Swan Lake Iris Gardens: Located in the heart of Sumter, Swan Lake is home to all eight of the world’s known swan species. These beautiful birds gracefully glide on a large lake encircled by a walking trail which gives visitors a chance to view these birds up close. During cooler months, Camellia Island brings a splash of color to the gardens. Swan Lake is home to the Fantasy of Lights, SC’s largest Christmas light display open nightly during the month of December. Twinkling imagery is created by more than one million lights! See Santa, enjoy holiday entertainment and more. The park is open 365 days a year from 7:30 a.m. until dusk, and admission is free. The Swan Lake Visitors Center is open Monday through Friday from 8:30AM to 5PM. 822 W. Liberty Street. 803.436.2640. Due to recent SC flooding, call to check hours.
Sumter County Gallery of Art: Sumter County Art Gallery is considered by many in the South Carolina arts community to be one of the best exhibition spaces in the state. Works by both national and local artists are exhibited. 50th Anniversary of the Sumter Artist’ Guild Show: June 23 – August 26, 2016. 200 Hasel Street. (in Sumter County’s Cultural Center) Open Tues-Sat 11AM-5PM. 803.775.0543.
Parks: Grab your outdoor gear and get back to nature! Sumter County is home to great parks—Poinsett State Park (10 acre lake with boat rentals) where you can enjoy fishing in the park’s lake for bass, bream and catfish! (A valid South Carolina fishing license is required.) and Woods Bay State Park (3/4 mile loop nature trail with boardwalk). Woods Bay is one of the Carolina Bays whose origins are still a mystery to geologists, and features a diverse array of wildlife. 1,590-acre park features habitats that can be explored by walking the nature trail or 1,150 boardwalk that provides views of alligators in the cypress tupelo swamp. Interested in Bird Watching? Up to 81 bird species have been surveyed at Woods Bay State Park. The best places to bird watch are from the wetland boardwalk and around the Mill Pond Trail. Also, enjoy fishing off the boardwalk into Carolina Bay. (Valid SC fishing license is required).
Sumter Lunch: Simply Southern Bistro Rated #4 out of 118 restaurants by TripAdvisor. Try the Fried Green Tomato BLT or the Cranberry Turkey Melt. Homemade chicken salad to die for! 65 W. Wesmark Blvd. 803.469.8502.
Sumter Dinner: Palmetto Oyster House This place is popular for its fried shrimp, oysters, soft shell crab and unique “crab chips”. Rated #6 in Sumter by TripAdvisor. 415 W. Wesmark. 803.607.9498.
Track Your Adventure: Highlights 22 historically significant places to go and things to do in Sumter County. Passports are distributed at each participating location. Adventures are different – from history to nature to fast on four wheels! Once complete with 22 stamps, return to Swan Lake Visitors Center for a special reward and completion signature. Some locations are seasonal, so make sure to call for more info. For more info, www.TrackYourAdventure.com