Incredible marsh views from the Hunting Island boardwalk trail (free things to do)

It’s just one mile long and you could finish it in less than 15 minutes. Do yourself a favor and take the time to take it all in. The marshes look spectacular especially late afternoon and right before the sunset. There is an abundance of colors, sounds, smells and wildlife to enjoy: from the little “Samurai crab warriors” and jelly fish stranded in the mud to ospreys, elegant egrets and brown pelicans flying high in the sky.

Bring your fishing gear, the camera, binoculars or just a book. And of course plenty of bug spray and sunscreen…can’t avoid that but is not too bad. This will be the best therapy session you will never had to pay!

The trail is conveniently located less than a mile pass the entrance to the Hunting Island State Park.

Enjoy and always cherish the marshes of the Carolina Lowcountry Sea Islands!


Just Amazing Alligator Photos from South Carolina

Alligators are truly amazing creatures. We are so blessed to still see them all around South Carolina (like the Alligator Adventure in Myrtle Beach or Charles Towne Landing in Charleston).

Just recently, Business Week published in article underscoring once more their excellent survival skills and importance to the human race. Apparently, alligators have super-potent proteins in their blood with the ability to fight off fungi, viruses and drug resistant super-bugs. Researchers unleashed these proteins on 23 different strains of disease carrying bacteria. All of them were killed – a feat unequaled by any known human blood protein!

This post is an ode to one of the most magnificent and ancient animal on Earth. “You’re alright mate! You’re alright”…

Keep watching, respecting and protecting the South Carolina alligators!

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Sesqui Park Mountain Bike Trail Details (Columbia things to do)

The Sesquicentennial Park near downtown Columbia features a very nice 4 miles long mountain bike trail that both beginners and seasoned bikers can equally enjoy. The serene, peaceful and mostly single track trail will take you through the park’s dense longleaf pine and turkey oak trees. The trail has a sandy surface that sometimes is inches deep and makes the ride quite challenging even for more experienced bicyclists.

Narrow path on the mountain bike trail at Sesqui Park ColumbiaIf you go during the week there is hardly a soul around: just you, the bike and the forest. No matter the skill level, everyone will find something interesting along the trail: from wide smooth paths to rough root and stone covered patches to longleaf pine trees, so dense you can barely squeeze through, to desert like hills.

Tips to know before you go

1. Play it safe. Wear your helmet and know your limits. When in doubt just carry the bike till you feel comfortable riding again.

2. Stay on trail and follow the signs. The mountain bike trail is marked with a blue diamond and between each marker you will see the trees painted blue. It’s very easy to get disoriented and at times you feel like you’re going in circles; just follow the signs and you’ll be OK. Through baby pine trees on the mountain bike trail at Sesqui Park ColumbiaThere are no maps along the trail to tell you where you are, how far you still have to go and what’s noteworthy to see in the surrounding areas. Pretty much you’re on your own.

3. This can be a great family weekend gateway. If you go alone tell someone when and where you are going. Bring your cell-phone; there is very good signal throughout the park.

4. Carry plenty of water since there is no drinking water along the trail; I didn’t see any water fountain at the park’s facilities. The restrooms by the picnic and boat area were closed during the week. Put on sunscreen and wear long sleeves it can get really hot out there.

Desert like area on the bike trail at Sesqui Park Columbia5. It took me 2 hours to complete the trail. I’m a beginner and I also stopped frequently to take pictures.

6. Watch out for deep patches of sand especially when going downhill. You can easily lose control; keep the bike straight and break on smoothly, same as when you’re driving the car on icy roads.
Rough uphill bike trail portion at Sesqui Park Columbia
7. Uphill roots provide good grasping for tires, yet avoid the bigger ones that can kill your momentum or worse make you tip over.

8. Besides some birds I didn’t run into any wildlife.

9. To find out what other activities you can enjoy at the Sesquicentennial park see my previous post.
This is a great exercise that will you test you physically and mentally. You will enjoy fresh air and mountain like outdoors just minutes from the noisy downtown city traffic. All in all, biking at the Sesquicentennial Park it’s a guaranteed family fun activity. For only $2 per vehicle it qualifies for a “free thing to do” in Columbia.

To get a better idea of what you might run into on the mountain bike trail take a look at this slideshow:

If you’re ready to take it to the next level test your skills and nerves on the Spider Woman II or Lost Creek trails in beautiful Harbison State Forest park also close to downtown Columbia.

Keep on biking through beautiful South Carolina parks!

Folly Beach in Winter Photo Essay

Winter is so peaceful on the South Carolina beaches. Love at first sight on my first visit to Folly Beach, just a 15 minutes drive from downtown Charleston.
Come and see for yourself.

Have all year round fun at the beautiful Carolina beaches!

More free family travel attractions in Charleston area:

  • Isle of Palms a more family oriented beach close to Isle of Palms County Park and its awesome zip-line equipped playground. Also nearby are historic Fort Moultrie and USS Yorktown aircarft carrier.
  • Fort Moultrie: visit heroic Revolutionary War battles, ingenious Palmetto trees defense system, intriguing WWII radio communication and photo incredible vistas of the Ravenel bridge.
  • Self guided tour of Charleston’s most outrageous murders, famous ghost sightings and unsolved mysteries.
  • Columbia Riverfront Park photos – Free things to do outdoor

    Come outside, get some fresh air, enjoy the blooming trees and the migratory birds. Riverfront Park is located in downtown Columbia minutes from State House and EdVenture museums. You can walk, jog, bike or skate for miles and miles by the peaceful Congaree river. For sportier types you can fish, canoe or kayak.

    Here are some 20 or so reasons to get off the couch! If you’re visiting this is your free afternoon spa! For moms with young kids there is a very nice playground at the park’s entrance.

    Still not convinced? get more enticing details and tips from this Columbia Riverfront Canal post

    If time permits relive the history and be a proud South Carolinian at the magnificent SC State House. You can enjoy for free its fascinating history, outstanding architecture, remarkable sculptures, monuments and Revolutionary War paintings.

    Cypress Gardens: “The Black Water Swamp” in pictures

    See my previous post on Cypress Gardens for more info. Here is the swamp tour in photos

    Cypress Garden – near Charleston SC

    Jackson Hole: Ski Photo Essay

    Here are some of the photos I took at Jackson Hole

    If you want to see the captions watch my album on Picasa

    Jackson Hole