Blake Walsh

20 Best Things to Do in Sumter, SC

  • Published 2022/10/04

The city of Sumter, South Carolina, never runs out of things to offer to its visitors, since it has tons of destinations where you can maximize your stay.

Considered the capital of Sumter County, it has a long list of sites included on the National Register of Historic Places.

Those who have other interests can enjoy the many attractions found in the different parts of the city.

You can do birdwatching, kayaking, shopping, taking a sightseeing tour, and so forth.

If you’re interested to know more about this place, read on.

Here are the 20 best things to do in Sumter, South Carolina:

Enjoy Birdwatching at Swan Lake Iris Gardens

View of Swan Lake Iris Gardens

makasana photo /

How about bird-watching with your most favorite people?

The 150-acre property is a beautiful spot to meet diverse species of feathered animals, such as the Canada goose, wood duck, Muscovy, egret, heron, anhinga, and swan.

Black swan at Swan Lake Iris Gardens

Amilcar Lugo Diaz /

The 120 varieties of the iris flower that lace the entire garden of the famous landmark in Sumter, South Carolina, will also amaze you as their vibrant colors and subtle smell greet you.

For many of its visitors, the Swan Lake Iris Gardens is a wonderland, for its beauty never fails to bring a smile to whoever sees it.

View of Swan Lake Iris Gardens

Amilcar Lugo Diaz /

Be Artsy at Millennium Studios

How does a body painting party sound to you?

This form of art is just one of the many activities you can enjoy at the Millennium Studios in Sumter, South Carolina.

You can bring your whole gang to experience this unique kind of fun that both young and adults can enjoy together.

This art studio on N. Guignard Drive has something for everyone – from couples to families and friends – which means that no one will be left behind if you decide to include it in your itinerary.

The attractions inside the studio could bring out the artist in you, so it really does not matter if you are a gifted artist or just someone who wants to spend time with your loved ones through a new activity.

Meanwhile, you can also arrange a mobile paint party for your brood if you want some privacy.

Try Your Luck at Lock, Clock, and Peril Escape Rooms

If you are into solving puzzles and putting hints together to win a game, this attraction on Broad Street is the perfect place for you.

The Lock, Clock, and Peril Escape Rooms bring you different mind-blowing game environments that surely need your wisdom and expertise in uncovering mysteries.

The horror-loving guests can try the room dedicated to paranormal investigation.

Gather several pieces of evidence, then capture the paranormal movements within the vicinity.

If the horror-themed challenge is not your thing, you can try a mission-type challenge designed for the undercover agents.

Meanwhile, if you dream of seeing yourself on an action-packed mission, you can check the Tomb Raiders room and become the victorious escape artist at the end of your journey.

Catch Dirt Racing at Sumter Speedway

The Sumter Speedway gives you the kind of fun that could send you chills and thrills endlessly.

Its dirt track on Wedgefield Road has witnessed many cheers, jeers, wins, and losses for three decades now.

It hosts numerous dirt racing events for different vehicles, as well as demolition derbies that could take your breath away while seeing the participating drivers ramming their cars onto each other.

If this is how you define an exhilarating activity, then the Sumter Speedway is one attraction you should never miss.

Discover Inner Strength at Sumter Ninja Warriors

This tourist destination inside the Miss Libby’s Annex on W. Westmark Boulevard in Sumter, South Carolina, will allow you to become a ninja for a day.

The Sumter Ninja Warriors studio features obstacles that will test your skills, particularly your agility and ability to think quickly.

The gym is open to all ages; therefore, you can bring everyone here to try the different challenges that require endurance, physical capability, and inner strength.

Watch a Movie Together at GTC Beacon Sumter Cinemas

Watching a movie together will always be among the most favorite activities of families.

Having your vacation in Sumter, South Carolina, feels like home since you can still do things together as a family.

The theatre shows the latest films in different genres so that both children and adults can find something you can all agree to watch.

Grab that bag of popcorn and get some drink as well before you sit back, relax, and enjoy the 3D movie on iMax.

Take Pleasure in Live Performances at Sumter Opera House

Front View of Sumter Opera House

Image by Sumter Opera House

The Sumter Opera House is a well-known destination in the city for those who love live performances.

The auditorium is the go-to place for award-winning performers, including comedians, singers, and musicians.

If you and your family or friends are fond of local talents, this is where you can find a lot of them since the theatre management’s mission is to promote the city’s very own artists.

There is more to Sumter Opera House than just being a platform to expand people’s awareness of local arts.

Front View of Sumter Opera House

Image by Sumter Opera House

The vintage design of the facility has a fascinating story to tell.

The people running the facility rebuilt it between 1893 and 1895 after a fire razed it down in 1892.

In 1936, it made a significant contribution to the lives of 300 workers who suffered from the Depression Era.

The renovation it underwent helped these people earn while things were difficult for them back then.

View of Sumter Opera House

Blackoffee, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Score Fresh Produce at the Sumter Farmers Market

The University of South Carolina–Sumter located at 200 Miller Road was transformed to Sumter Farmers Market.

If you are visiting Sumter, South Carolina during these months, do not forget to drop by the place anytime from 12 noon until 5 PM on a Friday.

Over 25 farmers and vendors offer fresh fruits and vegetables and other healthy choices of food and drinks.

You will be amazed at how abundantly blessed the city is with these rich resources.

The weekly farmers’ market is an opportunity to promote the products of the local farmers, bakers, artisans, and other vendors; hence, you will be part of this advocacy if you pay a visit and buy from them.

Play Arcade Games at Skate Station of Sumter

There is no reason to have second thoughts about going to the Skate Station of Sumter.

If you feel you won’t enjoy being here, you are definitely wrong!

The facility aims to make everyone feel comfortable while skating, even if it is just your first time trying it.

You can choose from the regular, speed, and inline skating shoes to ensure that what you wear parallels your level of expertise.

Meanwhile, you can transfer to the game room if you want to bond with your family or friends through arcade games.

The Skate Station of Sumter has several games for you to enjoy, and there is more: the prizes that are up for grabs are eye-popping.

Show your skills and get the chance to bring home a flat panel TV or an iPad!

Discover More About the Place at Sumter County Museum

Front view of Sumter County Museum

mogollon_1, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Sumter County Museum is a haven for history fans.

If you are fond of knowing further about the exciting history of the places you visit, your travel plan must include the museum.

The place gives you a glimpse of the historical events that helped shape the city and its county over the years.

The museum features thematic exhibits that showcase the rich heritage and culture of Sumter.

There are various pieces of memorabilia that give each visitor a clear picture of what it used to look like and the transformations it went through before it reached its current status.

The museum has a space where you can learn more and discover new things about Jewish history.

Swim and Learn at the City of Sumter Aquatics Center

The city of Sumter offers a unique swimming experience for its visitors through the Aquatics Center.

The facility is known for being the venue of different swimming competitions, but apart from this, it can be your family’s next bonding destination, too.

Every member of your family can have fun here since it is open for all ages; hence, you do not have to worry about bringing the young ones when you feel like taking a dip.

You can invite your family to the twister slide and spray fountain and witness how these amenities bring laughter to all of you.

Aside from enjoying the water, you can likewise attend any of its classes to upgrade your skills in swimming, which can be your ticket to save lives and become a lifeguard.

Shop Non-Stop at Sumter Mall

View of Sumter Mall

Mike Kalasnik from Charlotte, USA, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

At least 40 stores inside the Sumter Mall provide a non-stop shopping experience as they offer tons of selections.

The 43-acre enclosed shopping destination is teeming with an array of products, ranging from personal care items and food supplements to apparel, fine jewelry, fashion accessories, and books.

The food court and shops also have sumptuous goodies that can satisfy your stomach after the unending search for gifts and other products.

Entrance to JCPenny at Sumter Mall

Mike Kalasnik from Jersey City, USA, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Experience Everything About South Sumter at the Festival on the Avenue

The Festival on the Avenue is where you can experience many things that summarize what the South Sumter can offer.

The festivity features several attractions to the delight of every guest who witnesses it.

The FOTA, which usually runs for three days, is a West African Bimbé celebration of a bountiful harvest, which also signifies the importance of embracing the spirit of sharing.

If you plan to visit Sumter in April, check the actual dates of the festival for you to take part in the merrymaking.

The organizer lines up performances for everyone to enjoy.

The activities include music shows, dances, and art exhibits.

You can also catch the parades then taste the traditional food offered within the festival venue.

Mingle With the Locals at the Porches of Sumter

The city of Sumter is definitely the home of hospitable locals, and you can experience this first hand when they invite you to have tea with them on their porch.

The Porches of Sumter gives tourists the chance to mingle with the homeowners as they open their doors for a cup of tea and some delightful snacks.

If your visit falls in October, make sure to stay on the first Thursday of the month.

The historic homes within the area of Hampton Park offer different kinds of food and drinks for the public to partake in.

Visit the Exhibits of Sumter County Gallery of Art

If you want a taste of Sumter’s cultural scene, visiting the Sumter Gallery of Art is a must.

The permanent and rotating exhibitions of Sumter Gallery of Art extend over three distinct spaces.

It features an extensive collection of works by local artists, including paintings, photographs, sculptures, and more.

With more than seven classrooms, the Sumter Gallery of Art can host various stimulating and informative workshops and courses.

Its curators are experts in their fields and are happy to share their knowledge with curious guests.

If you’re looking for unique souvenirs and presents, go no farther than Sumter Gallery of Art.

Visit the Battle of Dingle’s Mill Marker

If you’re looking for a way to go back in time during your trip to Sumter, a stop at the Battle of Dingle Mill Marker is a great option.

A visit to the Battle of Dingle’s Mill Marker is a must if you’re interested in the Civil War history and legacy.

It was the scene of one of the war’s last engagements, giving the area significant historical value.

Unmarked graves, monuments, and information at the Battle of Dingle’s Mill Marker serve as a memorial to the fallen and a tribute to the significance of this spot.

There are a lot of details you probably didn’t know before, plus the battlefield itself is well-kept and has a convenient parking area.

Play at Palmetto Park

Scenic view of Palmetto Park

Hunter Bob /

Palmetto Park in Sumter features numerous intriguing amenities and is the perfect place to have a good time with friends and family.

You may stroll alone, with your dog, or with your loved ones on one of the many pathways that wind around the lake in Palmetto Park.

Tennis courts, baseball diamonds, and softball diamonds are all available for public use.

Palmetto Park has a delightful playground with plenty of fun equipment, including swings and a ramp for simple handicap access.

People may cool down in the splash pad and then rest in the shade if they’d rather watch the action than join in it.

Palmetto Park has a diligent and kind maintenance crew that keeps the grounds spotless.

Practice Your Swing at The Links at Lakewood

Among the many enjoyable activities available in Sumter, a round of golf at one of the city’s top courses is a must.

You may play golf all day long at The Links at Lakewood, one of the most prestigious courses in Sumter.

J. Potter Gibson designed the course in 1989, featuring 6,857 yards of golfing space.

Even though it’s difficult, players of all skill levels will enjoy their time at The Links at Lakewood.

Have fun with its four sets of tees, gorgeous greens, and water and sand traps expertly laid out for a challenging and rewarding round.

Go Fishing at Second Mill Pond

A trip to Second Mill Pond guarantees a memorable time with loved ones, among the best things to do in Sumter.

It is the perfect spot for those who like to throw their lines and wait for the right moment to reel in a fresh catch.

The 82-acre lake that is Second Mill Pond is an excellent spot for a family fishing trip.

The lake is home to several different types of fish, such as bream, crappie, largemouth bass, bluegill, and bowfin.

Since Second Mill Pond is usually devoid of noise and bustle, it is a great place to get away from it all.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Experience a Diverse Ecosystem at the Poinsett State Park

Diverse Ecosystem at the Poinsett State Park

mogollon_1, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Poinsett State Park takes pride in having a diverse ecosystem in its 1,000 acres of land area.

Its landscape offers diverse attractions – from the five stand-up paddleboards with eight kayaks, one pedal boat, one Jon boat, and three canoes to the rustic cabins where you can stay during your visit.

The Civilian Conservation Corps began the park’s construction in 1934, and in 2016, it became part of the National Historic Registry.

The place continues to grow through the years, adding more features to make it more attractive to the guests.

Your trip to the Poinsett State Park can include fishing, swimming, boating in the 10 acres Levi Mill Lake area, or running, hiking, and biking within its 25.6 miles trail.

Final Thoughts

The city of Sumter has changed from being a former plantation settlement to a bustling city right now.

However, it has preserved many of its historical places to ensure that it continues to promote its exciting past and culture.

This fact about the city makes it a worthwhile destination where you can maximize your much-needed break.

You may even need a week to experience these varied attractions.

What is essential, though, is that you prepare your itinerary.

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