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Office of Undergraduate Admissions

  • UofSC Visit Guide Series Outdoors Lover

Visit Guide Series: The Outdoor Adventurer

From the best local food joints to beautiful sunset views, there's always an adventure waiting for you in our city. We've complied a list of some of our favorite spots for you to check out when you visit Columbia, South Carolina.

You can’t visit the University of South Carolina without visiting the city that we call home. Our city is made for exploration. From delicious food to invigorating activities in a city that inspires, Columbia, South Carolina has something for everyone.


While we could make an entire list of noteworthy places to visit when you come to Columbia, we’ve made it a little easier for you. This one is for our river floating, trail hiking, outdoor-lovin’ Gamecocks. Here is a list of things to do and see when you visit.


Pawley’s Front Porch

Pawley’s Front Porch is known for their delicious burgers. From a burger topped with grilled pineapple to one smothered in southern pimento cheese, the combinations are always unique. Bonus: they have a great patio for outdoor seating!

Campus Spot

The Horseshoe

The Horseshoe is everyone’s favorite green space on campus. It’s the perfect place to hang your ENO and read a book or play a game of tag football with friends. You’ll probably get a surprise visit from cute puppies while you’re there, too!


West Columbia Riverwalk

West Columbia Riverwalk is a beautiful outdoor space. It’s a great place for walking, biking or rollerblading, and you can even tube or kayak down the river. There are even picnic tables so that you can enjoy an afternoon snack.

Lake Murray Dam

This dam stretches 1.5 miles over Lake Murray and is a great place for an evening walk. If you time it just right, you can get the perfect sunset view. While you’re there, be sure to place a lock on the chain-link fence!


Zipline over the trees and get a spectacular view of the Saluda River through Riverbanks Zoo and Botanical Garden’s Zip the Zoo and Zoom the River.



This store provides outdoor enthusiasts with top-brand outdoor gear and equipment. They have everything you need for hiking, biking, camping and more.

Palmetto Outdoors

This is the place to book all of your outdoor activities! Here you can rent tubes, kayaks, canoes and more – great for those wanting to explore the Saluda River while visiting.

Free Options

Finlay Park

This is the largest park in Downtown Columbia. It is the perfect place to host picnics or bring out your inner child by playing on one of two playgrounds. This park hosts many festival-like events – maybe you’ll get to experience one when you visit!

Fireflies at Congaree National Park

From hiking and fishing to overnight camping, Congaree National Park is 26,276 acres of pure nature. Go in the evening to see the night sky lit by synchronous fireflies!


Graduate Columbia Hotel 

You have to book the perfect place to stay when you visit Columbia –  the Graduate Columbia Hotel is just that! Just steps from the Horseshoe, this hotel is in the heart of the city. It is filled with southern charm offering unique, cozy rooms and amenities such as wi-fi. Be sure to check out the cute little café right within the hotel.  

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.