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Vacation in Family-Friendly Columbia, South Carolina

Columbia, South Carolina is the capital and largest city in the state. Located in the Midlands region, it is home to Columbia Metropolitan Airport. Known as the Capital of Southern Hospitality, Columbia offers a wealth of attractions for solo travelers, couples, and families. Spend a fun day at the Riverbanks Zoo or view award-winning exhibits at the Columbia Museum of Art. History buffs won’t want to miss a tour of the Woodrow Wilson Family Home and Robert Mills Historic House and Park. The South Carolina State Museum is a great place to explore the history of the Palmetto State. See cultural exhibits, historic artifacts, natural history presentations, art, science and technology collections, and a planetarium.

Finlay Park is home to iconic Finlay Park Fountain. Spread over 18 acres, the scenic park offers a lake, outdoor activities and concerts in the summer. Take a scenic 30-minute drive from Columbia to Congaree National Park. Canoe down Cedar Creek and admire views of the floodplain forest. You may catch a glimpse of wild boar, owls, deer, and bobcats along the shore. Enjoy over 25 miles of hiking trails, or try tubing down the river. For bigger thrills, whitewater enthusiasts recommend the rapids on the Lower Saluda.

Harbison Forest, just nine miles from downtown Columbia, offers 18 miles of trails that weave through the forest past steams, glades, and the Broad River. Grab a bite to eat on Harrison Boulevard, browse the nearby shops, or stroll through Riverbanks Botanical Garden. Named one of the Top 20 Public Gardens in America by HGTV, the 70-acre site offers themed gardens and a mix of native and exotic plants.

Experience the wide choice of cultural options in Columbia. Take in a performance of the Columbia City Ballet or the South Carolina Philharmonic Orchestra, see a play at the Trustus Theatre, or enjoy an evening at Koger Center for the Arts. The whole family will love the interactive exhibits spread across eight galleries at the EdVenture Children’s Museum.

You may want to plan your visit during a special event or festival. The South Carolina State Fair, Riverfest Celebration, Columbia International Festival, and Finlay Park Summer Concert Series provide a chance to mingle with locals and have fun in a festive atmosphere.

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