwy #6 Lexington, Four Oaks Farm on Hwy #1 Lexington, Taylor’s Produce on Augusta Hwy, Gilbert and Randall’s Produce on Hwy #1 Batesburg

Clinton Sease Farm

Clinton Sease Farm Strawberry Patch: 426 Olde Farm Road, Lexington

A popular farm for pumpkins and fall adventures, Clinton Sease Farm also offers spring strawberry picking! Note that the fun playgrounds are not open at this time, but keep your eyes peeled for their Pick and Play events planned for May!

Check the Clinton Sease Farm facebook page for strawberry field updates.

Lucas Ridge Farms Strawberries

7668 Edmund Highway, Pelion, SC

Get u-pick and pre-picked strawberries at Lucas Ridge Farms in Pelion, SC.

U-Pick: $15
Pre-picked: $18

Check the Lucas Ridge Farms Facebook page for hours and dates.
Opening Day – March 30, 2024

Cherry Place Farm

1950 Oakdale Road Rock Hill, SC

Cherry Place Farm is in York County, SC. It’s a little further from Columbia, but, besides picking strawberries you can also visit the on-site farm animals. That sounds like a pretty perfect day trip to us.

If you’re heading to York County, we have a few more ideas about things to do there to help you plan a spectacular day. Here’s our guide to York County things to do!

McCurley Farms

8839 Salley Road, North, SC

McCurley Farms has pre-picked strawberries for $18. They do not offer u-pick. But they do offer lots of other fruits and vegetables for purchase on the farm.

Lush Acres Farm

1875 W. Maple Street Extension, Clinton, SC 

Lush Acres Farm is just over an hour from Columbia, SC. They offer strawberry picking, but also a chance to visit with animals and play on the farm, including on the jumping pillow. Their farm benefits foster children. We absolutely love their wheelchair-accessible raised strawberry beds. Find out more in our Kidding Around Review of Lush Acres Farm from our recent visit!

Want to pick more strawberries?

You have lots more options for strawberries in Greenville, the Upstate, and Western North Carolina. In fact, the strawberry season starts a couple of weeks later in the Upstate and WNC which means you can try a day trip to these farms if the strawberry patches near Columbia are picked-out.

Strawberry Patch

Pick more strawberries in the Upstate

Strawberry Farms near Greenville, SC

What do you make with all your freshly-picked strawberries?

Farmers Markets in Columbia, SC

Love local food? Here’s where to find more!

Columbia’s Farmers Markets

Columbia, SC Sports: Cheer on the Home Team

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Want to bring your family to a sporting event in Columbia, SC? Ready to load up the kids and cheer on your Columbia, SC home team? You have several family-friendly sports team options in Columbia, from collegiate to minor league teams, all year long.

We headed to the ballparks and the stadiums with kids in tow. We jotted down our tips for bringing kids, and we tallied up the great family-friendly amenities. What follows here are the most kid-friendly sporting events where families can cheer for the home team in Columbia, SC while maybe enjoying one of those hotdogs or nacho plates.

More Columbia, SC Home Teams

Want to try supporting another sports team at a home game in Columbia, SC? Here are a few more Columbia, SC home teams!

  • Lexington County Blowfish: Coastal Plain League, summer league baseball at the Lexington County Baseball Stadium
  • Columbia International University Rams: Collegiate basketball, baseball, softball, soccer, and more.
  • Columbia College Koalas: Collegiate golf, women’s basketball, tennis, soccer, and more.
  • Benedict College Tigers: Collegiate sports teams for men and women, including football, basketball, baseball, softball, track, and more.
  • Allen University Yellow Jackets: Collegiate sports including softball, baseball, soccer, basketball, wrestling, and more.
  • USC Gamecocks: In addition to the basketball, baseball, and football mentioned above, the USC Gamecocks also include teams in golf, soccer, tennis, volleyball, and lots more.
  • SC United Bantams: The Bantams are an Under 23 team that participates in the pre-professional league, USL League Two. These games are so fun to watch and provide an exciting and afforable night out for the whole family. Home games are played at The Southeastern Freight Lines Soccer Center and there are special perks for SC United FC youth soccer players like playing in the stadium at halftime of the Bantams games and more! Games start in May so keep an eye on our event calendar so you don’t miss out on the fun!

Looking for more? Here’s our full guide to Things to Do in Columbia, SC.

St. Patrick’s Day (2024): Family-Friendly in Columbia, SC

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Do you want to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in Columbia, SC? This season of all things Irish means festivals, food, parades, crafts, and all kinds of events. Here’s what’s happening around Columbia for Saint Patrick’s Day 2024. 

St. Patrick's Day in Columbia, SC

Irish Fest Camden

222 Broad Street, Camden, SC Historic Camden Revolutionary War Park
Irish Fest Camden Website

Irish Fest Camden: 2024 Info

Saturday, March 2nd, 2024 in Camden, SC Lots of Irish music, pipes, dance, food, and even Irish history presentations. Tickets to Irish Fest Camden are $20 per person, $5 per child ages 2- 12. Free under 2. Please note that if you plan to purchase tickets at the gate, it is CASH ONLY.

St. Pat’s in Five Points

Saturday, March 16th, 2024 Celebrating 42 years, St. Pat’s in Five Points has become a Columbia, SC St. Patrick’s Day tradition. The event features a St. Patrick’s Day parade, lots of music, food, and a children’s play area. General Admission tickets purchased in advance are $30, and $35 at the gate on the day of the event.

Purchase tickets for St. Pat’s in Five Points online.

St. Pat’s in Five Points 2024 Schedule of Events

  • 7:30 am Get to the Green 5k, 10k and 1-mile family fun run
  • 10 am Gates open
  • 10 am St. Pat’s Parade along Devine Street (beginning at Sims Avenue)
  • 10 am – 6 pm Children’s Playland opens (Pot O’ Gold Playland)
  • 11 am – 7 pm Live music begins on multiple stages

The Shindiggity: Sham Rock Jam

Head to Steel Hands Brewing on Sunday, March 17th for a sham-rockin’ good time! This is a family-friendly event from 1 pm – 8 pm that includes live music, vendors, nonprofit booths, and more. Live music begins at 2 pm!

The Sham Rock Jam Schedule of Events/Live Music

  • 2 pm – 3:30 pm: Sean Mills of Machine Funk
  • 4 pm – 5:30 pm: Electric Sparrows
  • 6 pm – 8 pm: Adam Knight’s Buried Alive: Phish Tribute

Tartan Day South: Celtic Festival

April 4th – April 7th, 2024 Cayce, SC Tartan Day South So, it’s technically not for St. Patrick’s Day as this huge Celtic Festival takes place at the beginning of April. However, if you want to enjoy Celtic heritage, this is an event you’ll want to check out. Tartan Day South features live music, Celtic and traditional concerts and dance, as well as Highland Games.

You’ll see sheep dog and bird of prey exhibitions, enjoy traditional foods, pipe bands, kids’ rides and play area, drum circle, car show, learn about Scottish Military History, and much more. Ticket prices will vary depending on what days you’d like to attend. The main event is April 6th. Tickets for that are $20 per person, ages 12 and up. Under 12 is free. The Friday, April 5th Celtic Concert tickets are $10 per person ages 12 and up. Under 12 is free. Purchase Tartan Day South tickets online.  

Columbia, SC St. Patrick’s Day Events and Things to Do

We covered the big festivals already, but here are some more ways to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with crafts, music, food, story times, and more.  

Spring: Columbia, SC

Spring is FUN in Columbia

Columbia, SC Guide to Spring

Take Your Family on a High-Speed Adventure at ZMAX Dragway in Concord, NC

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Thinking about a visit to ZMAX Dragway in Charlotte, NC? When is the last time you stood up to watch something go 300 mph? Been a long time or maybe never? Then you should plan a trip to the ZMAX Dragway for an NHRA National Event.

We got a chance to visit for an NHRA Nationals Event and couldn’t believe all the things we got to experience. And the best part? Kids are just $10. So your 300 mph family adventure just got a lot more budget-friendly. Here’s everything you need to know.

Watch!: Here’s our visit in one quick video

This post contains affiliate links.

The next NHRA event at ZMAX Dragway is coming soon!

Thank you to Explore Cabarrus County for providing tickets so we could bring our readers this review!

entrance to ZMAX Dragwa

Spring Guide to Columbia, SC

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Spring has arrived! So, what is going on this spring? Columbia, SC is full of springtime fun and ways get out and enjoy some of the most beautiful weather. And, we’re covering it all right here so you don’t miss a thing!

Happy Spring Columbia!

Get Outside: Springtime in Columbia, SC

A paved trail for walking and bike riding? Yes, please! Load up those scooters and helmets or grab that stroller and go enjoy that fresh air. Your to do list can probably wait a couple of hours, right?

The riverwalk trails in Columbia are a great place to enjoy spring.

We know the perfect place to play.

Our guide to the best parks and playgrounds in Columbia, SC.

Parks and Playgrounds in Columbia, SC

Playgrounds and spring go hand in hand. Bring the kids out to enjoy the spring weather with slides, swings, and all kinds of things to climb.

Move those feet and enjoy nature. Pack a bag with water and some trail mix, pull on those sneakers, and go enjoy one of Columbia’s great family hiking trails.

Spring Means Strawberries!

Strawberry PIcking Cottle Strawberry Farm

Pick some strawberries!

Everything you need to know about Cottle Strawberry Farm.

Pick Flowers

Go pick spring flowers! There are several flower farms near Columbia, SC where you can pick your own flowers!

Spring Sports

Head to the ballpark for All-American, traditional baseball fun. You have two fabulous choices in Columbia, SC!

Easter Time

Yep, spring means Easter. This year Easter falls on March 31st, 2024. That means all Easter Egg hunts and community events will be happening soon. We created a Columbia Easter Egg Hunt and Events list so you don’t miss anything!

You’ll want to bookmark this one and check back throughout the Easter season as more events are added.

Go find those Easter Eggs.

The biggest list of 2024 Easter Egg Hunts in Columbia, SC.

Easter Egg Hunts in Columbia, SC

Springtime Showers Bring Indoor Play

Indoor Guide to Columbia, SC

Here’s where to play indoors in Columbia, SC

Spring Break Things to Do

Spring break is coming! Our spring break guide is full of ideas for indoor and outdoor fun, plus day trips, spring break camps, and lots more!

Spring break guide to Columbia, SC

Fill your spring break with lots of fun!

Spring Break Things to Do: Columbia, SC