Adrenaline Rush in the Outdoors of South Carolina
By Idoia Gkikas
South Carolina is more than just a quaint Southern state. Not only charming, South Carolina is also an ideal place for outdoors sports enthusiasts. In fact, there are many ways to engage your adventurous spirit here, from exciting water sports to challenging mountain trails.
South Carolina has 12 major lakes that are perfect for inland water sports. One of them is Lake Murray, where I was fortunate to go sailing at night under the stars on my friend’s boat. The next day, I traded the tranquility of my moonlight cruise for the giddy excitement of water skiing across the lake. The lake also hosts nationally sponsored fishing tournaments, and is known for its four types of fish including striped bass, largemouth bass, bream and crappie. It’s true – the Lake Murray area offers an endless variety of outdoor activities for the whole family! It’s a reservoir of approximately 50,000 acres (200 km²) in size, and has roughly 500 miles (800 km) of shoreline where you can rent a boat to join in on the fun.
Challenging Mountain Biking
If your idea of adventure includes cycling on single track mountain trails, you’ll find what you seek throughout South Carolina. The so-called Upcountry region (the northwest area) is home to the best mountain biking in the state. In Greenville, Paris Mountain State Park has about 15 miles (24 km) of biking trails of varying difficulty (note: mountain biking is prohibited on Saturdays). Croft State Park in Spartanburg also has a 15-mile trail perfect for biking.
Rafting the Chattooga River
Protected from development as a “Wild and Scenic River”, the Chattooga River is definitely the place to go in South Carolina for whitewater rafting. This is a free-flowing river, meaning it does not have an upstream dam affecting the current, and, thus, the water responds quickly to rainfall. The section of this river in South Carolina has class IV and V whitewater rafting. This means you are in for an exciting ride if you are an experienced paddler! The Savannah River is another option that includes Class I-V rapids to enjoy.
Wake up the sleeping racecar driver inside you! South Carolina is home to three racetracks. The Myrtle Beach Speedway along the coast lets you speed along the track just centimeters away from the wall. Inland, the Darlington Raceway, hosts the NASCAR Southern 500 on a course known as “too tough to tame,” which hosts events year round. Or, in the upcountry in Greer, you can test drive all BMWs on their off road, wet and speed tracks as part of the BMW Performance Driving School. Whether you’re witnessing the speeding cars at the Darlington Raceway, or riding in a racecar on the BMW tracks or the Myrtle Beach Speedway, your adrenaline will be pumping and unforgettable memories created!
In addition, look out for other outdoor adventures such as zip lining, challenging hiking, horse riding, kayaking, boogie boarding, stand up paddleboarding, paragliding, sailing, diving, river, lake and deep sea fishing. In short, thrilling sports and outdoors activities abound in South Carolina. While there are also numerous ways to relax statewide, South Carolina has endless thrills for those who seek them.