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Have a splashing good time at Sesquicentennial State Park

It’s hot in Columbia this time of year, and if you are in town to see attractions such as Riverbanks Zoo or EdVenture Children’s Museum, you may want to cool off at Sesquicentennial State Park. If your family loves camping, you can even stay here as you explore Columbia. Both RV and tent camping are available.

Located on Two Notch Road, the park is not far from the city center. It features a 30-acre lake surrounded by woodlands. Near the lake is also a large splash pad. The park offers paddleboats and paddleboards for a rental fee of $10 per hour. Paddleboards are available seasonally. Kayaks, canoes, and fishing boats are available for rental fee of $5 per hour or $25 per day.

A two-acre, fenced dog park allows visitors to take their furry friends off-leash. Permits are required for dogs – either $4 per day or $25 annually.

If you feel like walking around the lake, a path will take you about halfway around before splitting off to a wooded trail. The wide, flat path alongside the lake leads to a bridge and a series of manmade waterfalls. The path is heavily shaded by mature trees, a welcome relief from the sun. 

The waterfalls are the spot to turn around and backtrack if you aren’t looking for a woodland hike. If you do opt to continue your adventure, the hike will follow the Sandhills Hiking Trail, which is approximately two miles. At the end, you will find yourself at a trailhead on the opposite side of the parking lot from the lake. 

If you are looking for a longer hike, you can take the Loop Trail at 3 1/2 miles, but it doesn’t follow along the lake. Mountain bikers can try a six-mile trail. Those looking for an educational experience should be sure to check out the Jackson Creek Nature Trail, with educational signage about the plants in the pine forest. The half-mile nature trail ends with a scenic vista of the lake.    

If the weather is agreeable, there are also two playgrounds. You may also notice a two-story log cabin as you drive through the park.

The park is filled with wildlife, including deer, owls, beavers and more. In winter, you might get lucky and spot a Bald Eagle. 

Groups visiting Columbia may want to consider staying at the retreat center at the park. Up to 30 guests can be accommodated. 

YOU CAN GO: Sesquicentennial State Park, 9564 Two Notch Road, Columbia. For details, hours, events and more, visit Park admission is $5 each for adults, $3.25 each for ages 65 and older, $3 each for ages 6 – 15 and free for ages 5 and younger or with a Park Passport.