Columbia Canal and Riverfront Park: unwind in the outdoors, admire wildlife, experience Columbia history and have family fun for FREE!Posted By shoutabout,Date: 04.03.2008
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!
Part of the Capitol City Passage, connecting Fort Jackson to Congaree Riverfront, the park is open daily until 9:00 PM. With emergency call stations spread throughout the 3 miles lighted and paved trail and regularly patrolled by park rangers, the park is very safe. People are walking, bicycling, jogging, fishing or just having a romantic picnic by the outdoor amphitheater.
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 railroad 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).
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
5. Archeological site of where Native Americans used to live more than 10,000 years ago and the large rounded granite boulders, a result of North American and African tectonic plates collision and remnants of the Appalachian Mountains.
Amazing wildlife and flora
Over 350 birds species use the river for nesting or migrating, like the red-tailed hawk, the crested cormorant, the great blue heron, and the bald eagle. 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 crevices that border the Congaree river.
312 Laurel Street Columbia, 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 Riverfront Canal photos slide show.
Have an awesome family vacation in Columbia, South Carolina!
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Filed Under: Biking, Columbia, Free Things to Do, Historic Carolina Sites, Riverfront Park, Walking and Jogging
Tags: Biking, Columbia family attractions, Columbia family fun activities, Columbia free things to do, Columbia fun kids activities, Columbia fun things to do, Columbia Riverfront walking, Columbia Riverfront wildlife photos, Columbia weekend fun, Congaree fishing, Congaree river photos, EdVenture, Historic Carolina Sites, Outdoor Carolina, Riverfront Canal biking, Riverfront Canal photos, Riverfront jogging, Riverfront Park, SC State Museum