Staycation Ideas for Columbia Sc

At some point, every student in the country has had to write a paper entitled “What I Did on My Summer Vacation.”  Unfortunately this topic is becoming more and more difficult to expound upon.  As many families deal with pay cuts, lay-offs, and inflation, a summer vacation seems more like an unnecessary extravagance, rather than an annual event.

One great way to get the feel of a vacation, without a majority of the expense, is to have a staycation.  Instead of taking one long trip at a far-off destination, take several short trips or day trips closer to home.

South Carolina is a remarkable state that is steeped in history, tradition, natural beauty, and Southern charm.  Unfortunately it is also among the hardest hit economically.  As of May, 2012, the state was ranked 8th in the nation for unemployment, with 8.8% of its labor force out of work.

South Carolinians, you deserve a break.  Take a staycation this summer, and re-discover all that your great state has to offer.  There’s something for everybody, and (added bonus!) all of your money will stay in the local economy.   As far as states go, South Carolina isn’t very large.  All of the following activities are perfect for Columbia residents, and anyone living in the Midlands!

Take a beach weekend-

Nothing says summer vacation like a beach day!  No matter where you live in the state, you are within several hours of a beach.  A great destination for families with children is Folly Beach County Park in Charleston, SC.  It has inexpensive parking, a shower/changing facility, clean bathrooms, a picnic area, and a canteen.  It is also within 20 minutes of downtown Charleston’s famous shopping, restaurants, and historical tours.

If you are looking for a more rustic setting, try Hunting Island State Park near Beaufort, SC.   The park was built in the 1930’s by the Civilian Conservation Corps.  A beautifully wooded-area full of wildlife borders a wide rural beach.  This park boasts camp grounds, a light house, a marsh walk, and a nature center.

Another beach that is great for families of all ages is Myrtle Beach, SC.  The second most popular beach in the United States, it boasts over 100 golf courses, 60 miles of beaches, camp grounds, numerous miniature golf courses, nightlife, shopping, and countless restaurants.

Brush up on history-

South Carolina is a state steeped in history, and if you live in the Midlands there is plenty to learn in your own back yard.  A ninety-minute drive to Charleston delivers you to numerous historical and ghost tours, but a 10-minute drive to downtown Columbia can also open up a lot of doors.

Columbia is home to the South Carolina State Museum.  Built in 1894, the museum is housed inside what was once the world’s first totally-electric textile mill.  It opened its doors as the State Museum in 1988 and it is a great place to discover all about the natural and cultural history of South Carolina.

For families with young children there’s EdVenture.  Located next door to the State Museum, EdVenture is the largest children’s museum in the South. It houses over 300 interactive exhibits and a gigantic playground in the form of Eddie, the world’s biggest kid.

Less than a mile from the State Museum and EdVenture is the SC Confederate Relic Room and Military Museum.  This museum is a must-see for any history or military buff!

Try a day trip-

A great way to avoid the cost of hotels, gas, and dining is to pack a lunch and take a day trip! Riverbanks Zoo is a great destination for families of all ages.  One hundred and seventy acres boasts animals from around the world, extensive botanical gardens, and many historical landmarksalong the Broad, Saluda, and Congaree rivers.  With lots of great activities, events, and learning experiences; a Riverbanks Zoo membership is a must-have for any midlands family.

South Carolina is home to a myriad of local festivals.  Most are free, and festivals are a great way to experience the culture, art, music, and cusine of your community.  This is a perfect way to spend a fun, educational, and delicious day with family and friends.

Another great way to spend a day close to home is to visit one of the midlands many parks.  Lake Murray is the perfect destination to spend the day boating, fishing, swimming, or sunbathing with the family.  No matter where you live in South Carolina, you are a short drive away from a beautiful  state park.  Hiking, swimming, white water rafting, and camping are all fun and inexpensive ways to take a break from the daily grind and enjoy time with family.

We are lucky to live in a state that has so much to offer, and with so many options it can be difficult to decide what you want to do on your staycation.  Creating a theme is a good way to help narrow the field.  You could spend a summer camping all over the state, or you could take historical tours or ghost tours across South Carolina.  You could even try to attend as many local festivals as possible!  The possibilities are endless, your family will love it, and your children will have plenty to write about when school starts in the fall.