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Posts Tagged ‘Summer’

6 Floating Obstacle Courses at Aqua Parks in Georgia and South Carolina

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Are you curious about Aqua Parks? Need something different but also super fun to cool off during the summer and get out all your kids’ energy? Here are six floating obstacle courses in South Carolina and Georgia to do just that!

Floating obstacle courses are one of my new favorite summer activities. Here’s why:

  • I get to make my Wipeout and ninja warrior dreams come true
  • I get in an awesome workout
  • My kids are obsessed with and so happy to enjoy these aqua parks
  • My kids are completely wiped out afterward because it’s super exhausting
  • They are excellent for both kids and adults!

If you haven’t tried one of these, I’ve compiled a list for you so you can try them all too! I’ve noted the differences between the places to help you out in choosing your adventure. I’ve been to all of the places listed below so these are firsthand reviews and comments. Most are open all summer through September, depending on the weather.

Splash Island
Splash Island at Big Water Marina

Who says you need a lazy river and wave pool to have a water park, just head to one of these aqua parks on a lake! So, if you have been wondering “Where are the water obstacle courses near me?”, don’t worry. We have all the information you need!

Water Obstacle Courses Near Me: Upstate, South Carolina

Splash Island at Big Water Marina

This huge floating obstacle course opened in the summer of 2022 on Lake Hartwell. It is like a theme park on the water! The Splash Island floating water park is situated at Big Water Marina and Campground, which has a sandy beach, hammocks, chairs, shaded spots, tiny cabins, TV pads, and a delicious restaurant, J.R. Cash’s on-site (it has a pirate ship playground!).

Cost: $15/hour; $25/two hours; kids must be 42″ tall (under 46″ are allowed with an adult)
Hours: Thursday-Sunday from 10 am – 6 pm and the two-hour sessions are 10 am – Noon, 1-3 pm, and 4-6 pm.
Distance from Greenville: One hour
Highlights: Sandy beach, restaurant, hydrobike/SUP/kayak rentals, tiny cabins for rent, restaurant with a playground
Address: 320 Big Water Road, Starr, SC
Kidding Around Review of Big Water

Big Water Marina Beach
Splash Island at Big Water Marina

Aqua Zone at The Shores at Asbury

The Shores at Asbury has their giant Aqua Zone floating obstacle course on Lake Hartwell also. It’s situated on a huge sandy beach, with sand imported from Florida, kayak and SUP rentals, and a restaurant on site. They also have a kids obstacle course for kids who are under 47″.

Cost: $18/hour or $25/two hours if bought online; $20/hour on-site; $35/all-day pass, $120/family four pass for all-day access; follow on Facebook for deals on tickets
Hours: 11 am – 7 pm daily, closed Noon-1 pm, and 3 – 4 pm for safety checks and lifeguard breaks
Distance from Greenville: One hour
Highlights: White sandy beach with tents and lounge chairs, kids floating obstacle course, lawn games, a restaurant
Address: 1600 Asbury Park Road, Anderson, SC
Kidding Around Review of the Shores at Asbury

Floating obstacle course at the Shores of Asbury
Aqua Zone Shores at Asbury

SouthTown Wake Park

Located in Rock Hill, SC, SouthTown Wake Park has wake boarding plus a big floating obstacle course. This is a great activity to tire those kids (and adults) out, as it takes a ton of energy to climb and jump over the obstacles. Kids have to be 7 years old to participate on the aqua course.

Cost: $18 for 45 minutes
Hours: Open daily Noon-6 pm
Distance from Greenville: 1.5 hours
Highlights: Big aqua park, wakeboarding, disc golf, cornhole
Address: 255 E Rambo Rd Rock Hill, SC 29730
Kidding Around Review of SouthTown Wake Park

Aqua Parks in Charleston, SC

Charleston Aqua Park

The Charleston Aqua Park is super cool because it not only has an aqua park but also the only ropes course over water in the country. It is also one of the area’s only floating water parks. The owner assured us there aren’t gators at Trophy Lake, too. We had such a blast at this park and the water felt so good on a hot, summer day. Plus, it’s really close to the beautiful Angel Oak Tree!

Cost: $19/hour; discounts available during the week and/or if you book both the aqua park and ropes course
Hours: Open daily 10 am – 6 pm
Distance from Greenville: 3 hours and 20 minutes
Highlights: Big aqua park, a little beach, and swimming area for smaller kids, only over-water ropes course in the country, kids summer camps (you can send a kid there for a day while you’re on vacation), covered picnic areas, other water activity rentals
Address: 3050 Marlin Road, Johns Island SC
Kidding Around Review of Charleston Aqua Park

Charleston Aqua Park
Charleston Aqua Park

Aqua Parks in Georgia

Marina Station Water Park

This is one of the most family-friendly aqua parks in Georgia. The park is located on Lake Chatuge in Hiawassee, GA, and also has a sandy beach with chairs and umbrellas for rent. They just upgraded their equipment and life jackets for 2023 and it’s so much better than previous years. They also have a smaller kids course for ages 4-7 years old, making for a great floating playground. We really enjoyed our time at Marina Station Water Park.

Cost: $18/hour or $42/all day; kids have to be 45″ tall or 7 years old for the big course; $150/family of four all-day pass
Hours: Open daily 10 am – 7 pm (last ticket sold at 6:30 pm)
Distance from Greenville: 2 hours and 20 minutes
Highlights: Huge splash island, kids floating obstacle course, sandy beach, chair, and tent rentals, offers season passes
Address: 3379 US Highway 76, Hiawassee, GA
Marina Station Water Park

View of the obstacle course at Splash Island aqua park in Georgia
Splash Island at The Ridges Resort in GA

Terminus Wake Park

We loved the aqua course at this outdoor adventure park near Cartersville, Georgia. You can also go wakeboarding here but I’m not coordinated enough for that. There’s also a lot to do in the Cartersville-Bartow area to make your trip here an overnight adventure.

Terminus Wake Park in Cartersville, Georgia.
Terminus Wake Park

Cost: $24-$28 a person depending on if it’s a weekday or weekend/holiday
Hours: Open daily usually from Noon-8 pm but check the website for updated hours.
Distance from Greenville: 3 hours and 15 minutes
Highlights: Huge aqua course with body slides, climbing wall, cabanas with beanbag chairs for parents/spectators, wakeboarding, big bathroom for changing
Address: 171 LakePoint Pkwy, Cartersville, GA 
Kidding Around Review of Cartersville-Bartow (includes Terminus Wake Park)

Would you try out one of these aqua parks? Did we miss your favorite place? Let us know in the comments


Where to go swimming and play in splash pads near Greenville, SC.

If you are looking for more places to swim, check out our Guide to Where to Swim and Splash This Summer!


What You Need to Know for a Day at Carolina Panthers Training Camp

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The Carolina Panthers Training Camp is a unique opportunity to watch a professional football team up close, and it should be on every Spartanburg family’s bucket list! After a two-year absence from the training facility at Wofford, the Carolina Panthers are back in Spartanburg.

We’ve got all the info you’ll need if you plan on going to watch the Carolina Panthers train at Wofford this year!

Play 60 Park in Spartanburg, SC
Play 60 Carolina Panthers Park in Spartanburg, SC

This article includes:
How to Attend Panthers Training Camp in Spartanburg, SC
Things to Do in Spartanburg During Training Camp
How to Get a Panthers Autograph
“Back Together” Free Panthers Fan Event in Spartanburg, SC
See the Panthers in Charlotte, NC at Fan Fest

Carolina Panthers Training Camp In Spartanburg, SC

The 2023 Carolina Panthers’ Training Camp will be held July 22nd – August 10th, 2023

When Carolina Panthers Training Camp roars into Wofford College in Spartanburg, fans of professional football should be sure to head to this beautiful campus to watch!

Whether you have multiple trips under your belt or are visiting for the first time, this information will be handy to help you make the most of a day watching the Carolina Panthers Train.

Carolina Panthers Training Camp
Carolina Panthers Training Camp 2016 Wofford College Spartanburg, SC

What to Expect at a Carolina Panthers Training Session

Not sure what to expect? Here’s a video of a 2021 practice session.

2023 Carolina Panthers Training Camp Schedule

Most training sessions are at 10:15 am but see the schedule below. Attendance is completely free, but NEW this year, you will need to reserve your free Panthers training tickets on Ticket Master.

There is a great parking map available on the Panthers Training Camp site.

The free Carolina Panthers’ training schedule is as follows:

  • July 26th, 2023 at 10:15 am
  • July 27th, 2023 at 10:15 am
  • July 31st, 2023 at 10:25 am
  • August 1st, 2023 at 10:15 am
  • August 4th, 2023 at 10:15 am
  • August 5th, 2023 at 10:15 am
  • August 6th, 2023 at 10:15 am
  • August 8th, 2023 at 10:15 am
  • August 9th, 2023 at 10:15 am (Joint Practice with the New York Jets)
  • August 20th, 2023 at 9 am (Joint Practice with the New York Jets)

There are two events not happening at Wofford Field. These are: July 29th, 2023 at 11 am (Back Together Saturday at Gibbs Field) and August 2nd, 2023 at 7 pm (Fan Fest Charlotte, NC- tickets are $5)

Attending The Carolina Panthers’ Training Session in Spartanburg, SC

Seating is first come – first serve along the grassy hillside of the training practice field at the back of the campus. Strollers, coolers, and non-alcoholic beverages are welcome at the training camps, as well as sunshade umbrellas and folding chairs. Pop-up tents are not permitted.

In the event of inclement weather, practice times may be shifted or canceled. Updates for training camp status will be posted by the Panthers on Twitter.

Can I bring food to the Panthers Training Camp?

Yes! Coolers are allowed, with food and non-alcoholic beverages. No glass is permitted for safety reasons. You can also bring backpacks and bags, strollers, blankets, folding chairs, etc.

Visiting Spartanburg, SC for Training Camp

Fans of the Panthers will be visiting Spartanburg, some for the first time. The training camps are just a few hours in the morning, so that leaves the rest of the day to explore!

Guest Itinerary for Spartanburg Visitors to Carolina Panther Training Camp

Here are a few great things to do from Kidding Around Spartanburg:

  • Visit the Panthers themed Play 60 Park where kids can train like the pros. FREE
  • Summer equals kids wanting to splash around in the water, and who can blame them? Luckily Spartanburg has several splash pads and a waterpark to enjoy while you are visiting Spartanburg!
  • Grab the family, and hit the road, grabbing breakfast from a local coffee shop on the way to your chosen splash spot. Enjoy the sounds of kids laughing and having fun!
  • When lunchtime hits, you can grab another perennial summer favorite! We’ve got a list of local places where readers love to grab a hot dog, and then you can return to the splashing!
  • A long day in the sun will make everyone tired, so why not grab a family meal of BBQ to eat at the place where you are staying. If everyone has the energy and room in their bellies, you can treat the family to a frozen dessert at a local favorite!

Make The Most of Your Time With This Weekend Itinerary For A Trip to Spartanburg, SC

Where to Stay in Spartanburg, SC

Getting An Autograph From A Carolina Panther

Autographs are back this year! Fans will be hopefully able to get an autograph after practices are over. Look for the signs that will direct you to the area along the Field 1 fence. All players don’t necessarily stop there but there is certainly the potential for players to stop and sign autographs for fans.

Attending The Carolina Panthers’ Fan Fest in Charlotte, NC

Fan Fest is August 2nd at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte. They have entertainment, inflatables, fun things for kids, and fireworks. Tickets are $5 a person.

Here is the schedule:
5:30 pm Gates Open
6 pm Entertainment Begins
7 pm Practice Begins
~9:15 pm Fireworks and laser show

Carolina Panthers Training Camp News

  • The Carolina Panthers have launched an app to help fans keep up do date and informed of all the things going on with the team.
  • Head Coach Frank Reich will take part in the training camp practices at Wofford this summer.
  • Rookie Quarterback first overall pick Bryce Young will also be at training camp, giving fans an early chance to likely see a new leader in action.

For more fun to be found when visiting the Carolina Panthers hometown, Check out the Kidding Around Ultimate Guide To Fun With Kids in Charlotte

12 Completely Free Things to do in Columbia, SC This Summer

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Are you searching for free things to do this summer in Columbia, SC? Whether you’re looking for money-saving outdoor adventures, ideas for cooling off around water, or if you’d rather stay inside and enjoy the air conditioning, we’ve got tons of great ideas for you! 

Free things to do in summer: Columbia SC

Great Deal: Toucan Tuesdays at Riverbanks Zoo 

Take advantage of BOGO admission and ICEE’s at Riverbanks Zoo every Tuesday from now through August 8, 2023. We know, this one isn’t complete;y free, but it’s too good of a deal not to include on our list!

To participate in Toucan Tuesdays, guests will need to bring at least two non-perishable food items to receive buy-one-get-one-free on admission and ICEE’s. 

1. Home Depot Kids’ Workshop

Head to your local Home Depot on the first Saturday of the month for the free Home Depot kids’ workshop. On August 5th, 2023 kids will build a treasure chest!

Free fun at Home Depot Kids Workshop

2. Cool Off in the Splash Pads 

There are several fantastic splash pads to choose from all throughout the Midlands and the majority of them are completely FREE! From downtown parks such as Emily Douglas and Elmwood Roy Lynch to Will B. Caracter Park in Lexington, splash pads are a great way to beat the famously hot heat! Be sure to double-check the splash pad operational times before you go as some have limited hours.

For more information on splash pads take a look at our HUGE list of more than 30 places you and your family can cool off this summer! 

3. Admire Artwork at The Columbia Museum of Art

Looking for something to do inside this summer? On August 3, 2023, residents can enjoy free admission to The Columbia Museum of Art, courtesy of Dominion Energy! Head to Boyd Plaza in the evening for more free fun such as live music, food vendors, and more. 

4. Enjoy an Outdoor Movie

There is just something about an outdoor family-friendly movie that screams summer fun! Doko Meadows Park is hosting another free summer movie series all summer long:

  • August 19 – Moana 
  • September 16 – Double Feature! Top Gun & Maverick 
  • October 21 – Hotel Transylvania 

Looking for more options to see low-cost summer movies? Check out our Free Movies for Summer for all the details! 

5. Play a Shady Round of Disc Golf

During the middle of summer, being in shaded spaces is about the only way to make the outdoors bearable. Stay active in the fresh air by playing a round of disc golf this summer!

Almost all disc golf courses can be found twisting and turning in and out of shady, wooded areas so keeping cool is a lot more manageable. There are great disc golf courses at Owens Field and Earlewood

6. Stroll Through the Farmers’ Markets 

Columbia is home to tons of fantastic farmers’ markets! Most of them happen weekly and some are larger than others. One of the most popular farmers’ markets, The Soda City Market, takes place every Saturday and makes for such a fun, family-friendly morning!

Here you can find more than just produce, there are also local crafters, food trucks, fresh flowers, street music, and so much more. Don’t forget to take a look at The Best Farmers Markets all around Columbia

8. Participate in an Event at the Library 

The Richland Library is full of great activities and events for kiddos of all ages! Enjoy the cool air conditioning while also trying out a story time, craft activity, family game night event, or just go to let your kiddos discover new books and play with the educational toys!

Don’t forget to participate in the library’s summer reading challenge

Children's Area in Richland County Libraries

9. Explore a Shaded Park 

We know what you’re thinking, an outdoor playground in the Columbia summer sun is the last place you want to go, but we know of a few shaded parks that we think will be a perfect fit:

  • Citadel Park – large green space, tall pine trees, plenty of seating, separate play space for toddlers 
  • Doko Meadows – huge shade coverings, artificial turf, fenced in, restrooms 
  • Hollywood Park – tons of climbing structures, shade coverings, large green space, covered shelter  
Parks: Columbia, SC with playgrounds and fun places to explore

Don’t stop there! Find more great places to play!

The Kidding Around Columbia Parks and Playgrounds Guide

10. Swim and Splash at Lake Murray Public Park 

At Lake Murray Public Park you will find both a beach area and lake swimming access, making the perfect place to play then jump in and cool off! Along with swimming you can also kayak, fish, and boat.

Keep in mind that there are two places to park when visiting Lake Murray. One lot is completely FREE and the other parking area will cost $5, cash only.

The free lot can be found just past the main parking area and does require a little bit longer of a walk, but if you come prepared with wagons, strollers, or just overall light packing, it is totally doable even with kids! 

Lake Murray beach in Lexington, SC

11. Cool Off at a Public Pool 

Life is cool at the pool and there are several completely free public pools in and near Columbia! 

12. Check Out Events at Icehouse Amphitheater 

Icehouse Amphitheater has several upcoming events this summer that are completely free. From outdoor movies to live music and more, you won’t want to miss these fun, kid-friendly events! 

  • July 21 – Frozen II
  • July 28 – Top Gun Maverick 
  • August 31 – The Hitmen 
  • September 7 – Cat5 Band 

More free things

Kids Eat Free in Columbia, SC

Grab a free meal for the kids!

Kids eat free in Columbia, SC

Summer in Columbia, SC

Summer Guide to Columbia,, SC

The Ultimate Summer Guide to Columbia, SC

Find all the fun in one place!

What is your favorite free summer activity in Columbia? 

Your Paddleboard Adventure is Waiting at California Republic SUP: Lake Murray

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Did you know that you can rent stand up paddleboards at California Republic SUP on Lake Murray? Using a stand up paddleboard (SUP) is not as hard as it looks! It’s an awesome family adventure. You can rent boards for just $25 for 2 hours on beautiful Lake Murray. Plus with restrooms and a picnic area on site, you have everything you need for an awesome day out on the lake.

Our family started paddling last year and we’ve taken our boards all over South Carolina and even on road trips up to the coast of Lake Superior in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. It’s a lot of fun! So when we saw local mom, Heather N. on Facebook sharing her paddleboard adventure on Lake Murray with California Republic SUP, we knew we had to share this very affordable opportunity with our readers. Thanks, Heather for talking to us and sharing your photo!

Rent paddleboards Lake Murray in Columbia, SC
Photo Credit Heather N.

What is a Paddle Board or SUP?

A paddle board and SUP are the same thing. SUP stands for “Stand Up Paddleboard.” The boards are hard, made of foam, fiberglass, or even wood. There are also inflatable stand up paddlebaords. Paddlers can sit, kneel or stand on their boards as they paddle.

At first standing up feels a little wobbly, but it really isn’t difficult. Want to stand up? My tip is do it quickly. You’d think you should try to stand up slowly. But in reality, that’s more time to lose your balance. Just move to your knees and then stand up. Find your balance once you’re standing, not as your standing.

Renting SUPs on Lake Murray

Where can you rent paddleboards on Lake Murray? California Republic SUP! Renting a paddleboard is a great way to try the sport and its also extremely convenient. You don’t have to transport the board or figure out where you’re putting the board in the water. You just show up and the boards are ready and waiting for you.

California Republic SUP rents boards for just $25 for 2 hours on the lake. You’ll find them at SouthShore Marina in Leesville, just a little over a half hour from downtown Columbia.

California Republic SUP: Mom Review

Local mom, Heather N. took her 8-year-old son paddleboarding with California Republic SUP and they had a fabulous time! She says owner “Steve is easy going and passionate about paddleboarding. He runs summer camps and is great with kids!”

And, if you have no idea what to do with this board thing, no worries! Heather says, “He will give a demo before you paddle out. The lake is so peaceful and it’s not as hard as you think it’s going to be. You can sit, kneel or stand.” 

I second this. Using an SUP is definitely not as hard as it looks.

Heather told us her 8 year-old was confident and able to paddle on his own without help. But, parents should know that the adult boards are big enough for a child to ride along instead of paddling their own board if that’s better for your family.

If you want to bring along your phone to capture some family memories, Steve sells a waterproof phone case so you can safely bring your phone along. I highly recommend these. We own one for our paddle board adventures. They are great because, in addition to being waterproof, they float. And, the front and back are clear and soft, so you can use the phone without removing it from the pack. Steve also has leashes for sunglasses available for sale.

Safety on the Lake

Life jackets are included in your rental AND they are required. The marina location means you do need to keep an eye out for boat traffic while you’re paddling. No matter where you paddle it’s always important to be alert and aware of your surroundings!

Things to Bring When You Paddleboard: California Republic SUP

  • Sunscreen/hat
  • A bottle of water
  • Towel
  • Snack or lunch to enjoy on the lawn by the marina
  • Some people prefer water shoes when they paddle. Personally, I only use them when it’s cold or when paddling in a saltwater or marshy area where crabs and the like may be present. You won’t need to worry about that in Lake Murray!

The details: How to rent paddleboards on Lake Murray

California Republic SUP sometimes offers open paddle hours on weekends, but due to changing demand, they may be moving towards a reservation-only style of operating. So, we definitely recommend reserving your paddleboards before you go! Reserve your boards by calling or texting Steve at 803.608.5033.

When you arrive, you’ll find plenty of parking on site. You’ll see a small sandy beach, where your boards will be waiting!

More from California Republic SUP

  • Ladies’ Night: Thursdays 6 to 8 pm (Make reservations as these sell out!)
  • Paddleboard Fitness
  • Yoga on paddleboards
  • Summer camps
  • California Republic SUP also sells paddleboards

Check it all out on the California Republic SUP Facebook page. You’ll find they post about their weekly event offerings regularly.

California Republic SUP
3072 US-378 Leesville, SC

Lake Murray Lexington, SC

We love Lake Murray!

Want to swim? Here’s what you need to know about the Lake Murray Public Park.

Best Places to Go Blueberry Picking: Columbia, SC

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It’s summer berry season, and if you love blueberry picking, Columbia, SC has a few patches and local farms that are perfect for upick blueberries. Need details? We’ve got you covered! Berry season is short, so get ready to fill up your basket at one of these local farms.

Where to go blueberry picking: Columbia, SC.


Things to Know Before You Go Blueberry Picking

First off, speaking from the experience of someone who picks blueberries in Columbia yearly, here are some tips to make your experience better for kids:

  1. You will need bug spray. These berries grow in the shade of bushes that can last decades, and in our experiences that moist, green area invites those itchy monsters. Whatever you use, you’ll want to use it well to make sure this experience isn’t just scratching and aloe-inducing.

2. Also, going early in the day really seems to help. This way you can beat the crowds and the heat!

Several of the usual patches will be closed for the 2023 Season

Now, blueberry picking is one of our favorite summer traditions, and so are blueberry dumplings- YUM! While Columbia, South Carolina is a capital city, it is also the center of a very agricultural state, so you usually have no trouble finding blueberry picking.

Typically, three farms close to Columbia provide blueberry picking. Unfortunately, both last year and this year unpredictable weather has forced most of them to close. 

For example, PK Blueberries, our family favorite, and Double A Farms, a very popular option, both remain closed or have made announcements that they do not have enough crop for this year.

But, if you’re still desperate to get your hands on those little berries, there are a few options still!

Fresh picked blueberries near Columbia, SC

Patches Open for Blueberry Picking: Columbia, SC

Berry Hill Farm

Berry Hill Farm is open now for blueberry picking! This farm has been around for 40 years and uses organic pesticides only. 

First, here are a few things to know before you go:

  • It is not walker friendly but there are lower fields they will try to help make wheelchair accessible. 
  • They are open from 7:30 am – 1:00 and 6:00 pm till dark, Monday – Saturday. Yes, they are closed in the afternoon, the hottest part of the day, and you will likely be glad. Also, they are closed on Sundays. 
  • Please note, the blueberries are $1.75 per lb and they only take cash or check, no cards. However, you will not need buckets; they have their own for you to use. 
  • You can call the farm ahead of time to make sure they are open, but do not call late at night or on Sunday.

Berry Hill Farm
219 Bluefield Road, Lexington, SC
803.957.4203

Smith Blueberry Farm

Smith Blueberry Farm is a pesticide-free blueberry farm in Leesville, SC will open for upick on June 17, 2023, from 7 am to 10 am. They will have sporadic upick dates, so follow their Facebook to see which days they will have the patches open to the public.

Their general season hours are Monday – Saturday from 7 am to 11 am, and 5 pm to 8 pm. Sunday hours are 5 pm to 8 pm. Please call ahead to make sure the patch is open before heading there.

Smith Blueberry Farm
341 Holley Ferry Road, Leesville, SC
1.803.532.6219

Southern Blues Blueberry Farm

If you cannot make it to Lexington, Southern Blues Blueberry Farm in Chapin also has blueberry picking near Columbia.

They are the same price as Berry Hill, $1.75 per pound. It is upick and honor system pay. They are open Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from 8 am- 4 pm according to their Facebook page. 

Southern Blues Blueberry Farm
216 East Boundary Street, Chapin, SC
803.227.9660

Redmond Road Blueberries

Redmond Road Blueberries is a mom-and-pop operation in Lexington, SC. Remember, the season is short (end of June), but online posts look like people are filling up here this season.

They are also closed during the heat of the day and on Sundays. Their hours were listed as Monday and Tuesday, 8 a.m. – 12 p.m. and 4 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.; Wednesday through Saturday, 8 a.m. – 12 p.m. and 4 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. 

Redmond Road Blueberries
1126 Redmond Road, Lexington, SC

Eating fresh picked blueberries from farms near Columbia, SC

Drive a Little Further for Blueberry Picking

Oak Grove Farm of Gaston, SC

You can find upick blueberries in nearby Oak Grove Farm, but you’ll need to keep an eye on their Facebook page for updates about hours. You can also contact them directly by phone to see if they are open the day you want to go. You can also purchase prepicked blueberries, eggs, and the occasional pork for the bbq from them.

Oak Grove Farm
872 Old Sandy Run Road, Gaston, SC
803.917.2694

Farms That Are a 1+ Hour Drive from Columbia, SC

Up for a longer drive? You’ll find options in North, SC (Orangeburg County) and a few in Aiken/North Augusta. These farms are all about one hour’s drive away, including Honalee Farm, Herbs N Berries, and Kiser Family Farm.

Did we miss anyone?  What is your favorite place to go blueberry picking near Columbia?

Looking for strawberry picking?

We have a list of places to upick juicy strawberries near Columbia, SC.

Strawberry picking: Columbia, SC

Where to pick blueberries and blackberries near Greenville, SC

Heading to Upstate, SC?

Check out our list of places to pick your own blueberries and blackberries near Greenville, SC!

Discover the Best Ice Cream in Columbia, SC

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Are you looking for a delicious place to enjoy ice cream around Columbia, SC? Calling all ice cream enthusiasts, this one’s for you! We’ve found the best places in town to enjoy not only great ice cream, but milkshakes, frozen yogurt, snow cones, Italian ice, and more! 

I Scream, You Scream, Let’s Go Get Ice Cream! 

There are so many places in the Columbia area to enjoy a cold sweet treat on a hot summer day…or really, any day! We know it can be fun to load up the kiddos for a special treat, maybe after a long week or as a back-to-school, end-of-summer celebration. So, if you’re looking for somewhere to see those faces light up and get those hands a little sticky, we’ve got you covered! Enjoy! 

Interested in finding out about other delicious restaurants? Be sure to check out our HUGE list of favorites. From pizza parlors to mouthwatering BBQ, we’ve got it all!

This article includes:
Best Ice Cream near Columbia, SC
Best Shaved Ice and Snow Cones near Columbia, SC
Where to Get Italian Ice in Columbia, SC
Gelato in Columbia, SC
Best Frozen Yogurt in Columbia, SC

Ice cream and frozen desserts in Columbia, SC
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Draper WMA Sunflower Fields: Gorgeous and FREE to Visit

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Have you heard about the sunflower fields at the Draper Wildlife Area? If you are looking for a magical place to take family photos or just a place to visit for fresh air and a change of scenery, we found a place just south of Rock Hill that won’t cost you a dime to enjoy. The Draper WMA Sunflower Fields are only in bloom for a few weeks over the summer, but if you hurry you can see them in full bloom.

DNR Sunflower field
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Free Movies for Summer, Plus Super Cheap Options in Columbia, SC

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Are you wondering where you can find free movies for summer in Columbia, SC? Regal Movies, the Town of Blythewood, the Icehouse Amphitheater, and The Big Mo are hosting summer movie events that your whole family will love! Below we’ve got the details on where you can see movies for free or super budget-friendly this summer. 

Let’s Go to the Summer Movies: Columbia, SC  

It’s no secret that taking your family to the movies can be quite expensive – the tickets, popcorn, drinks, and candy all add up QUICK! Maybe you’ve even got a toddler or two that you’re just not sure are ready to make it through a whole movie in a crowded, evening theater, but taking them during the day or even to an outdoor venue might seem a little more manageable!

This summer we found great options to not only make going to the movies cheap but also fun and memorable for your whole tribe. Try these summer movies for kids and families this year and don’t break the bank to do it!

free movies for summer, Columbia, SC
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Take Your Family River Tubing in Columbia, SC

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Are you wondering where to go river tubing? Columbia, SC brings that famously hot (and humid!) South Carolina summer that’s perfect for a refreshing float down a river. Sounds great, but now you may be wondering, where are the places to go tubing near me? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with some river tubing spots in Columbia, SC!

Where to go river tubing: Columbia, SC

River Tubing is a Fun and Relaxing Way to Beat the Heat!

We do our best to stay relaxed and cooled off this time of year, which is no easy feat.  One great way to beat the heat this summer is by taking a dip in one of the many rivers running through Columbia. And what better way to experience the river than floating down it in a tube?

River tubing has been a popular pastime in our city for a long time and for good reason! It’s a great way to spend an afternoon with friends and family while enjoying the beautiful scenery.

Canoe and kayak rentals

Best Way to Go River Tubing: Columbia, SC

Columbia has several options for river-tubing. Whether you’re an experienced tuber, or looking for your first adventure, here are a couple of the best ways to go river tubing in Columbia, SC:

Tubing at Saluda Shoals Park

Saluda Shoals Park offers one of the best options for a beginner! This is my family’s favorite spot for a quick river outing. It’s such a convenient location with parking right near the launch ramp.

You enter Saluda Shoals at the main entrance and follow the signs for the boat ramp/river. When you arrive, there’s a small shack in the parking lot where you can rent tubes and pay for a shuttle service from the staff. The tube rental is $15 and it includes shuttle service. The shuttle service will follow you to the exit of the river in your car, and then shuttle you back to the launch ramp. That way when you exit the river your car is ready and waiting for you!

There’s usually a decent amount of people enjoying the river on a nice day so if you’re unsure of where to go just follow the crowd! It can take about 1 – 1.5 hours to float from the entrance to the exit, and if you’re lucky you’ll spot some adorable river otters on the way!

Saluda Shoals River

Here’s our Kidding Around Review of Saluda Shoals with more information about all the fun things this Columbia park offers.

Tubing at Palmetto Outdoors

If you’re looking for a more adventurous tubing experience, Palmetto Outdoors might be the choice for you!

Palmetto Outdoors offers a really great river tubing trip for different size groups, down the Lower Saluda River. They have an online scheduling service as well as a cash-only walk-up reservation! They make it super simple and fun to make a day of being on the river.

The 3-hour-long excursion ranges from the Riverbanks Zoo to the Gervais Street Bridge. This portion of the Saluda does contain class II rapids so children under 10 are not permitted.

Shuttle times are offered 7 days a week during their open season at the top of every hour from 10 am – 4 pm on Saturdays and 12 pm – 4 pm all other days. They meet you at the West Columbia Riverwalk with equipment ready to go.

The standard tube rental is $20 per person and this includes the shuttle service. There are several rental options so check out their website for more details!

Grab and Go Tube Rentals

Have another place you want to float on a tube? Palmetto Outdoors offers a grab-and-go option for $15. There’s no shuttle with this option, but you can take the tube wherever you’d like as long as you have it back by 7 pm.

Lake Murray is a popular spot to bring the tubes.

Canoe and Kayak

Palmetto Outfitters also offers kayak and guided tours! Paddle Congaree National Park with them or try a guided kayak trip to see Spider Lilies.

Plan Your Next River Tubing Adventure

River tubing is such a fun and unique way to discover the beauty of Columbia’s waterways. With multiple options for renting tubes and exploring the rivers, you’re sure to find an experience that works for you and your family!

Tubing near Greenville, SC

If not, check out these tubing options in the Upstate and WNC area. These will make a totally awesome summer day trip.

No matter which option you choose, you can’t go wrong with spending some time outdoors getting some Vitamin D, and floating your worries away in a refreshingly cool river.

Do’s and Don’ts for River Tubing

  • Do wear a life jacket. Most places include life jacket rentals but ask just in case. Don’t skip a life jacket, even if you’re a good swimmer.
  • Do bring sunscreen and a hat.
  • Do bring water shoes, bottled water, and snacks. Don’t bring things can’t lose, like jewelry, car keys, and cell phones.
  • Do take along a long stick to use to maneuver the tube.
  • Don’t bring alcohol – most places don’t allow it anyways.
  • If a waiver is required, Do download and sign it in advance. This will save you time!
  • Do read all the rules and regulations of whatever place you choose. They are all different.
  • Do bring a towel and change of clothes that you can use after your trip.


Where to splash and swim: Columbia, SC

Looking for more places to beat the heat? Here’s our giant list of places to splash and swim in Columbia, SC.


Best Beaches in the Southeast: Don’t Miss These Family-Friendly Beaches

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Looking for the best beach for a vacation near you? The Carolinas and other states in the Southeast are home to some of the best family beaches. We’ve included information on some top-rated beaches, plus other locations that were recommended by Kidding Around readers and families.

Some beaches are perfect for a day trip if you get an early start, and some will require a long weekend commitment. Whether you are looking for the closest beaches to Greenville, SC, or just trying to find “family-friendly beaches near me”, this list is a great place to start if you are planning a beach trip anytime soon.

Find a great beach near you!

Looking for "family friendly beaches near me?"

This article includes:
Best South Carolina Beaches
Best Beaches in North Carolina
Favorite Beaches in Florida
Top Beaches in Georgia
Reader Favorite Beach in Alabama

(more…)