Is your family ready for winter break in Columbia, SC? It’s almost that time. The kids will be home and looking for things to do. After all those Christmas cookies are eaten and the presents have been opened, what will do to make winter break fun and relaxing? We have some ideas, of course! We made this winter break bucket list, full of things to do over winter break in Columbia, SC!
You’re looking for things to do this winter in Columbia, SC? The holidays have come to an end, and January and February stretch out in front of you long and cold-ish and boring.
But, there’s so much to look forward to! The winter season offers lots of unique opportunities and things to do in Columbia. Plus, there are some seriously epic winter day trips nearby. You can read that as “Yes, there are day trips for snow tubing near Columbia, SC.” So, have no fear. We have loads of ideas to keep your winter lively and put a bounce in your step that’ll last all the way to Spring. The only thing you’ll have to do is figure out which Columbia, SC winter activity you want to do first!
We love the South Carolina State Museum for its huge amount of exhibits and hands-on learning. In the winter, they offer a live sky planetarium show where your family can learn about the constellations, stars, and planets that make up Columbia’s winter sky. How cool is that!? Shows are about 30 minutes and should run through all of the cold months. Book your planetarium tickets Live Sky Tour online in advance if you want to be sure to get in at your chosen time!
Also in January, look for the Shark 4D show in the planetarium at the SC State Museum. Get ready for a chomping good time!
Dine-Out, Literally: Heated Outdoor Dining in Columbia, SC
Who has a heated outdoor dining space in Columbia, SC?
Check out this list of heated outdoor dining options we found, or, if you’re bringing the kids along, here are a couple of restaurants and breweries from our big Columbia family restaurant list that also have heated outdoor dining!
Family-Friendly Heated Outdoor Dining in Columbia, SC
Home Team BBQ Classic BBQ with a kids’ menu, plus a patio with panels that keep it toasty.
Cantina 76 The Devine Street location offers a heated outdoor dining space and all the delicious Mexican-inspired cuisine you could hope for.
Location: 2901 Devine Street, Columbia, SC 29205 – 803.708.6004
Hours: Sunday from 11 am – 9 pm, Monday – Wednesday from 11 am – 9:30 pm, Thursday – Saturday from 11 am – 10 pm
River Rat Brewery The outdoor space at River Rat has heaters, so you can enjoy your beer of choice plus tacos, salads, sandwiches, and quesadillas together outside. If the weather is warm, the kids can play on the greenspace too!
So, we may have to travel to see that snow, but that probably means things are looking pretty temperate and sunny out there, perfect for some outdoor winter activities. Columbia, SC has a whole heap. That means you can go for a hike or explore the zoo comfortably and not even break a sweat. Anyone who has been to the zoo in the middle of July knows what we’re talking about.
Visit Riverbanks Zoo: The animals are likely to be more active in the cooler temperatures, and so are you.
Are you thinking about snow tubing at Black Bear Snow Tubing in Hendersonville, NC? Western North Carolina has great snow tubing and Black Bear Snow Tubing is a stellar option for families! They have a huge mountain to get your winter in high gear with a fun snow tubing trip for the whole family! We took a trip up to try out that snow-tubing mountain and it was so much fun! Now we have all the details to share so you can plan your trip!
Media tickets were provided for this review and the opinions are solely those of the author.
While there aren’t any places to snow tube in the Upstate, SC, there are definitely options nearby and one of them is Black Bear Snow Tubing in nearby Hendersonville, NC, just over an hour from Greenville, SC. The snow tubing family-owned operation has been in business for seven years and they really have a good thing going there, which I’m going to tell you all about in this story.
Snow Tubing at Black Bear
The slope at Black Bear Snow Tubing is 600 feet long with an 80-foot drop and it’s pretty fast. They make their own snow (unless they get a big snowstorm, which doesn’t happen too often) and the hill is well-maintained by their attentive staff.
How it works is that when you get to Black Bear, you go to a little shed to watch a short safety video, where you learn how to get out of your tube on the run and not to start snowball fights, sign a waiver, and head inside the cozy lodge to pay. Then you get your tubes and head to the hill.
They have a pulley system to get you to the top of the hill, which works by slipping the handle of your tube on a cable that takes you, while sitting inside your tube, right up the hill to the top. Once at the top, you’ll wait for a few minutes before being situated into your group by the staff and then sliding down the hill.
Why Black Bear is Different
I’ve snow tubed at many places in our area and I think Black Bear Snow Tubing is pretty fantastic. Here’s why:
You can (and should) make a reservation ahead of time, which is crucial for us in Greenville who need to travel out of state to go snow tubing. It’s quite a bummer to get to our snow tubing place and either find out that they are sold out or having to wait hours for an open slot.
The staff is attentive and efficient. They were always around watching the hill to make sure things were running smoothly and safely. When there was a slight backup at the top of the hill, they figured out how to manage to get us all down the hill and back up to keep snow tubing without interruption.
The lodge is super cozy and warm and has reasonable concessions. I got a $2 hot chocolate and it was amazing. Plus, they have food, including apple cider donuts, that is affordable and you can get warm by the wood-burning stove inside or watch on the deck if you don’t want to go tubing.
The setup takes into account smaller kids. There is playground next to the place where you wait in line to go up the hill so smaller kids can get out their energy and there is a big fire pit also near the waiting area where you can warm up.
If you forgot a hat or gloves, they have them for sale inside the lodge. I feel like us parents can relate when our kid gets out of the car to go snow tubing and forgot his or her winter hat.
The check-in is fast. This is important because you want to get on the hill and start having fun as soon as possible!
Black Bear has excellent communication. They post daily on their Facebook page about current snow conditions, which is super helpful when you’re unsure about the weather.
The snow is real. They don’t have any synthetic chemicals in the snow – it’s the real deal.
My kids, ages 11 and 8, and I had such a blast snow tubing at Black Bear Snow Tubing. We went down the hill about 10 times (maybe more, I lost count honestly) and had so much fun together. I really love places where adults can carelessly be kids again. My kids are already asking to go back. The hill was super fast and seeing my kids faces light up with joy was special. I love those moments.
Tips on How to Enjoy Snow Tubing at Black Bear
Winter being winter, it’s usually cold when you go snow tubing. I’ve found that bringing hand and foot warmers is a really good trick to keeping everyone warm and comfortable. You can get them at Wal-Mart, Amazon, or most drug stores and they stay warm for hours.
It’s also really important to make a reservation when you know you want to go snow tubing. This is especially true during school breaks and holidays. Snow tubing is an awesome family activity on a day off but a lot of people also have the same thought. Don’t forget to make a reservation.
You don’t need to wear snow bibs or snow pants. I had on fleece leggings, hiking boots, and a couple layers of tops with a heavy coat (it was really cold when we went!) and I was fine. I saw people wearing all kinds of clothes that worked for them like pants, leggings, jeans, and sweatpants. The snow wasn’t wet at all when we went but if you go on a warmer day, you may want to bring a change of pants in case they get wet.
There are port-a-potties outside the lodge to use and no bathrooms indoors.
Double-check Black Bear’s Facebook page before heading out. Snow tubing is very dependent on weather, which changes often in the mountains. They will post current conditions and if they are open or closed most days.
Ticket Prices and Policies at Black Bear Snow Tubing
Tickets are $30/hour or $40/two hours for snow tubing. Kids must be 4 years old in order to go snow tubing. You can either sign a waiver when you get to Black Bear Snow Tubing or print one out online ahead of time. Either is fine.
While Black Bear Snow Tubing does take walk-ups, it is much better to make a reservation ahead of time instead of getting there and finding out they are full. Online reservations are fantastic for this very reason so definitely make use of them.
And be sure to check Black Bear Snow Tubing’s Facebook page before heading out to double check they are open and running. Winter tubing runs mid-December through February usually depending on the weather, of course.
And if you want to tube during other times of the year, you totally can! They have warm-weather tubing in the fall.