ITINERARY: A Family-Friendly Weekend Getaway in Columbia, S.C.
In Partnership with Experience Columbia SC
Southern charm and an easy-going attitude make Columbia a great place for families. In the heart of South Carolina, just 90 miles south of Charlotte, there are more activities for the whole family than hours to do them. Below, we’ve assembled a sampling of what’s in South Carolina’s capital city and the surrounding area for families:
After getting settled, it’s time to fuel up! Stop by Groucho’s in the Five Points district to try one of their famous sandwiches (Apollo Dipper, anyone?). After one bite, you’ll understand why the locals rave about this place. Once you’re stuffed, it’s time for an out-of-this-world experience at two of the Southeast’s best museums:
Take one step into EdVenture, a children’s museum, and you’ll spot Eddie, a 40-foot tall, 10-year-old boy that kids can climb to explore the human brain, heart, and stomach. From there, visit the busy bee farm or the neighborhood market, and be sure to check out the exhibits. Sit in the cockpit at the FLIGHT exhibit, and experience the sensation of flying over Columbia.
EdVenture shares a parking lot with the South Carolina State Museum, making it easy to keep the learning going. With four floors of art, science, history, and technology exhibits, the whole family will dig this spot. They’ve got a digital planetarium, 4D interactive theater, and Boeing observatory deck as well as a constant cycle of exhibits.
All of that hands-on learning and discovery will work up an appetite again, and you can satisfy those growling stomachs with a visit to Cantina 76 on Main Street. The Mexican-inspired menu has something for everyone to enjoy (and not to mention, hand-crafted margaritas for parents). Then, enjoy a mouth-watering treat from Sweet Cream Co. Hand-crafted with the highest quality ingredients, Sweet Cream Co. takes ice cream to the next level.
Start the morning off with breakfast at Eggs Up Grill on Devine Street. Here, they have a “pick 3” option for the kiddos to get exactly what they want. We suggest ordering an extra plate of caramel apple pancakes to share, these delicacies are giant in size, and fluffy in texture, which makes them perfect for splitting before heading back to Main Street for your next adventure.
On Saturdays, experience Soda City Market with the family. Grab some Carolina popcorn, boiled peanuts, and coffee to keep everyone content while you stroll charming Main Street. The kids will likely have their pick of balloon animals or face painting, and they can watch magicians and musicians perform in the streets around them. All the while, you can grab some fresh produce and locally-made gifts. Don’t forget to stop in at Mast General. Your kids will like the barrels of candy and old-timey toys, and you can peak at some breezy outdoor fashion or the latest camping gear.
From there, check out the Columbia Museum of Art, just off Boyd Plaza in the heart of Soda City. The museum offers gallery scavenger hunts, art explorer backpacks, and a hands-on creative space to keep kids engaged while touring the museum.
Time to burn some more energy and go bananas at Frankie’s Fun Park. They’ve got an arcade, mini golf, go-carts, and more. Or give Plex HiWire a try. The trampoline park has locations in Irmo and Northeast Columbia. We’ve seen 12-year-olds and 30-year-olds enjoy jumping into foam pits.
Wrap up the evening with a family favorite: pizza at Za’s on Devine. Once you’ve cleaned your plates, head to Pelican’s Snoballs for a true, New Orleans-style snow cone.
Get your day started with a strong cup of coffee, and a quick breakfast at smallSUGAR in The Vista district. Some caffeine and one of their delicious tartines will give you the energy boost you need to get to your last adventure of the weekend.
A trip to Columbia is incomplete without a trip to Riverbanks Zoo for animal spotting, giraffe feeding, and adventure-seeking. This is not your average zoo with its Waterfall Junction, rock climbing wall, and sky-high safari vertical ropes challenge. The zoo also features family-friendly signature events throughout the year, like Boo at the Zoo during the fall season.
Want to avoid the crowds? There are tons of options to explore the great outdoors. If you’re a hiking family, lace up your boots and head to Congaree National Park, South Carolina’s only National Park. Looking to kayak, canoe, or picnic? Saluda Shoals, located along the banks of the Saluda River, is a great place to spend the day. Their splash pad is perfect to keep the little ones cool and entertained on a toasty summer day.
Be sure to head to Experience Columbia SC’s website for more ideas on enjoying the region!