Nestled between beaches and mountains, Sumter, South Carolina boasts the stunning, well kept Swan Lake Iris Gardens, one of their biggest attractions. Along with the beauty of the natural environment, there are many cultural activities to occupy yourself with here, such as the town’s opera house and art gallery. Whatever your preferences, discover the best things to do in Sumter, South Carolina, by reading this list and make the most of your visit.
1. Sumter Gallery of Art
If you want to immerse yourself in a bit of culture, make sure you visit the Sumter Art Gallery. Presenting many local artists’ works, it has three galleries downstairs and both permanent and temporary collections. Upstairs, you’ll find no less than seven classrooms, where educational events take place, so keep an eye out what’s on during your time in Sumter. And if you need a souvenir to remind you of your travels, there’s an excellent gift shop on-site.
Sumter Gallery of Art
Address: 200 Hasel St, Sumter, SC 29150-4506
Website: Sumter Gallery of Art
2. Swan Lake Iris Gardens
Be prepared to be amazed by the beautiful black water of Swan Lake and their spectacular iris gardens. It’s the only public park in America that houses all eight swan species, so you’re in for a treat if you manage to see them all! It’s also home to the most intensive collection of Japanese irises, with more than 120 varieties, which bloom yearly in mid to late May and last until the beginning of June, when thousands of visitors descend on the area.
While you’re here, make sure you check out the Butterfly Garden and the Chocolate Garden. The lake is dotted with colorful islands, turtles on bridges and wildlife everywhere.
Swan Lake Iris Gardens
Address: 822 W Liberty St, Sumter, SC 29150-4729
Website: Swan Lake Iris Gardens
3. Sumter County Museum
If you’re interested in the Civil War and history from this era, make sure you add a visit to the Sumter County Museum to your list. Here, you’ll find the preservation of objects, manuscripts, and documents, which relay the story of this area of South Carolina. The museum also includes the Williams-Brice House (1916), the Heritage Education Center (2003) and the Carolina Backcountry Homestead.
Sumter County Museum
Address: 122 N Washington St, Sumter, SC 29151
Website: Sumter County Museum
4. Sumter Opera House
The Sumter Opera House is a beautiful, historic building, with a rich past dating back to 1895. A popular venue with excellent acoustics and a proscenium decorated in Art Deco gold-leaf, it’s a great place to see a concert. Check out their events program and if you can, go and see one of their high-class performances while you’re in town.
Accommodating 550 seats, performances are an intimate affair, so you’ll get to enjoy watching a comedy or listening to music, easily. It also happens to be Sumter’s tallest building, with its Gothic towers standing over 100 feet (30.5 meters)!
Sumter Opera House
Address: 21 N Main St, Sumter, SC 29150-4945
Website: Sumter Opera House
5. The Links at Lakewood
The Links at Lakewood is one of the most popular golf courses in the area, which is great news if you want to play a round. Although some aspects of the course can be quite challenging, the design of the course will appeal to players of all levels. With the combination of excellent greens, a water feature, four different sets of tees and strategically placed sand traps to contend with, it’s bound to be a fun day out for any lover of the game.
The Links at Lakewood
Address: 3600 Green View Pkwy, Sumter, SC 29150-7060
Facebook: The Links at Lakewood
6. Battle of Dingle Mill Marker
If you’re keen on learning more about the Civil War and its history, then stop off at the Battle of Dingle Mill Marker. Although the war had ended, it was where one of the last battles took place. After the treaty had been signed, poor communication meant that they hadn’t been told, in time. In honor of the significance of the area and all who fought here, there are markers and information alongside the unmarked graves on the battlefield.
Battle of Dingle Mill Marker
Address: Manning Road, Sumter, SC
7. Second Mill Pond
Just a couple of miles outside South Sumter, you’ll find the Second Mill Pond, home to a variety of fish, including bream, bluegill, crappie and largemouth bass. This is an ideal spot to while away a few hours, fishing in the tranquility of nature and wildlife. If you’re planning a visit, then refer to their website for the Fishing Times Chart, to determine when the fish will be most active.
Second Mill Pond
Address: 1046 W Liberty St Sumter, SC 29151
8. Sumter Speedway
Being over 50 years old, the Sumter Speedway is one of the oldest tracks in South Carolina and is a great opportunity for an evening out, during your travels. Every Saturday, from March to September, you’ll get the chance to feel the thrill of the cars roaring around the track. Seats can be purchased for either the bleachers or a pit pass and at an affordable price, there’ll be plenty of fun to be had.
Address: 3150 Wedgefield Hwy Sumter, South Carolina 29154
Website: Sumter Speedway
Have some fun times in Sumter
If you’re planning a day out or just a few days getaway and you’re wanting to explore Sumter, you’ll find plenty to fill up your days. Try your hand at fishing or golf, visit the museum or opera house and take in the peaceful atmosphere of the surrounding countryside and lakeside views.
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