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Did you know that today is National Plan Your Vacation Day?

Lake Murray, SC 01/26/2021 (Paul Kirby) – Today, January 26th is National Plan Your Vacation Day. It’s the perfect time to start thinking about shaking off those cold weather blues and deciding what you and your family would like to see, do, and enjoy as you take a few weeks off to rest and relax this spring or summer. After all, it has been a long trying year.

Destination analysts are reporting that over 54% of Americans are prioritizing their vacation time this year to give them more of an opportunity to explore the United States in 2021. When you look at what you have to spend, the time you have available, and what you’d like to do, perhaps cutting out a lot of the travel time and staying closer to home may be just what the doctor ordered for you and yours's. Remember, if you’re in the Midlands, you’re just a few hours from beautiful beaches, wonderful mountains, the rocking and rolling fun of Carowinds, and so much more to do right here!!!

Perhaps a Staycation might be in your future. What is a Staycation one might ask? Well, a Staycation is time for you to experience and learn all about the great places to visit and see right around where you live. You don’t have to spend hours stuffed in the car with, “Are we there yet?” clicking off every mile post. Why go through the expense and pressure of checking luggage, hassling with security, and having someone continuously hit you in the back with their knees as you cram like sardines into a small space during a long flight? Sure, you may dream about the great time you’ll have once you finally arrive at your destination but often, you spend the first day of your vacation just getting over the travel. Yep, staying closer to home may be just the ticket this year!

In the past, one thing that the Midlands’ largest attractions was missing was dedicated accommodations. Let’s face it, not everyone is lucky enough to live on beautiful Lake Murray and beside a few well-run campgrounds and fish camps, visitors didn’t have a lot of accommodation options if they chose to stay right on the water’s edge to enjoy The Jewel of SC, Lake Murray. However, with the advent of apps like Airbnb.com that’s all changed. They’ve made it much easier to cut out a lot of the travel and still have a great vacation right here at home.

If Lake Murray isn’t your idea of a place to enjoy yourself, try the Vista, West Columbia, or beautiful historical areas like downtown Newberry instead. Hey, pretend you’re royalty and treat yourself to several venues as you enjoy all that Capital City Lake Murray Country has to offer.


Capital City Lake Murray Country, the regional tourism district that promotes the four Midlands counties that surround beautiful Lake Murray, now has a way to help you plan that spring or summer getaway so that you can enjoy yourself right here close to home. Honestly, until you take the time to slow down and really consider your own backyard, you probably don’t know what you are missing.

Lake Murray is great any time of the year, but did you know that many of the locals forego the weekend for the weekdays? While younger water enthusiasts may enjoy the need for speed or the fun of a crowd gathered in a flotilla on Saturday or Sunday, most non-holiday weekdays on Lake Murray can have water that’s as smooth as glass. Boat rentals may be cheaper on weekdays and there’s probably a watercraft that will fit right into your plans for the day.

A pontoon boat is perfect for a picnic. The gentle hiss of the pontoons cutting through smooth water makes the most peaceful sound as you explore the many islands and unoccupied coves of the lake. Remember, there's more to Lake Murray than the dam and the areas around it. Plan a trip up the Saluda River, way up past Black’s Bridge. There are gas stops, Dreher Island State Park as well as neat little diners and places to eat as you travel. Not interested in stopping to eat at one of these, take a picnic basket from any of the fine restaurants or grocers that's around the lake in the small towns or cities. Remember, now is the time to treat yourself a little so don’t hold back.

Perhaps tomorrow you'll feel more adventurous. That may be your Personal War Craft or PWC day. PWC's, also known as jet skis, can be an absolute blast to ride for all ages. They’re a great way to see the beautiful homes and wildlife of Lake Murray Country. Make sure you understand and follow the rules before blasting off to have a safe fun filled time on the water. The same businesses that rent these can also rent paddleboards, kayaks, and lots of other water toys for you to enjoy.

There's world class fishing all over Lake Murray Country. Guides can put you onto the striped bass or other varieties of fish at different times of the years.


Don't forget about the rivers. There’s the Saluda, the Lower Saluda, the Broad, and all this water flows into the Congaree. All are great places to see wildlife and enjoy yourself. You can find an easy innertube rental in West Columbia or try a guided trip to catch the trout below the Lake Murray Dam. Many great guides can be found through Capital City Lake Murray Country’s website or by just stopping by the Visitor’s Center on North Lake Drive near the dam.

Perhaps being on the water is not your cup of tea. Check out Capital City Lake Murray Country’s website for world class places to eat just about any kind of cuisine. Got two weeks to rest, relax, and enjoy yourself? Try eating your way through some of the greatest restaurants anywhere. Pick a day to spend in Lexington and enjoy world-class Thai or the fun of an authentic Irish Pub. Hit the Chophouse in Chapin and then stroll through the art galleries and shops. Try Cayce’s new Arts District at State and Frink or West Columbia’s Interactive Art Park near State and Meeting. Just make time to stay and enjoy the great food and nightlife that’s available there.

Hey why not catch a ballgame while you’re unwinding? The Lexington County Blowfish are a huge hit with just about everyone but their opponents and many of the players who are now in college playing ball graduated from the great Lexington County school's surrounding the town. They come home each year to play for the Blowfish in the Coastal Plains League. Grab a cold drink, some great seats, and enjoy the boys of summer as they battle it out for the title. Many games end in a great firework display and all those dates and details can be found at https://goblowfishbaseball.com/.

Do you love history, natural beauty, or architecture? Perhaps it’s time to visit those spots you toured as a student years ago. History is in abundance around the Midlands for you to enjoy. Check out some of the historic homes in Columbia with small tours from guides that know and love the story behind these homes and the surrounding areas. Set up a tour of the SC State Capital and let your senator or representative know you’ll be there. Most will take a few moments to say hello to a voter and explain the history and the process that goes on there each year.

Don’t forget the museums. There’s the SC State Museum, Edventure, geared more to children, the Confederate Relic Room at the SC State Museum, and the Cayce Historical Museum with its huge selection of artifacts. Of course, there’s the Columbia Museum of Art and lots of great other choices if beauty is what you crave.


In the mood for a show? Try the schedule at the Koger Center, the Township, or the Newberry Opry House. There are also local theater groups that put on some top-notch shows.

If hiking outdoors is what you crave, don’t forget the Congaree National Park with its loads of hiking trails, cypress trees, and boardwalks that overlook swamps teaming with all types of wildlife. Check out the Cayce or West Columbia Riverwalk or stroll through the Botanical Gardens at the Riverbanks Zoo. Of course there's Waterfall Junction there for your little one and your teen would be thrilled to take a zipline ride.


There are sites of great historical significance in Cayce, Lexington, Newberry, and other towns and communities. Try the backroads and avoid the interstates if possible. Remember, those ribbons of concrete are for people that are in a hurry and you, on the other hand, are enjoying your Staycation.

I could go on and on about my favorites but why? Capital City Lake Murray Country is ready, willing, and most especially able to help you get started planning what you’ll do. Just click here to begin your own trip today.

For more about Capital City Lake Murray Country and all the things they can do to make your time here fun and informative check out their website at Lakemurraycountry.com.



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