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25 parks in the Midlands of South Carolina

We’re highlighting 20 parks around Columbia, SC.

Saluda Shoals Park

Leo’s Landing at Saluda Shoals Park. | Photo via Irmo Chapin Recreation Commission

Table of Contents

Whether you’re looking for a place to play with the kiddos or to decompress with some off-screen time, Columbia features 20+ parks and recreational spots for you to enjoy.

Ready to plan your trip to the park? Grab your shades and trusty water bottle — here are some of the Soda City’s best:

Congaree National Park Trails

The Boardwalk Loop Trail is wheelchair accessible. | Photo by @hdcarolina

Nature parks

Congaree National Park, 100 National Park Rd., Hopkins

Congaree National Park is a wilderness area that offers hiking trails, camping, and wildlife viewing opportunities. Visitors can explore the park’s old-growth forests and wetlands, and see various wildlife, including deer, otters, and maybe even a gator.

Dreher Island State Park, 3677 State Park Rd., Prosperity, SC

Dreher Island State Park is located on Lake Murray and offers a variety of recreational opportunities, including boating, fishing, and camping. The park also features hiking trails, picnic areas, and playgrounds.

Harbison State Forest, 5500 Broad River Rd.

Harbison State Forest is a 2,177-acre forest offering hiking, biking trails, and fishing. The park also features picnic areas and playgrounds, making it a great place for families to spend the day.


Views from Riverfront Park show the confluence of the Saluda and Broad Rivers to form the Congaree. | Photo by COLAtoday

Columbia Canal and Riverfront Park, 312 Laurel St.

The Columbia Canal and Riverfront Park offer a beautiful area to walk along the river beneath the hanging Spanish moss. There are even built-in workout stations located at the beginning to supplement your cardio workout.

Pine Island State Park, Lake Murray

We’ll have to wait a little bit longer to visit SC’s newest state park. A fire at Pine Island on Lake Murray could delay its opening. The blaze, which occurred at the park manager’s residence, resulted in significant damage to park storage and a garage, though no injuries were reported. The fall debut is now uncertain.

Family parks

Drew Wellness Center Park, 2101 Walker Solomon Way

This is a seven-acre park with a walking trail, outdoor fitness equipment, and a playground. It’s located next to the Drew Wellness Center.

Hyatt Park, 950 Jackson Ave., Columbia

Hyatt Park was recently renovated and features two custom basketball courts dedicated by local WNBA superstar A’ja Wilson.

Screenshot 2024-04-25 at 9.19.59 PM.png

The updates to Finlay Park include a revitalized fountain and new walkways. | Rendering from the City of Columbia via the design team, Stantec + LS3P.

Finlay Park, 930 Laurel Street, Columbia

Located in the heart of downtown Columbia, Finlay Park is undergoing an $18 million renovation and repair. Over the years, it has been a popular spot for concerts, festivals, and other outdoor events. The park features a large fountain, a playground, and a paved trail for walking and jogging.

Gibson Pond Park, 241 Gibson Rd., Lexington

This 50-acre park is home to a beautiful pond stocked with fish, as well as a playground, picnic shelters, and a walking trail. Visitors can also enjoy a disc golf course at the park.

Gills Creek Memorial Park, 24 Forest Lake Pl.

The Forest Acres community welcomed the new $3 million park project along Forest Drive recently. The new park, born from the aftermath of the 2015 flood, aims to rejuvenate the area, offering families a vibrant gathering space complete with a splash pad and scenic walkways.

Heathwood Park, 800 Abelia Rd.

Located in the Heathwood neighborhood, this park has a neighborhood center, tennis court, handball court, picnic shelter, and a spray pool.

Martin Luther King Jr. Park, 2300 Greene St.

Located near Five Points, this park has a basketball court, a playground, a baseball field, and a community center.

Saluda Shoals Park, 5605 Bush River Rd.

Located in Irmo, this 400-acre park offers hiking trails, river access, picnic areas, and Leo’s Landing Inclusive Playground.

Sesquicentennial State Park, 9564 Two Notch Rd.

Sesquicentennial State Park offers various recreational opportunities, including hiking trails, mountain biking trails, fishing, pedal boating, and camping. Rent out a picnic shelter and have an event for the family.


NoMa Bark Park has a full playground set for dogs to enjoy. | Photo by Mike MacDonald

Dog parks

Bark West, 1940 Augusta Rd., West Columbia

Bark West is a members-only unleashed park, with designated small and large dog areas. Become a member today.

Emily Douglass Dog Park, 2500 Wheat St.

We hear you may need to be prepared to bathe your pup after visiting this downtown area dog park.

Lexington Paw Park, 989 Hendrix St., Lexington

Pups must be older than four months, up-to-date on all shots, spayed/neutered + owners must be 18 or older.

NoMa Bark Park, 1250 Parkside Dr.

All pups must be spayed/neutered and up-to-date on all vaccines.

Page Ellington Dog Park, BullStreet District

The 1.75-acre dog park is fenced in and open to dogs of all shapes and sizes.


Practice your kickflips at Owens Field Skate Park. | Photo by COLAtoday team

Sports park

Earlewood Park, 1113 Parkside Dr.

Earlewood is popular for its disc golf course, tennis courts, basketball court, and three baseball fields. There is also a playground, and it is home to the office of Columbia Parks and Rec.

Owens Field Park, 1351 Jim Hamilton Blvd.

Located near Owens Field Airport, Owens Field Park includes a disc golf course, skate park, dog park, and several baseball + soccer fields.

Midlands Sports Complex, 750 Old Clemson Rd.

The Midlands Sports Complex is a multi-sports facility located in West Columbia. The complex has athletic fields, including soccer fields, baseball fields, and softball fields. The complex also has concession stands, restrooms, and parking.

Pine Grove Sports Complex, 701 Old Barnwell Rd, West Columbia

The Pine Grove Sports Complex is a large park located in the St. Andrews area of Columbia, SC. The park has several athletic fields, including baseball fields, softball fields, and soccer fields. There are also playgrounds, picnic shelters, and walking trails.

Seven Oaks Park, 200 Leisure Ln.

The park has baseball fields, playgrounds, walking trails, and picnic shelters. It also has an indoor community center with a gymnasium and classrooms for community learning events.

South East Park, 951 Hazelwood Rd.

    The park has well-lit tennis courts, pickleball courts, walking trails, playgrounds, and picnic shelters. It is a popular destination for outdoor activities and family outings.

    Your park grab bag

    Picked your perfect park? Make the most out of your experience with our favorite items for a relaxing day outside:

    • Is there anything quite like sitting in the shade and enjoying a good book? Check out our guide to books by local authors to help choose your next great read.
    • The Kindle Paperwhite is a lightweight e-reader option that stands up to bright sunlight.
    • A good water bottle keeps you hydrated — we’re big fans of the best-selling Owala FreeSip + this insulated stackable tumbler from Asheville NC-based retailer Pirani.
    • Heading to the park with kids? Check out the Owala FreeSip for kids.
    • Don’t forget the travel-size bug spray and sunscreen.
    • These sunglasses from Nordstrom Rack are available at discount prices + have a style for everyone.
    • Keep it all together in a handy tote bag — these adorable tote bags are all crafted by small businesses and local makers.
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