Myrtle Beach Photos of Great Fun in the Sun (Myrtle Beach free things to do)

Cool ocean breeze…white sand tickling your toes…fresh saltwater smell and seagulls flying into the sunset…everybody in the family is in a good mood and willing to goof around (how often does this happen? 🙂 )

Stay at Ocean Creek Resort, an all inclusive and reasonable priced resort; secluded oasis on 57 beautifully landscaped acres and yet close to awesome Barefoot Landing and the Alligator Adventure attractions. It has excellent amenities (pools galore, tennis courts, golf, private beach access, restaurant).

If you’re looking for something to do with your family that’s affordable, educational, memorable and fulfilling then visit Brookgreen Gardens a National Historic Landmark with the world’s most significant collection of outdoor American sculptures and the only accredited zoo on the South Carolina coast.

However if you’re more an adrenaline pumping kind of person then go to Ripley’s Aquarium inside Broadway at the Beach. For about $20 ($10 for kids 6 to 11, and $4 for those 2 to 5) you can say Hello! to 15 foot Sharks pet feisty stingrays, and if you hurry up before the year’s end, can even “shake hands” with Blackbeard, the most ruthless pirate in the Caribbean known to man!

Keep your family happy in Myrtle Beach, a South Carolina’s top family attraction (golf anyone?!)

Harbison Forest park a daily family escape and guaranteed outdoor fun (almost free things to do)

Looking for a nice, relaxing, cheap and outdoor fun family weekend getaway? Columbia residents are spoiled with a 2000 acres “playground” at the Harbison State Forest park only 9 miles from downtown. The Harbison park is one of the largest public green spaces inside the city limits of a metropolitan area in the eastern United States. 16 miles of roads and trails weave through pine and hardwood forest crossing streams and descending through leafy glades to the Broad River.

The History
Harbison Forest soil once formed one of the first ocean ridges on the coastal plain. Thousands of years ago Catawba and Cherokee tribes traversed these woodlands to reach the Broad River. European settlers followed and formed the Dutch Fork farming community. Is hard to believe this entire area was covered with cotton up until early 1900’s!

Things to Enjoy at the Harbison State Forest park
You have 12 miles of very well-marked and maintained trails for walking (your dog as well), jogging, hiking, bicycling that range from easy to difficult. There is also a canoe landing with access for kayaks and canoes as a put in or take out from the river. Best picnic area is at the pine Gazebo that offers restrooms, outdoor grills and electric outlets From here you can also embark on the self-guided educational Discovery Trail where kids can learn about forestry, natural resources and conservation programs.(electricity is provided through a photo-voltaic solar system);

Tips to know before you go
1. If you live in Columbia and like to mountain bike get the $25 annual pass, it will pay for itself after 5 visits.

2. You can drive your car through most of the park and start on different biking and hiking trails. If this is your first visit start at the Education Center. You can ask get tips from the park rangers about each trail, use the very clean rest-rooms, fill up with water, get a very handy trail map and other park brochures.

From here you can hike Discovery to the Gazebo or the Learning trail which loops around the center where you can admire the picturesque Vernal pond; also from the Education Center you can start your biking adventure on the versatile Firebreak Trail.

3. Keep kids entertained and let them be explorers for a day on the Stewardship Trail Forester’s Walk. There is “detective” like guide at the trail entrance covering 26 noteworthy stops along the trail. The whole family can learn about uneven aged forest management, seed trees, artificial regeneration, perennial creeks, natural tree competition, bottomland hardwoods, and how to best spot wildlife. Guess the age of trees and how each disappeared, talk “forestry” (like go 2 chains) and see traces of historic farms.
Did you know that insects like the southern pine and black turpentine beetle and diseases kill more trees a year in South Carolina than wildfires? How about seeing a bike on tree? Well check it out for yourself.

4. Kayaks and canoe enthusiasts need to complete a float plan at the Education Center to get access to the landing; there is a gate at the Stewardship Trail entrance blocking the road leading to the boat landing; most likely a ranger will need to let you in (unless you rather prefer to back-carry your gear the remaining 1 mile to the river); there is no extra fee for using the river.

5. There are 3 restrooms in the park all functioning, however only the one at the Education Center has drinking water available.

Where
Harbison State Forest
5500 Broad River Road, Columbia, SC 29212
Info and reservations (803) 896-8890

Directions: From I-20 take the Broad River exit and continue on 176 West towards Irmo. Drive pass SLED, Juvenile Correction Center and the Police Offices Hall of Fame. The park entrance will be on your right.

Admission tickets: Adult $2, SC Seniors $1.25, under 15 years old is free. Biking daily permit is $5 and includes access to the park.

Join in the fun at Harbison State Forest park! You can also bring your family to the quiet easy going and always relaxing Sesquicentennial Park

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!

Columbia’s Sesquicentennial Park mountain bike trail in photos

Kids and parents come enjoy the mountain bike trail at the Sesquicentennial Park near downtown Columbia. The are 4 miles of outdoor beauty through an amazingly diverse terrain, from dense forests to desert like hills, from wide sandy paths to rocky curves that will challenge even the most experienced bikers.

Get more information and tips from this post on the Sesquicentennial Park mountain bike trail.

It’s fun, healthy, outdoor and practically free (only $2 per vehicle to enter the park). What else can you ask for?

Bikers of all ages unite in beautiful South Carolina!

Dog Hula Dancing video – The Palmetto Sportsmen Classic at State Fairgrounds

Bet you can’t hold the hula that long! Kids and grown ups had a great time watching the show put on by Comedy Canines at The Palmetto Sportsmen’s Classic held March 28 – 30 on the state fairgrounds in Columbia South Carolina.

Dog Lovers of the World Unite and Have Fun in South Carolina!

Havana the Dog dancing at SC Palmetto Sportsmen Festival – video

That Havana dog got some moves. It’s irresistible! Entire family has a blast watching these four legged wonders (part of Comedy Canines) perform at the South Carolina Sports and Outdoor Exhibit located at the state fairgrounds.

Kids and pets keep having fun in Columbia South Carolina

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.