5 Unique Day Trips From Columbia, South Carolina

When you need a break from the daily grind of life’s responsibilities, taking a day trip can be a great way to break away from every day and do something fun. Outside of Columbia, you can find many different activities to intrigue, educate and relax you.  Whatever you like to do, tour an art museum, go for a hike or bike ride or sample some unique eats or bring a picnic with you. A few hours’ drive in any direction can connect you with some amazing attractions, state parks, and activities. Planning is an important aspect of a good trip, so a day trip should be treated like a mini-vacation. You follow similar steps in preparing your home, family, and vehicle for the day.

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What are some unique day trips you can take from Columbia?

Columbia has tons of day trip destinations within an easy drive of the city. Five of the most unique spots to take a day trip from Columbia, SC, are:

  • Whitewater Rafting and Zip Lines
  • Riverbank Zoo and Garden
  • Camp Romain Wildlife Refuge
  • Historic Camden
  • Parris Island

Making lists of what you need to bring, researching the area, and designing a simple itinerary will make the unique day trip easy to enjoy and memorable.

I always try to keep an open mind when I plan a day trip. I might plan the itinerary but also be flexible and check out a few other adventures in the direction I am headed so I can have a few surprises along the way.

The Best Day Trips Outside Of Columbia

Whitewater Rafting and Zip Lines

1251 Academy Road, Long Creek, South Carolina 29658

(864) 647-9587

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This day trip adventure is not for the faint of heart. A day trip down the Chattanooga River via raft or other vessel is a perfect adventure for a group of people who love waterfalls and nature. You can get away and test your body’s strength and spirit’s will.

There are different adventures for people of different skill levels, from novice to expert, easy to difficult, and diverse lengths. Some include lodging and cover different parts of the river, so it might become an adventure that you do over again.

There is a minimum age of twelve for participants. The participants must be in good health when enjoying this day trip adventure.

If the whitewater rafting isn’t to your liking, you can take a zipline tour to get a different view of the river.

It makes for a quick day trip at just under a hundred and seventy-five miles and over a two-hour drive from Columbia.

Riverbank Zoo and Garden

500 Wildlife Parkway, Columbia, South Carolina 29210

(803) 779-8717

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This small zoo located on less than two hundred acres will allow you and your traveling party to enjoy the wilds of Africa without leaving the United States. You can see lions, giraffes, and other wild animals in a natural habitat.

There are reptiles and a birdhouse to explore and enjoy a skywalk to enjoy the zoo from a different perspective. There is a farm ride and train for the kiddos to explore. They can enjoy kangaroos, climbing walls, and feeding the animals when they are done walking around.

To finish everything off, there is an adorable carousel to ride.

Camp Romain Wildlife Refuge

5801 North Highway 17, Awendaw, South Carolina 29429

(843) 881-4582

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Visitors need to travel by boat only to enjoy the famous Boneyard beach and a great wildlife refuge of over sixty-five thousand acres. You can try to identify the over two hundred and fifty bird species that call this area home. In breaks from enjoying the outdoor beauty and wildlife, there are also two lighthouses that offer a bit of history.

The trip is less than two hours and just under one hundred and fifty miles from Columbia.

Historic Camden

222 Broad Street, Camden, South Carolina 29020

(803) 432-9841

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The oldest inland South Carolina town is rich in historic sites and architecture. There are cottages and mansions to explore and a Revolutionary War Site to discover, all located on over a hundred acres. You can explore reconstructed buildings and learn about the diverse history of this area.

Tours include a tavern and exhibits, programs, and seasonal events hosted during peak seasons. At many different times, you will find local artisan wares on the grounds where you can purchase candles, jewelry, and other items inspired by the rich history of the area and the past.

The trip takes less than an hour from Columbia, and the clock tower is a sight not to be missed.

Parris Island

283 Boulevard De France, Parris Island, South Carolina 29905

(843) 228-2111

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This military facility that trains Marines is loaded with history and beautiful walking trails where you can check out this island’s monuments and lavish scenery. Visiting the museum for an in-depth look at the history of the island is a must before you leave.

There is a visitors center to gain information upon arrival and maps that can direct visitors to the island’s sites and historical statues and monuments. Some rules must be followed during a visit as this is a working training facility for the military. Still, it offers great knowledge and an unforgettable day trip experience.

Since you are so close to the ocean, a nice island and beach adventure might be possible since it is under fifty miles and not far over two hours in driving time.

What should I pack on my day trip adventure?

The things you should pack on your day trip adventure will include essential items that are different for everyone. They can include medications, water, snacks, credit or debit cards, and cash. Depending on the adventure you’re taking, things like sunscreen, a change of clothing, a special camera, and your phone are necessary.

Like any trip, whether three weeks or one day, you should make a list of the things you will bring and pack what you can beforehand.

Closing Point

Unique day trip getaways are easy no matter where you are if you have an open mind and some time to seek out your next adventure. 

When you need a little fun and have the time to take a break and enjoy, finding a great activity is easy outside of Columbia, South Carolina, where there are tons of things to do. So, grab that backpack and cooler, gather up the gang and head out for some fun!