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

SC State Parks Near Columbia SC

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“What will your adventure be today?” reads the sign that greets you as you enter Sesquicentennial State Park. It is the perfect sign, because this park in Columbia, SC is chocked-full of family adventures.

Pick Your Adventure at Sesquicentennial State Park:
Sesquicentennial Splash Pad
Renting Kayaks, SUPs, and Pedal Boats at Sesquicentennial State Park
Lake and trails at Sesqui
Playground and Picnics at Sesquicentennial State Park
The Dog Park at Sesqui
Camping at Sesqui

Like many South Carolina State parks, Sesqui was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps. Many of the buildings built by the CCC are still in use in the park. They date back to the 1930s. Make sure to check out this bit of neat history while you’re in the park.

Splashpad at Sesqui

The Splashpad at Sesquicentennial State Park

The splash pad at Sesqui is such a unique feature for state parks. This fenced splash pad has a variety of water features for kids to enjoy, and we love that there are chairs for the adults to relax and an attached restroom with changing facilities and vending machines.

There is no additional cost to use the splash pad. The splash pad is free with regular park admission.

Sesqui’s splash pad is worth a day trip drive just by itself, in our opinion.

The splash pad is located beside the parking lot. It’ll be on your right as enter the park. It shares a parking lot with the office, playground, and lake area.

Sesqui State Park Splash Pad in Columbia, SC

The Lake at Sesquicentennial State Park: Kayaks, SUPs, and Pedal Boats

While swimming is not permitted at Sesquicentennial State Park, that doesn’t mean there aren’t opportunities to enjoy the lake. Pedal boats, kayaks, and stand-up paddleboards are available to rent at Sesquicentennial State Park at a very affordable price. Pedal boats and SUPs are just $10 and kayaks are only $5 for one hour or $25 for the day. If you’ve ever thought about trying these sports, this is a fabulous way to give it a whirl.

Private kayaks, canoes, and SUPs are allowed on the lake, as well.

Things to know about boat rentals and SUPs at Sesqui

  • Kids under 16 are not allowed on rented boards or boats without an adult. With only 3 participating adults and 7 kids, our group rented a two-person kayak, a pedal boat, and a couple of SUPs. Because the lake is fairly small, we set up on the shore and just took turns with different kids and different boats.
  • These rentals are popular. You cannot reserve in advance, so do be prepared to wait. The park has about 8 pedal boats available, roughly the same number of kayaks, and 4 SUPs.
  • Pedal boats are popular and only rent for one hour at a time, other craft can be rented longer than one hour.
  • To rent a boat, simply go to the park office. You’ll pay and be given a key to unlock your boat. Paddles and life jackets are located at the office and you’ll be directed to grab those and bring them with you to the lake. All that’s left is to walk to the lake, unlock your boat, and head out.
Sesqui shore

Enjoy the Lake from the Shore

Both the picnic area and playground are located beside the lake, offering a pretty and relaxing view. There is also a 1.9-mile trail that circles the lake, with a pretty bridge over Jackson Creek. The trail starts out paved but is mainly gravel with some areas of boardwalk over marshy sections. The path would work well for off-road type strollers, but likely not anything with small wheels.

Along this path you’ll enjoy views of the lake, wildflowers, a small waterfall, and birds.

More Hiking Trails at Sesquicentennial State Park

  • 1/2 mile Nature trail
  • 3.5 Loop Road Trail that circles the park
  • 6.5 mile mountain biking trail

In total, there about 12 miles of trails for hiking and biking, walking and exploring.

Sesqui’s Playground and Picnic Area

Beside the parking lot, and between the park office and the lake, is a wooded area with two playgrounds and lots of picnic tables, plus picnic shelters available to rent. There are also restrooms centrally located in this area.

The playground at Sesquicentennial State Park

Sesqui Dog Park

A dog park is available at Sesquicentennial State Park, but there is an additional fee.

  • Annual permit: Permits are $25/year and are pro-rated depending on the date of purchase.
  • Day permit: $4
  • Park admission is not included in the price of the Dog Park permit.
  • Vaccinations must be up to date, proof of having been spayed or neutered must be presented.

Camping at Sesquicentennial State Park

There are 9 full hook-up RV sites at Sesquicentennial State Park and 69 sites with water and electricity for tents or RVs. In addition, there are a couple of group primitive camping sites that include hammock stands.

Sesqui also has a retreat center that offers dormitory-style group lodging for church, school, or other community outings.

Admission and Details

Admission: $6 for adults and $3.50 for kids ages 6 to 15. Free for kids 5 and under. Seniors age 65 and over get in for $3.75. Don’t forget you can purchase a state park pass annually that will cover admission to all SC State Parks.

The park office is also a store with t-shirts, hats, snacks, and gift shop items available for purchase.

This park is part of the free incentive program to get kids exploring the outdoors! Learn all about it in our review of the Kids in Parks Program

Sesquicentennial State Park
9564 Two Notch Road, Columbia SC 29223

Have you visited Sesquicentennial State Park? What activities did you enjoy?

Things to do Columbia, SC

Check out our awesome list of more things to do in Columbia, SC!

About the Author
Maria Bassett is a former school orchestra teacher, turned homeschool mom. She and her husband homeschool their 3 sons and 1 daughter, who range from 4th grade through 9th grade. Believing children learn best when they are engaged and having fun, this family loves to take their homeschool on the road, around Greenville and beyond.

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