30+ Places For Your Family to Cool Off, Splash Around, and Swim Near Columbia, SC

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Looking for a place to splash, swim, or cool-off in Columbia, SC? Beat the heat this summer in “famously hot” Columbia, SC with some swimming! With temperatures quickly approaching the mid-90’s and only getting hotter, it’s almost impossible to not be around water for much longer. Whether you’re looking for splash pads, public pools, lake and river access, or water parks we’ve got it all! Below you will find an extensive list of outdoor places in and around Columbia to cool off with your family this summer and the good news is, the majority of them are FREE!  

Water safety is so important! Please always be cautious and aware of your children while in and around water. Some of the places listed may not have on-duty lifeguards. Swim at your own risk and be sure to always check for dangers, wear lifejackets when appropriate, and stay alert.    

Here’s Where to Cool Off in Columbia:
Splash pads and spray pools in Columbia, SC
Public Pools in Columbia, SC
Natural Swimming Spots in Columbia, SC: Lakes, rivers, and creeks
Columbia, SC Water Parks

Heading towards Upstate, SC? We have another list of places to cool off, swim and splash near Greenville, SC.

Kids playing at a splashpad in Columbia, SC
Sesqui State Park Splash Pad

Splash Pads and Spray Pools In or Near Columbia, SC  

There are several parks in Columbia that include not only play structures but water play areas as well. I can’t think of a better summer combo than that! 

Corley Park 

Address: 210 Corley St., Lexington, SC 29072
Hours: Open Memorial Day Weekend until Labor Day Weekend from 11 am – 8 pm
Cost: Free
Description: Features a small playground, restrooms, and spray pool. 

Drew Park Splash Pad and Fountain

Address: 2101 Walker Solomon Way, Columbia, SC 
Hours: Monday – Saturday from 12 pm – 8 pm
Cost: Free
Description: This park is complete with a spray pad, water fountain, playground, walking track, and gazebo. 

Edisto Discovery Park

Address: 1914 Wiley St., Columbia, SC 29205
Hours: Monday – Friday from 10 am – 12 pm and 4 pm – 6 pm 
Cost: Free
Description: Along with a splash pad, at this park you will also find a basketball court, playground, and community center.  

Elmwood Roy Lynch Park

Address: 900 Abbeville St., Columbia, SC 29201
Hours: Daily from 6 am – 9 pm 
Cost: Free
Description: Here you will find a large splash pad, beautiful butterfly garden, zipline, and two unique nature-themed playgrounds. Read all about Elmwood Roy Lynch Park in our review!

Splashpad at Elmwood Roy Lynch Park

Emily Douglas Park

Address: 2500 Wheat St., Columbia, SC 29205
Hours: Monday – Friday from 10 am – 12 pm and 4 pm – 6 pm
Cost: Free
Description: This park offers not only a splash pad, but a fenced-in dog park, 2 jungle gyms, swings, and a decent amount of shade.

Felton C. Benton/Springdale Park 

Address: 2915 Platt Springs Rd., Springdale, SC 29170
Hours: Monday – Friday from 10 am – 1 pm
Cost: Free 
Description: Complete with restrooms, a splash pad, picnic area and basketball court. 

Heathwood Park

Address: 800 Abelia Road, Columbia, SC 29205
Hours: Monday – Friday from 10 am – 12 pm and 4 pm – 6 pm
Cost: Free
Description: This park can be found within the Heathwood Neighborhood and features a picnic shelter, tennis courts, swings, seesaws, a jungle gym, restrooms, and water spray area.  

Hyatt Park

Address: 950 Jackson Avenue, Columbia, SC 
Hours: Daily from 7 am – 9 pm
Cost: Free
Description: Hyatt Park was recently renovated and reopened in November 2021. Along with the splash pad, this park now offers a brand new playground, walking trails, sculpture garden, and boardwalk.  

Lorick Park

Address: 1600 Lorick Avenue, Columbia, SC 29203
Hours: Monday – Saturday from 10 am – 12 pm and 4 pm – 6 pm
Cost: Free
Description: Here you will find a splash pad, baseball and basketball courts and picnic shelters. 

Mays Park

Address: 1521 Deans Lane, Columbia, SC 29205
Hours: Park open daily from 7 am – 9 pm, water spray area must be scheduled
Cost: Free
Description: The water spray area will only be turned on by request. To have water activated, please call the Park & Rec Department on weekdays between 8:30 am – 5 pm. You can schedule water activation for weekdays and/or weekend use. At Mays Park you will find a lot of shade, water spray area, playground, tennis courts, and picnic tables. 

Melrose Park

Address: 1500 Fairview Rd., Columbia, SC 29205
Hours: Monday – Friday from 10 am – 12 pm and 4 pm – 6 pm
Cost: Free 
Description: This park offers a beautiful and shady landscape, a water spray area, swings, picnic tables, and playscape. 

Pacific Park

Address: 200 Wayne St., Columbia, SC 29201
Hours: Park open daily from 6 am – 10 pm, water spray area must be scheduled
Cost: Free
Description: The water spray area will only be turned on by request. To have water activated, please call the Park & Rec Department on weekdays between 8:30 am – 5 pm. You can schedule water activation for weekdays and/or weekend use. This park features a splash pad, street parking, a basketball court, playground, and a baseball field. 

Pinehurst Park

Address: 2300 Pinehurst Rd, Columbia, SC 29204
Hours: Monday – Saturday from 10 am – 12 pm and 4 pm – 6 pm
Cost: Free
Description: Complete with a spray pool, small play area, and community center with restrooms and a water fountain. 

Saluda Splash at Saluda Shoals

Address: 5605 Bush River Road, Columbia, SC 29212 
Hours: 

  • April 23 – June 2: 12 pm – 5 pm except Saturdays open 10 am – 6 pm
  • June 3 – August 15: Monday, Wednesday, Friday, from 9 am – 12 pm, Tuesday, and Thursday, from 3 pm – 6 pm, Saturday from 10 am – 6 pm, Sunday from 12 pm – 5 pm
  • August 16 – September 5: Saturdays from 10 am – 6 pm, Sundays from 12 pm – 5 pm 

Here’s our Kidding Around Review of Saluda Shoals Park

Cost: $5 parking fee plus $3/person wristband for the splash pad, but you can purchase a 15-visit splash pad pass for $40 
Description: Here you will find a large splash pad with a variety of water spraying equipment to keep your kiddos busy for a while. After playing at the splash pad, head over to either of the two playgrounds within Saluda Shoals, go hiking, ride a bike, or even explore the Saluda River. There is so much fun to be had! 

Saluda Shoals Splash Pad
Saluda Shoals Splash Pad

Sims Park 

Address: 3500 Duncan St., Columbia, SC 
Hours: Monday – Friday from 10 am – 12 pm and 4 pm – 6 pm
Cost: Free
Description: Offers a spray pool, large playground, basketball court, picnic area, and a good amount of shade. 

Splash pad at Sesqui State Park 

Address: 9564 Two Notch Rd, Columbia, SC 29223
Hours: 8 am – sunset 
Cost: Free with park admission
Description: There are so many options for fun to be had at Sesqui! The splash pad is a good size and has several different spraying features that are sure to entertain your children for a while. You can also find a playground across the parking lot from the splash pad, kayak rentals, walking trails, camping, and more. 

See why we love Sesqui in our Kidding Around Review of Sesquicentennial State Park.

Splashpad at Sesqui
Splash pad at Sesqui

St. Anna’s Park

Address: 1315 Liberty Hill Ave., Columbia, SC
Hours: Park is open daily from 7 am – 9 pm, splash pad hours not specified 
Cost: Free
Description: Offers a splash pad, basketball court, playground, picnic tables, and large field for open-ended fun. 

Waterfall Junction at Riverbanks Zoo

Address: 1300 Botanical Parkway, West Columbia, SC 29169
Hours: Daily from 9 am – 5 pm, water features turn off 15 min before closing 
Cost: Included in annual zoo membership or admission to the zoo/botanical gardens – $18.99 for children, $21.99 for adults, 2 and under free
Description: In the heat of the summer this is a popular place to be! This year, the splash pad has been upgraded with a soft, rubber surface. Within this 3-acre set-up, you will find playhouses, a treehouse, a large field with toys and games, a waterfall, and 2 splash pads. 

Waterfall Junction
Waterfall Junction

Willie B. Caracter Park

Address: 804 Hendrix St., Lexington, SC 29072
Hours: Daily from 7 am – 9 pm
Cost: Free
Description: Here you will find a misting fountain, playground, rope climber, hopscotch court, and picnic area. 

See more places to cool off! Back to the top.

Public Pools for Swiming Near Columbia, SC   

Life is cool by the pool! Some of these pools offer swim lessons for an additional fee. You can call ahead to schedule or even ask once you’re there.

Eastover Park Pool

Address:1031 Main St., Eastover, SC 29044
Hours: Beginning June 8 open Wednesday – Saturday from 1 pm – 6 pm
Cost: Free
Description: Swim lessons are available here (for a fee) as well as a small playground. 

Greenview Pool and Aquatic Center 

Address: 6700 David St, Columbia, SC 29203
Hours: Tuesday – Friday open 1 pm – 6 pm, Saturday open 10 am – 6 pm, Sunday open 2 pm – 6 pm
Cost: $3 for 12 and under, $4 for 13 and older, Option for season pass 
Description: At this multi-sport complex you will find an outdoor pool with splash pad and slides, several ball fields, tennis courts, walking trails, a playground, and more! 

Hopkins Park Pool

Address: 150 Hopkins Park Rd., Hopkins, SC 29044
Hours: Beginning June 8 open Wednesday – Saturday from 1 pm – 6 pm
Cost: Free
Description: This pool is set up like a lap pool, but offers unlimited family-friendly fun!   

Maxcy Gregg Pool

Address: 1650 Park Circle, Columbia, SC 29201
Hours: Open May 28 – September 5, Monday – Friday from 1 pm – 7 pm, Saturday from 10 am – 6 pm, Sunday from 2 pm – 6 pm
Cost: $3 for 12 and under, $4 for ages 13 and up, Option for a season pass 
Description: The pool has recently been renovated and is a well-designed lap pool with removal starting blocks making public/family-swim easy! 

Quail Valley Swim & Racquet Club

Address: 254 Hunters Blind Dr., Columbia, SC 29212
Hours:

  • May 21 – May 22 open 11 am – 8 pm, May 28 – May 30 open 11 am – 8 pm
  • Regular Hours begin June 4: Weekdays from 12 pm – 8 pm, Weekends from 11 am – 8 pm 

Cost: Must become a pool member, but not required to live in the neighborhood, Full facility memberships are $555 
Description: Once a member, you will have access to this olympic sized swimming pool that features 2 diving boards and ranges from 3 ft – 12 ft deep. Your membership will also include access to the tennis courts, gas grills and picnic tables, and the clubhouse. 

St. Andrews Park Pool

Address: 920 Beatty Rd., Columbia, SC 29210
Hours: Beginning June 7 open Tuesday – Saturday from 1 pm – 6 pm 
Cost: Free
Description: Here you will find a pool, playground, tennis courts, and soccer and baseball fields. 

Trenholm Park Pool

Address: 3900 Covenant Rd., Columbia, SC 29204
Hours: Beginning June 7 open Tuesday – Saturday from 1 pm – 6 pm
Cost: Free
Description: This is a large recreational facility that offers a swimming pool, newly renovated pool house, playground, tennis courts, baseball and softball field, covered picnic shelters, and indoor gym.

See more places to cool off! Back to the top.

Natural Swimming Spots and Swimming Holes Near Columbia

Take advantage of all the natural bodies of water surrounding Columbia like lakes, streams, and river access points for swimming.

Dreher Island State Park

Address: 3677 State Park Rd., Prosperity, SC 29127
Hours: Daily from dawn to dusk 
Cost: Kids age 5 and under are free, $1/person from ages 6-15, $3/adult age 15 and older
Description: While there are no dedicated swim areas at Dreher Island, you are allowed to swim anywhere along the lake shoreline except at bridges and boat ramps. In addition to swimming, you can also kayak, camp, golf, boat, hike, and more at this state park. 

14-Mile Creek Trail

Address: 1104 North Lake Dr., Lexington, SC 29072 
Hours: 7 am – sunset 
Cost: Free
Description: Calling all nature lovers! This trail is for you! With a creek running throughout the majority of the shady trail it is the perfect place to escape city life and dip your toes in the water. This activity would be best suited for older children and adults. The trail is not stroller friendly and has no restrooms or water fountains. 

Guignard Park 

Address: 964 Axtell Dr., Cayce, SC 29033
Hours: Daily from 8 am – 8 pm
Cost: Free
Description: Here you will find a stream running through the park to splash around in and keep cool, as well as a playground, picnic tables, and a hiking trail.  

Lake Murray Public Park 

Address: 1832-1834 N Lake Dr, Lexington, SC 29072
Hours: Open April – September Weekdays from 11 am – 8 pm and Weekends from 10 am – 8 pm
Cost: Parking is $5/car, CASH ONLY 
Description: This public park offers countless picnic tables and shelters, public grills, a beach, roped-off swimming area, and on-site security. You can also walk the Lake Murray Dam from here!  

Lake Murray Public Park

Lake Wateree State Park

Address: 881 State Park Rd., Winnsboro, SC 29180
Hours: Daily from sunrise to sunset
Cost: Kids age 5 and under are free, $1/person ages 6-15, $3/adult age 15 and older
Description: This state park features a swim at your own risk swimming area with a beach, a newly opened modern playground, nature trails, biking, bird watching, paddling, boating, fishing, geocaching, and more! 

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Water Parks Close to Columbia, SC 

Greenview Pool and Aquatic Center 

While not officially a waterpark, the Greenview Aquatic Center offers an outdoor pool with splash pad/spray pools and water slides.

Address: 6700 David St, Columbia, SC 29203
Hours: Tuesday – Friday open 1 pm – 6 pm, Saturday open 10 am – 6 pm, Sunday open 2 pm – 6 pm
Cost: $3 for 12 and under, $4 for 13 and older, Option for season pass 
Description: At this multi-sport complex you will find an outdoor pool, several ball fields, tennis courts, walking trails, a playground, and more! 
Aquatic Center

Palmetto Falls Water Park

Located at Fort Jackson, this water park is open to civilians.
Address: 6511 Strom Thurmond Boulevard, Bldg 6511, Fort Jackson, SC
Hours: Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday 12 pm to 5 pm, and Friday and Saturday 11 am to 6 pm
Cost: $17 for civilians, $13 for DoD ID Cardholders, and $15 for DoD ID Cardholder’s guests.
Description: Lazy river, large family pool, two water slides, kiddie pool, and splashdown pool.
Palmetto Falls Water Park

Unfortunately, there are no larger public water parks in Columbia, however, here are a few we found within a 45 min – 1.5 hour car ride:  

Carolina Harbor at Carowinds

Address: 14523 Carowinds Blvd., Charlotte, NC 28273
Hours:

  • May 27th – June 10: Friday – Sunday from 11 am – 6 pm
  • June 10 – August 20: Open daily from 11 am – 6 pm 
  • August 20 – September 5 : Open Saturday and Sunday from 11 am – 5 pm

Cost: Under 3 is free, 3 years and older tickets starting from $45/person to include both Carowinds and Carolina Harbor, military and senior citizens can get discount with valid ID, Option for season passes 
Description: This is a huge waterpark with so many options for staying cool! Here you will find a 3-acre kids area, several water slides, a wave pool, large play structures, and the southeast’s longest mat-racing slide! The amusement park side of Carowinds is also included in tickets. This place is sure to create lasting summer memories for you and your family! 
Carolina Harbor at Carowinds

Neptune Island Waterpark 

Address: 1109 14th St., Hartsville, SC 29550
Hours:

  • May 14 – May 28: Saturday from 10 am – 7 pm, Sunday from 12 pm – 6 pm
  • May 28 – July 31: Monday – Saturday from 10 am – 7 pm, Sunday 12 pm – 6 pm
  • August 6 – September 5: Saturday from 10 am – 7 pm, Sunday from 12 pm – 6 pm 

Cost: $3.50 for 2 and younger, $16.99 under 48” tall AND seniors, military, first responders with valid ID, $18.99 above 48” tall, Option for season passes 
Description: This awesome water park features a lazy river, wave pool, splash pad, several slides, and more! 
Neptune Island Waterpark

Orangeburg County Aquatic Park

Address: 2550 St. Matthews Rd NE, Orangeburg, SC 29118
Hours:

  • June 13 – June 27: Saturdays from 11 am – 7 pm
  • July 3 – August 8: Friday – Saturday from 11 am – 7 pm

Cost: Free for Columbia and Orangeburg County YMCA members, $4 under 47” tall, $8 above 48” tall
Description: The aquatic center is located at the Orangeburg YMCA and features a lazy river, water slides, a pool, children’s play center, and a toddler pool. 
Orangeburg County Aquatic Park

See more places to cool off! Back to the top.

Enjoy your summer and don’t forget the sunscreen! 

Kayla Simmons
About the Author
Kayla grew up right outside of Charleston, SC and is a proud graduate of the University of South Carolina. She has lived in Columbia for a combination of 5 years. Kayla has a background working with special needs children, but now enjoys nothing more than being a stay-at-home mom of two. She enjoys keeping her kids busy by finding unique play spaces and events, involving them in hands-on activities and watching them learn about the world through play. In her free time she enjoys reading, exercise and spending quality time with her family and friends.

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