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If you are looking for things to do in and around South Carolina, you have come to the right place! In this blog, I'll be sharing some of my favorite places to visit. So, pack a lunch and get ready to discover some hidden gems!

Today I want to tell you about Sumter, SC. I’ve lived in South Carolina my entire life and never knew that Sumter had so much to offer. I suggest packing a picnic and taking a day trip to this amazing small town right outside of Columbia.

The thing that originally drew me to Sumter was Poinsett State Park. My son and I are on a mission to visit all 47 state parks in SC. When it came time to check out Poinsett State Park, I wasn’t expecting to find so much other stuff to do in the area. We were not prepared to spend the day, so we had to make plans to return to Sumter when we were able to stay longer. It was definitely worth two trips! Plus, we’ve gone back several times since then. Here are a few of our favorite places in Sumter.

Poinsett State Park - 6660 Wedgefield Road, Wedgefield, S.C.

There are many activities to enjoy at Poinsett State Park, including hiking, fishing, canoeing, kayaking, biking, camping, and picnicking. There is a dedicated swimming area and a nice little sandy beach area to relax on. You can rent canoes, kayaks, stand up paddle boards, and more. The park also offers educational programs and events throughout the year.

Swan Lake Iris Garden - 822 W. Liberty Street, Sumter, SC 29150

The first time we went to Swan Lake Iris Garden we immediately fell in love. This place is beautiful! As the name suggests, there are lots of swans and lots of irises. This is the only public park in the United States that is home to all eight swan species.

In spring, the garden explodes with color from over 120 varieties of irises. There are also specialty gardens such as the Chocolate Garden where the plants smell like chocolate, a butterfly garden, an azalea garden, a rose garden, and more. There is a sensory trail that hosts various textures and smells to excite your senses. The Talking Tree Trail includes several stops where you can listen to stories from the past and present. There are several festivals held in the garden throughout the year. The 2023 Iris Festival will be held May 19-21st. Another popular event is the Fantasy of Lights which is held around Christmas time each year.

The walking path around the lake is .8 miles. It’s made from compact dirt so it’s flat and easy to navigate with wheelchairs or strollers. There is a nice restroom facility, a gift shop, and a restaurant located near the parking lot. Be sure to take a walk across the bridge to enjoy the other side of the garden which has a totally different feel. It’s more swamp like and mysterious. I could go on, but I suggest checking it out for yourself!

Patriot Park - 256 General Drive, Sumter, SC 29154

Patriot Park is part of a sports complex which has several sports fields, a 1.5 mile walking trail, a pond, and a great playground. The playground has a variety of elements which are perfect for all ages. The play structure is mostly covered, which is great in the summer months. I recommend bringing chairs or a blanket to sit on because there are only two benches inside the play area.

While these are some of my favorite things about Sumter, there is so much more to do there! If you want to plan a nice little day trip, I invite you to visit this website for more information on all the things this unique city has to offer.

Have fun and never stop exploring!

written by Amanda Campbell, event coordinator for Akoma Cares

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The Texas Davises
The Texas Davises

I used to spend so much time in Sumter as a kid but we NEVER did anything outdoors.

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