Events to love on Lake Murray this spring and summer
“Lake Murray is the jewel of South Carolina,” said Miriam Atria, president and CEO of the Capital City-Lake Murray Country Regional Tourism Board. “It’s the largest recreational asset in this region.”
And many businesses and organizations capitalize on Lake Murray’s appeal by hosting events on the 50,000-acre water playground.
You can enjoy Lake Murray every day, regardless of whether you have a boat or a lakefront house. Folks can enjoy sunsets over the lake at one of the public parks by the dam or take in views often captured in pictures while walking over the dam. Businesses rent boats, restaurants offer lakeside dining and drinking, and Dreher Island State Park has hiking and camping.
Throughout the spring and summer, events also give folks an excuse to enjoy some lake time. Here are some of those events:
Demo Day at Dreher Island
WHEN: 1-6 p.m. Sunday, April 30
WHERE: Dreher Island State Park, 3677 State Park Road, Prosperity
WHY: If you’ve ever wanted to try out the latest in paddle sports gear, this is your chance to test kayaks, canoes and stand-up paddleboards. Pay $2 to get into the park, then the demo event is free and includes lunch. You can avoid the park entry fee if you’re one of the first 50 attendees, courtesy of River Runner.
WHEN: Saturday, June 3
WHERE: Near Spence Island
WHY: Boats will tie up for this annual music event, which organizers call “the world’s largest floating music festival.” Any proceeds from the free event will go to the vets’ support organization Hidden Wounds.
Fourth of July Fireworks and Boat Parade
WHEN: Saturday, July 1
WHERE: Spence Island and Dreher Island
WHY: The boat parade is a patriotic, fun experience as they putter around from Bomb Island to the dam. Then as dusk descends, folks all around the lake can watch one of the biggest fireworks shows in the Midlands is set off from two locations.
Lake Murray Triathlon
WHEN: 8 a.m. Saturday, May 13
WHERE: Dreher Island State Park
WHY: Some people like to run, bike and swim within minutes. Some like to watch others run, bike and swim within minutes. Either way, Dreher Island State Park is a scenic place to do it. The swim is one counter-clockwise 750-meter loop; the bike course is a 16-mile loop; and the 5K run is a one-loop course with several out and back spurs, and is relatively flat and shaded.
Weekend With The Pros
WHEN: Friday, June 16-Saturday, June 17
WHERE: Frayed Knot, 1701 Dreher Island Road, Chapin
WHY: Shaun Murray will be one of the pros on hand to give exhibitions and lessons. Murray is a four-time World champion wakeboarder and the main character featured in the video game “Wakeboarding Unleashed.”
WHERE: Frayed Knot; Catfish Johnny’s, 1925 Johnson Marina Road, Chapin; Liberty on the Lake, 1602 Marina Road, Irmo; Lake Murray Deli & Bar, 3340 U.S. 378, Leesville; Buffalo Creek Bar & Grill, 850 Marina Way, Prosperity; Lake House Grub and Pub, 3660 Prosperity Highway, Prosperity.
WHY: These local lakefront restaurant and bars offer local bands throughout the summer – some year-round. Enjoy chillin’ with friends while listening to music and gazing at Lake Murray. All have outdoor, lakeside dining options.
WHEN: 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday, Aug. 21
WHERE: Lake Murray Dam public parks – Irmo side, 2101 N. Lake Drive, Lexington, and Lexington side (Lake Murray beach), 1888 N. Lake Drive, Lexington.
WHY: The rare total solar eclipse happens on this day, and Columbia is going to be one of the best locations to view it in the U.S. Tents will be set up at both sides of the Lake Murray dam. Park fees will apply ($3 for cars), but you’ll get free water and solar glasses.
Dam Swim for Drew
WHEN: Saturday, Sept. 9
WHERE: From the Irmo side of the Lake Murray dam to the Lexington side
WHY: This annual 2-mile open-water swim honors the memory of 11-year-old Drew Smith, killed in 1997 when a speedboat smashed into the boat he and his father were fishing from in a Lake Murray cove. Proceeds benefit the Drew Smith Memorial Scholarship, a $1,000 scholarship awarded to a Lexington High School senior who participates in the swim.
Lake Murray Dam Run
WHEN: Saturday, September 16
WHERE: From the Lexington side of Lake Murray dam to Saluda Shoals Park on the Irmo side.
WHY: Because any excuse to run a 10K race with a view is a good one.
*Original content found on The State