Columbia Canal and Riverfront Park: unwind in the outdoors, admire wildlife, experience Columbia history and have family fun for FREE!

The Columbia Canal and Riverfront Park is the city’s secret jewel. At the confluence of 3 Rivers (Congaree, Broad and Saluda) and minutes from downtown, EdVenture and the State Museum, Riverfront Park is an oasis of outdoor relaxation, amazing history and abundant wildlife, the entire family can enjoy every day for free!

Paved walking trail along the Riverfront canalPart of the Capitol City Passage, connecting Fort Jackson to Congaree Riverfront, the park is open daily untill 9:00 PM.

With emergency call stations spread thrChildren biking by the river in Columbiaoughout the 3 miles lighted and paved trail and regularly pattrolled by park rangers, the park is very safe.

All day there are people walking, bicycling, jogging, fishing or just having a romantic picnic by the outdoor amphitheater. Romantic Picnic at Columbia Riverfront Park

Travel Tips: Bring your water or juice bottle along; there is a water fountain at the restroom near the park entrance, so you can refill there. Once you go over the bridge there is no drinking water on the trail.

Little kids can also enjoy a very nice playground across from the parking lot. There is no shade, so in the hot summer days make sure you keep them hydrated.

Historic sites you can admire along the river trail

1. The Columbia Canal, built between 1819 and 1824 was a major transportation route before the Columbia Water plant Riverfront Park entrancerailroad boom and the Civil War; home to the world’s first hydro-electrically powered textile mill (later destroyed in the war) and current municipal water plant (originally built in 1906).
Broad River bridge sight of Civil War battle in Columbia
2. The 1865 Civil War battle over Broad River bridge where Sherman’s troups prevailed and the Columbia’s mayor had to surrender the city.

3. The ruins of the state’s first prison, built in 1868 and operating until 1993. Always overcrowded some say it is still haunted by its formers “guests”.

4. The one room Little Red School House open 1867 through 1913

Little Red School House at Riverfront Park in Columbia5. The archeological site of where Native Americans used to live more than 10,000 years ago.

6. The large rounded granite boulders spread all over Congaree river; these geological wonders

Gray Blue Heron on granite boulders by geological Fall Lineare the result of North American and African tectonic plates collision and remnants of the Appalachian Mountains.

Amazing wildlife and flora

Water Snake by the canal at Riverfront Park


Over 350 birds species use the river for nesting or migrating. Among these you can spot the red-tailed hawk, the the crested cormoran, the great blue heron, and the bald eagle.Soft shelled Turtles by the River Walk in Columbia.

There are plenty of reptiles like water snakes, alligators and soft-shell turtles.
Riverfront Park also features the rare Spider Lily, unusually growing in the boulders crevaces that border the Congaree river.

Spider Lily at Riverfront Park Where:

312 Laurel StreetColumbia, SC 29201 – (803)-733-8613
Take I-126 into Columbia then exit onto Huger Street. Go south on Huger Street two blocks, then turn right onto Laurel Street. Follow Laurel Street to the main parking lot. The park entrance is right by the AT&T building.

See more breathtaking Canal and Riverfront Park photos in my slide show.

Have an awesome family vacation in South Carolina!

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3 Responses

  1. […] If there’s still time and energy left drive to the Columbia Riverfront Canal park nearby for fresh air and an amazing walk down the river. Check out the following photos for a sneak peak inside the museum: Nothing like playing live […]

  2. […] The Columbia Canal and Riverfront Park is the city’s secret jewel. At the confluence of 3 Rivers (Congaree, Broad and Saluda) and minutes […]

  3. […] Columbia, Richland County: The Congaree River threw up 10 foot waves. The Ray Charged Copper Battery scam of the late 1880s… See whether you […]

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