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Adventure Trail at the Harbison State Forest

4 Best Adventurous Places to Explore in Columbia, South Carolina (2024)

Are you yet to experience any adventure lately? Feeling the urge to do so but confused about where to go in Columbia, South Carolina? If yes, read on to know how you can fulfill the desire.

Columbia, the capital and the second largest city of South Carolina has a lot to offer for adventure seekers. The city is well-known for the renowned University of South Carolina. Besides providing scope for academic growth, the area has many fun and adventure activities to satiate the appetite of thrill seekers. One can enjoy athletics, arts and entertainment, outdoor recreation, cuisine, and nightlife in this city.

4 Best Adventurous Places to Explore in Columbia, South Carolina

Here are the best adventurous places you can explore in Columbia, South Carolina.

1. Harbison State Forest

The Harbison State Forest in Columbia is remarkable as it is one of the largest urban green zones. It is located east of the Mississippi River. The 18 miles of routes that wind through the forest are wonderful for mountain bikers. These also allow walkers and runners to experience the great outdoors without driving far from the city.

The Harbison State Park is 2,137 acres huge and is located approximately nine miles from the business center of the state capital. The Broad River serves as the northern edge of the woodland. There are roughly 40 kilometers of trails and roads making their way through the pine and hardwood forest. You will reach the water’s edge by crossing meandering streams and descending through shaded glades.

Harbison State Forest, Columbia, South Carolina

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In the Harbison State Forests, you are free to do the following things:

Adventure Trail at the Harbison State Forest

The Harbison Forest is home to above 18 miles of trails that can be utilized for walking, running, hiking, and cycling. These trails range in difficulty level from easy to challenging. The entrance gates to the forest are closed from Monday through Friday. However, it is still possible to explore the entirety of the forest by way of the trail network. You can reach this forest from the main parking lot located on Broad River Road or via the Environmental Education Center.

Biking in Harbison State Forests

The restricted paths are only open to people peddling bicycles. On trails, the law doesn’t allow the operation of motorized bicycles or other off-road vehicles. You need to hike on trails that have been marked for hiking. Always make sure to wear a protective riding helmet. Moreover, do not push past another person without first making them aware of your presence. Only then can you enjoy life’s best adventure at Harbison forest.

Canoe Landing

Canoes and other types of watercraft can be launched into the Broad River from the nearby landing specifically designated for that purpose. In line with the Harbison rules, paddlers who intend to utilize the landing must first submit a Richland County Riverside Dock Consent Form, which is an easy float plan.

If you feel hungry after a day full of adventure, you can visit a short distance from the Park, where you will find many restaurants and cafes to refresh yourselves.

2. Waterfall Junction

It is one of the best water parks in Columbia, SC. You can visit there along with your whole family. You should visit there with your kids on warm days and have fun with the amazing things this junction offers. Among the 14 water parks in Columbia, SC, this one is at the top of the list and is a good place for a day trip. Moreover, it features many rides and slides. Some of the best things you would love there are:

Green Space

A large green space in the center of the waterfall junction offers unlimited fun and entertainment. Moreover, there are numerous big buildings, wooden balance beams, and hula hoops. It is suggested to come up with some balls and balloons to have more fun and to share, spread some sheets to have a family excursion, or allow your kids to run and jump. The choices in this green space are endless.

Dino Dig

If you have any dino geeks in your family, you will love this place and must not want to miss this experience. You will find an enormous sandpit filled with life-sized bones of dinosaurs all around the place. Moreover, your kids will get buckets or shovels to put all these bones in them and test their archeological ability.

3. Sesquicentennial State Park

Regarding state parks, the locals recommend taking the kids to Sesquicentennial State Park for a day full of outdoor activities like hiking and bicycling. It has a moderate entry cost varying from $6 to $3.50. The state park is full of both attractions and adventures. You may hire kayaks, have a nice time in the splash pad, and enjoy a picnic in one of the many magnificent sites beyond the paths.

In this state park, you can do the following things:

A Hike

One of the things that can be done here is a hike that can be up to 12 miles long. You can take your dog on a walk around the park, a hike through the woods, or even just a stroll by the lake. The best thing about hiking in this park is that you can hike for the majority of the day without ascending any mountains.

Kayaking or Canoeing

Canoes, kayaks, and pedal boats are some of the watercraft that can be rented here. At this 30-acre lake, you will have a memorable time. Imagine canoeing or kayaking on the glistening water and reconnecting with nature and the great outdoors. Isn’t it worth exploring!

4. The Palmetto Trail

The trail was established in 1994. The fact that the Palmetto Trail stretches across the state with its stunning views of the cities in the region makes it one of the outstanding features of the state. There’s easy outdoor access from Walhalla (Blue Ridge Mountains) to Awendaw (found on the Intracoastal Waterway).

Hiking and backpacking are permitted throughout the full Palmetto Trail. Mountain biking, camping, and horse riding can all be enjoyed in officially allowed sites. However, you can’t drive your vehicle on the Trail.

Here at this trail, you can do the following things:

A tranquil Hike

Hikers hoping for a unique experience to fill the void inside can find the 500-mile trek ideal. This trek is mostly flat. As a result, the need to wait for the snow to melt or the temperature to rise is not a factor in going out on an excursion. It is a terrific place to explore. Not to mention, you won’t have to struggle with overwhelming crowds.


The Palmetto Path leads walkers and bikers through the heart of Columbia on city streets and sidewalks. Beginning in Riverfront Park, hikers and bikers can continue their adventure along the historic Columbia Canal. Capital City Passage meets Fort Jackson Passage near Fort Jackson Boulevard.

5. Palmetto Outdoor

If you have the zeal to participate in outdoor activities, you cannot miss visiting this recreational center. It offers eco-friendly river excursions and mobile tours that highlight the region’s rich cultural legacy.

Uncluttered riverbanks are rare in American cities. Convenient access to hotels, restaurants, and airport shuttle services makes this place easily accessible. Everything you could want, from the greatest southern food in town to a vibrant nightlife scene, is within short walking distance.

You can do various things here in this outdoor area, such as:


It is one of the best places to go for tubing. Amid Columbia’s hot summers, grab a tube and embark on the state’s longest float trip. Palmetto Outdoor Center offers tubes, life jackets, and shuttle services like nowhere else.

You start the adventure at the West Columbia Riverwalk and Amphitheater while supported by the service center. Palmetto Outdoor Centre offers transportation 2.5 kilometers upstream from the Riverwalk. You can pick up your very own tube on the way and haul it to the river. After two to four hours, you’ll return to the West Columbia Riverwalk. You can enjoy this adventure with different kinds of tubes like the double tube, superstar tube, deluxe tube, and standard tube.

In addition, Grab-n-Go allows you to tailor your own renting experience. These rentals let you transport your tubes to public access points along the river, including boat landings and the Riverwalk. Vacationers who prefer to sail the Saluda, Broad, or Congaree Rivers can modify their tour according to their interests. People interested in taking the gear to Murray Lake can also take advantage of the Grab-n-Go rentals.

With Palmetto outdoors, you can also have kayaking and canoeing experiences in Congaree National Park. It’s the only outfitter allowed to conduct tours in Congaree National Park.


If you reside in Columbia, SC, or visiting there, you should experience adventuring there. Various places are there where you can enjoy adventuring. So what are you waiting for? Put on your sneakers, fill your water bottles, and have fun outside in Columbia, South Carolina. Make the most of the adventurous activities that the city hosts!

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