If you are looking for a place to move in South Carolina, Lake Murray is definitely a place you should check out. Located in central South Carolina, bordering Lexington, Irmo and only a few minutes away from Columbia by car, Lake Murray has become a major recreation destination, ranking fourth as the most popular destination for visitors within South Carolina.
The idea of Lake Murray was first conceptualized in the 1920’s and the lake was finished in 1930. Yes, the beautiful lake is man-made! It’s original reason for existence was to produce electricity. Power was first generated at the lake on December 1st, 1930 and the lake will be celebrating it’s 87th birthday this year. Lake Murray is the 4th largest lake in South Carolina, spanning about 41 miles long and 14 miles wide at it’s widest point. It is surrounded by four counties: Lexington, Newberry, Richland and Saluda.
The lake was named after William S. Murray of New York city, who was the engineer who conceptualized the final scope for the formation of the lake. When the lake was finished, it was the largest man-made dam in the world for power production.
An interesting fact about Lake Murray is that it was used as a bombing range during parts of the second World War. Several B-25’s crashed into Lake Murray and one of the aircraft was recovered in 2005. This recovery effort was even televised on the History Channel.
Things to do in the lake
What’s a lake without some fishing! Lake Murray is known for fishing. The lake draws many tourists and fishers for the FLW Forrest Wood Cup Championship, which is the largest bass fishing tournament in the world. The championship has been held only twice before (2008 and 2014) and luckily enough, the third hosting will be held this year in August! If you are in the area, this is an even you do not want to miss! The championship is also featured on National TV if you would like to view it from the comfort of your home.
Sit back, relax and have a Martin (you could have a Martini too if you wish!) Lake Murray’s Doolittle Island is home to the Purple Martin sanctuaries. The largest in North America. Every summer, hundreds of thousands of purple martins nest on the island and boaters have made it a ritual to witness the martins return to the island each evening. Lake Murray also hosts some other majestic wildlife including the Great Blue Heron and the Striped Bass. The state record fish are the white bass, the white crappie and white catfish.
Why not spend a day on the lake. Lake Murray offers a range of boating activities for everyone. Whether you want a run on the speed boats or a relaxing time sunbathing, there are a variety of options to choose from. Kids will also have a great time sliding down into the lake from the boats.
Lake Murray has dozens of marinas, ramps and boat landings where you can dock your boat.
If you do not have a boat, do not worry, you rent one or even buy one and you’ll be on the water in no time at all! You can decide to rent a boat for a few hours or even days. You may also want to join a membership club, which is much much cheaper than buying a boat. These usually have a one-time membership fee and subsequent monthly payments. You may join any of the following membership clubs:
If you are looking for a place to take the kids out for the day, lake Murray has a variety of parks that they will enjoy. These include:
- Dreher Island State Recreation Area –Lake Murray’s only state park offering picnic sites, campsites and vacation villas
- Bundrick Island – If you’d like a day at a sandy beach or a hike, this is the place to go.
- Saluda Shoals Park – Enjoy a ride on a canoe/kayak or a hiking trip here.
- Larry Koon Landing – Enjoy a free boat camp and a picnic with an amazing view.
- SCE&G North and South Recreation Area – Enjoy a picnic in a serene area or a dip in the pool.
Places to rent in Lake Murray
- The Residence at Marina Bay – These are one to three bedroom lakefront rental apartments with several social amenities and spectacular deep water views.
- Appleby Acres – This lovely cabin rests on two acres of land and sleeps 6-8 with its own private beach.
- Lake Murray Vacation home – This cosy cottage sleeps 8 and has 3 bedrooms and 2 baths.
- Spinners Resort – This resort has private cosy cabins and a friendly atmosphere with Boat and Jet Ski rentals
Places to eat around the Lake Murray
Believe it or not, boiled peanuts are the official state snack. Yes, I said boiled peanuts! You can try some on the Irmo side of the Dreher Shoals Dam on most weekends. The Dam P-Nut Man (Wade Baughman) has been selling this interesting snack for years.
If your taste buds are not ready to be as adventurous as to try the boiled peanuts, not to worry, Lake Murray has a wide selection of restaurants for you to choose from. Whether you are looking for a quick bite to eat or a more formal setting, say, if you are on a date, Lake Murray restaurants and eating joints will cater to your taste. Here are a few restaurants you can visit:
- Liberty on the Lake at Marina Bay
- Lake Murray cafe
If you are looking for a getaway where you can relax and still have a lot of fun and explore, Lake Murray is the place to go!