fbpx Skip to content

the ultimate guide
to lake murray

DO+SEE

the ultimate guide
to lake murray

DO + SEE

What began as a source of energy for the Columbia, SC area in 1930, Lake Murray has become a major recreation area, and an abundant resource for drinking water, fisheries and wildlife habitats. See all that Lake Murray has to do and see – from camping to cruising on the water to wetting a line! Endless exploration and fun in the sun awaits you.

What began as a source of energy for the Columbia, SC area in 1930, Lake Murray has become a major recreation area, and an abundant resource for drinking water, fisheries and wildlife habitats. See all that Lake Murray has to do and see – from camping to cruising on the water to wetting a line! Endless exploration and fun in the sun awaits you.

FISHING

FISHING

Fishing is one of the most popular activities for visitors to Lake Murray. Fishing opportunities are numerous throughout the lake whether you are fishing from a boat or from the hundreds of miles of shoreline. Fishing tournaments are held throughout the year for competitive anglers. Fish tournament information can be found at marinas and local bait and tackle shops. Common fish species home to Lake Murray include striped bass, largemouth bass, bluegill, crappie, redear sunfish, catfish.

If you want to increase your local fish knowledge and improve your chance of success professional fishing guides are available for hire. Be sure to have a fishing license before going out!

Where
to Fish

Public Access Areas

The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources maintains 24 fish attractor locations.

Lake access areas have fishing piers that provide access to the lake for fishermen without a boat. Loaner fishing tackle are available at Dreher Island State Park.

Parks

Dreher Island State Park
Lake Murray Dam Recreational Area

Boating

If you do not have your own boat, there are also plenty of places to rent a boat to get out on the water!

FISHING

FISHING

Fishing is one of the most popular activities for visitors to Lake Murray. Fishing opportunities are numerous throughout the lake whether you are fishing from a boat or from the hundreds of miles of shoreline. Fishing tournaments are held throughout the year for competitive anglers. Fish tournament information can be found at marinas and local bait and tackle shops. Common fish species home to Lake Murray include striped bass, largemouth bass, bluegill, crappie, redear sunfish, catfish.

If you want to increase your local fish knowledge and improve your chance of success professional fishing guides are available for hire. Be sure to have a fishing license before going out!

Where
to Fish

Public Access Areas

The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources maintains 24 fish attractor locations.

Lake access areas have fishing piers that provide access to the lake for fishermen without a boat. Loaner fishing tackle are available at Dreher Island State Park.

Parks

Dreher Island State Park
Lake Murray Dam Recreational Area

Boating

If you do not have your own boat, there are also plenty of places to rent a boat to get out on the water!

BOATING + WATERSPORTS

BOATING + WATERSPORTS

With so many swim-up areas, islands, marinas and coves to explore, boating around Lake Murray is one of the most common activities for families ready to cruise around or friends ready to have a fun day in the sun. Tubing, waterskiing and wave runners are also popular on the lake. Go visit Bomb Island, beach your boat at Spence Island or anchor down in a cove to swim or fish. There are many boating events on Lake Murray year-round including ReggaetronicDrift Jam, watching the Purple Martins migrate in late summer, the annual 4th of July parade, New Years Eve Fireworks and more!

If you don’t have your own or a friends to borrow, you cant rent a boat at many places across the Lake. Make sure to have a boating license before getting out on the water!

BOATING + WATERSPORTS

BOATING + WATERSPORTS

With so many swim-up areas, islands, marinas and coves to explore, boating around Lake Murray is one of the most common activities for families ready to cruise around or friends ready to have a fun day in the sun. Tubing, waterskiing and wave runners are also popular on the lake. Go visit Bomb Island, beach your boat at Spence Island or anchor down in a cove to swim or fish. There are many boating events on Lake Murray year-round including ReggaetronicDrift Jam, watching the Purple Martins migrate in late summer, the annual 4th of July parade, New Years Eve Fireworks and more!

If you don’t have your own or a friends to borrow, you cant rent a boat at many places across the Lake. Make sure to have a boating license before getting out on the water!

PARKS + RECREATION

PARKS + RECREATION

Lake Murray is home to some of the best outdoor activities that the Columbia area has to offer! With endless opportunities to camp, walk, swim, kayak, paddleboard, etc. there is something for everyone.
The Dreher Shoals Dam offers two parks on either side with public access; the Irmo side with boat ramps, docks and swimming, and the Lexington side with a public beach area with covered areas and picnic tables. The Dam is also popular for walking and running with incredible views of the lake! The 1.7 mile dam was rebuilt in 2005 with the added walking path. Dreher Island State Park in Chapin is also a popular area to camp, swim and fish. There are also a few places to rent paddle boards, kayaks and more!

PARKS + RECREATION

PARKS + RECREATION

Lake Murray is home to some of the best outdoor activities that the Columbia area has to offer! With endless opportunities to camp, walk, swim, kayak, paddleboard, etc. there is something for everyone.
The Dreher Shoals Dam offers two parks on either side with public access; the Irmo side with boat ramps, docks and swimming, and the Lexington side with a public beach area with covered areas and picnic tables. The Dam is also popular for walking and running with incredible views of the lake! The 1.7 mile dam was rebuilt in 2005 with the added walking path. Dreher Island State Park in Chapin is also a popular area to camp, swim and fish. There are also a few places to rent paddle boards, kayaks and more!

WILDLIFE + CONSERVATION

WILDLIFE + CONSERVATION

From fish to deer to osprey and ducks, Lake Murray is filled to the brim with wildlife that is a sight to see. Each summer, tens of thousands of Purple Martins—a pretty, iridescent species of swallow—roost on Bomb Island. This former training site for World War II B-25 bombers, is not only the largest Purple Martin sanctuary in North America but also the oldest. It serves as a resting spot for the Purple Martins as they prepare to make their way to South America for the winter. The phenomenon begins at sunset when the fiery sky comes alive with the birds, who swoop, flutter and caw as they search the air for insects. The show continues until it gets dark and the birds decide to settle into their nests for the night. Want to experience it for yourself? Private charters, naturalist-led bird-watching tours, and rental boats make it easy for nature lovers to take it all in. 

WHAT TO SEE

White-tailed deer
Grey squirrels
Egrets
Osprey
Purple martins
Canadian geese
Mallard ducks
Hard/softshell turtles
Striped bass
Large/smallmouth bass
Crappie
Catfish

Parks

Dreher Island State Park
Lake Murray Dam Recreational Area
Hilton Recreation Area

WILDLIFE + CONSERVATION

WILDLIFE + CONSERVATION

From fish to deer to osprey and ducks, Lake Murray is filled to the brim with wildlife that is a sight to see. Each summer, tens of thousands of Purple Martins—a pretty, iridescent species of swallow—roost on Bomb Island. This former training site for World War II B-25 bombers, is not only the largest Purple Martin sanctuary in North America but also the oldest. It serves as a resting spot for the Purple Martins as they prepare to make their way to South America for the winter. The phenomenon begins at sunset when the fiery sky comes alive with the birds, who swoop, flutter and caw as they search the air for insects. The show continues until it gets dark and the birds decide to settle into their nests for the night. Want to experience it for yourself? Private charters, naturalist-led bird-watching tours, and rental boats make it easy for nature lovers to take it all in. 

WHAT TO SEE

White-tailed deer
Grey squirrels
Egrets
Osprey
Purple martins
Canadian geese
Mallard ducks
Hard/softshell turtles
Striped bass
Large/smallmouth bass
Crappie
Catfish

Parks

Dreher Island State Park
Lake Murray Dam Recreational Area
Hilton Recreation Area