There is no doubt that fall is one of Columbia’s best seasons.
And there are any number of ways to sample all the season has to offer, whether it’s hiking in a park, attending a festival or getting lost in a corn maze.
We’ve pulled together five of our favorites.
Now, get out there and enjoy.
Walk among the trees: One of the nicest times to visit South Carolina’s only national park, Congaree, is in the fall. Walk the boardwalk, hike a trail, or take advantage of one of the many free programs. The weekend of Oct. 9-10, for example, you can join a nature discovery walk or take a guided canoe trip. Worth noting: The upper boardwalk, which includes some of the park’s spectacular champion trees, could reopen later this year. It’s been closed for more than a year due to ice storm damage. Congaree National Park is in Lower Richland. www.nps.gov/cong
On the water: What better way to enjoy a beautiful fall day and take in the changing leaves than from a boat on Lake Murray? If you don’t own a boat, check into options for renting one (www.lakemurraycountry.com) or let someone else do the driving. The Spirit of Lake Murray (www.lakemurraycruises.com) is one operator that offers themed cruises, including some during the fall season. Check out river outfitters in the Vista, too, like Adventure Carolina, for fall outings.
Boo at the Zoo: This family-friendly event, running 6-9 p.m. Oct. 16-30, is a family Halloween favorite. Enjoy Frankenstein’s Foam Zone, Spooky Safari, lighted displays and other activities. Costumes are encouraged, and there is trick-or-treating for young guests. Advance tickets are advised: $8 Riverbanks members, $10 general public, and free for ages 2 and younger. Any tickets that remain the night of the event are $12 at the gate. www.riverbanks.org
Clinton Sease Farm Corn Maze: This year’s theme at the 8-acre corn maze, open Sept. 18 through Nov. 15, is “Sherman’s March Through S.C.” The maze will have clues, pictures and games to help you get through. For an extra challenge, go on Friday and Saturday, which are Flashlight Nights – bring your own, and try to navigate the maze in the dark. There are other activities, too – among them a Kiddie Corn Maze, Tire Maze, hayrides and more. The farm is at 404 Olde Farm Road, Lexington. Tickets are $10; ages 2 and younger, free. (803) 730-2863; www.clintonseasefarm.com
Pick an event – any event: The fall, particularly October, is one of the Columbia area’s busiest months, with more festivals and special events than you could possibly attend. Most events are outdoors, which is an added bonus for enjoying the cooler weather. Among our favorites: S.C. State Fair, Oct. 14-25; any of the music festivals (Congaree Bluegrass, Carolina Downhome Blues, Columbia Blues); Five Points Chili Cookoff, Nov. 7; and, any of the walk/run events, including the Walk for Life, Oct. 17.