Living Here Guide

How We Go Columbia: Lake Murray

tdominick@thestate.com

From pontoon parades to bass boats and Bomb Island, Lake Murray has something for everyone who loves nature and the water. The 50,000-acre reservoir located about 15 miles northwest of Columbia is known for its excellent fishing and boating. It has been a stop on the Bass Masters and the Forrest Wood Cup professional bass fishing tour. Large striped bass are also plentiful for those who want more bang for their bite.

There is plenty of room for recreational water sports, too. The adventurous can try water skiing, tubing, wake boarding, or wake surfing while the more laid back may boat to one of the many islands to swim and relax on the shore. Bobbing is a good pastime, too. That’s when you take the flotation device of your choice and let the motion of the water massage the stress away.

Bomb Island, near the center of the lake, was used by Doolittle’s Raiders as a target for dropping bombs in preparation for their famous air raid on Tokyo in 1942. The island, also known as Doolittle Island, is designated as North America’s first official sanctuary for Purple Martins.

The Lake Murray Fourth of July Fireworks Celebration is a favorite time for families to board their boats to watch a dazzling display of fireworks soaring into the night sky and reflecting off of the water.

Billy Dreher Island State Park offers campsites with facilities and lakeside villas. There are also picnic tables and shelters for daytime outings. SCE&G has two recreational areas on each end of the dam. The south end of the dam has a large beach area for swimming.

Nature abounds on Lake Murray. There are chances to see mother ducks with their ducklings navigating the shoreline, great blue herons in their large nests atop pine trees, and osprey diving headfirst into the water and surfacing with a fish. Deer roam the woods on Dreher Island.

There are lakeside restaurants, lake cruises, a sailing academy, 12 public landings, numerous marinas and house and boat rentals, all of which make Lake Murray a pleasure destination.

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