The best family & pet activity in Columbia SC

I’ve lived in the midlands of SC for YEARS and somehow I have missed out on the gem that is Sesquicentennial State Park! This past weekend I met up with a client to shoot some family photos in Sesqui and I fell in love with this park. As soon as you enter the park you drive past as sign saying “what will your adventure be today?” which is an awesome indicator of the experience you’ll have at this park!

Woman laughing with her two children on a picnic blanket. The kids are all dressed in fall colors & corduroy and the mother is in an orange micro floral long sleeved dress.

To start, the cost is super affordable. $6 for adult admission and $3.50 for big kids, and children under 5 are free! It’s clear the cost of admission goes to keeping this park is impeccably well kept. You’ll notice as soon as you arrive at the gate to pay, it’s nice and clean, the road is freshly paved, and the staff is really friendly.

Dog friendly

Once you get in the park you’ll find a dog park a little ways up the road. Payment is required to use the dog park, but it’s also really reasonably priced and can be even cheaper with the purchase of a yearly permit.

To access the off-leash dog park, a permit is required for each dog, available at the park office. Permits are $25/year, and are pro-rated depending on the date of purchase. Permits expire on July 1 of each year. Daily permits are available for $4.

If you’re not the dog park type, you can have your pup with you pretty much everywhere else in Sesqui as well as long as they’re on a leash. All they ask is you make sure the leash is 6ft long at maximum, so leave the flexi leashes at home for this trip. If you’re into trails and hiking, you’ve got a good few options to check out with Fido.

Trails & Hikes

There are 4 trails ranging from a half mile nature loop to a 6 mile mountain bike trail. Their 2 mile trail around the lake is paved and described as “stroller friendly” which means it will also be doable for anyone with mobility issues! We love to see it.


If you’re the boating type you can rent kayaks, paddle boats, or canoes for $5 an hour. There were tons of families out on the water enjoying the fall weather this past weekend. I’m told you can’t reserve any of these ahead of time, so don’t be surprised if you have to wait a little while to get into a boat. However, while you wait you can sit at a picnic table by the boat house and enjoy the view of the lake, or go fishing if that’s your style!

Kid Friendly Activities

Columbia has no shortage of kid friendly activities and Sesqui is no exception. The state park boasts an absolutely awesome splash pad which made me very jealous of 5 year olds. The splash pad is no extra cost after admission, so it’s an extremely affordable activity if you have little ones who need to burn off some energy in the sun. There’s plenty of seating for adults as well as restrooms, changing rooms, and vending. Apart from the splash pad, there are playgrounds for your kiddos to take advantage of as well as a big empty field set up for softball or kickball. This spot also works great for picnics, tag, or family photos.

I really enjoyed my experience roaming around this park and I can’t wait to get back with my husband and our dog. Drop a comment below and let me know what your favorite thing to do at Sesqui is so we can try it out!

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