Sumter, South Carolina, offers something for everyone this summer. If you’re searching for a quiet weekend getaway, a thrilling adventure, or a relaxing day in the sun, you’ll find plenty of fun and exciting things to do in Sumter (SC).
This charming town has something for everyone, from outdoor activities like fishing and boating to indoor attractions like museums and theaters. Explore the many parks, gardens, and trails throughout the city, or take a stroll along the Sumter Riverwalk.
Spend a day at the Shaw Air Force Base Museum and learn about the area’s rich history, or take a guided tour of the Revolutionary War Battlefield of Camden.
For those seeking a more exciting experience, there’s the Sumter Speedway, where you can catch all the action of stock-car racing.
So this summer, make time to explore all the wonderful things Sumter has to offer using our checklist of things to do in Sumter (SC):
Fun Things to Do in Sumter (SC)
1. Watch Car Races at Sumter Speedway
If you enjoy car racing, make your way to Sumter Speedway in Sumter, SC, to avoid missing out on the excitement.
Sumter Speedway, which has been in operation for over fifty years, is one of South Carolina’s oldest tracks.
Racing events are held every Saturday from March to September, and you can watch cars race on the track.
This is among Sumter’s most popular attractions, drawing visitors from all over the country.
Sumter Speedway hosts various dirt racing events featuring cars and demolitions that will send shivers down your spine.
2. Play Escape Lock, Clock, and Peril
Lock, Clock, and Peril Escape Rooms is not your typical escape room; the rooms here are carefully crafted with unique puzzles that will blow your mind.
You should go to Lock, Clock, and Peril Escape Rooms if you like intellectually and logically challenging games that require a lot of brain work.
There are various rooms with various games; for example, there is a room dedicated to paranormal investigation, where players gather evidence to catch paranormal movements.
You could also try out the tomb raiders’ room, where you’re given a specific time to look for clues to escape.
Things to Do in Sumter (SC) at Night
1. Attend the Fantasy of Lights
The annual Swan Lake Fantasy of Lights brings holiday cheer to Sumter.
The gardens brighten with a display of twinkling holiday imagery created by over one million lights throughout December.
The Pilot Club’s floating Christmas tree, as well as Santa’s Village, angels, and characters from song and story, is a perennial favorite.
This is a drive-through event, but visitors are welcome to park and snap pictures with the lights. After dusk, access to the walking paths is restricted.
There are lights along the main parking lot area to Swan Lake Iris Gardens, Liberty Street, and Garden Street.
2. Grab a Drink at Main Town Tavern
Main Street Tavern serves as a gathering place for many families and friends, and once inside, you’ll feel at home and festive.
They provide a wide range of drinks with distinct flavors and high quality at unbeatable prices.
Aside from drinks, Main Street Tavern offers delectable pizzas and other dishes such as fried green beans, chicken finger baskets, mozzarella sticks, chicken fingers, and more.
Main Street Tavern has a pool table and a large flat-screen TV that broadcasts live sports and other programs.
3. Go Bowling at Shaw Lanes Bowling Center
Shaw Lanes Bowling Center is a popular adult spot on Shaw Air Force Base in Sumter, South Carolina.
The center offers a wide variety of bowling lanes and other amenities, such as a snack bar and a pro shop where visitors can purchase bowling equipment.
It also offers a variety of bowling leagues, tournaments, and special events for adults.
The bowling center is great for adults to relax and have fun. Bowling is a sport people of all ages and skill levels can enjoy.
It’s a great way for adults to stay active and have fun with friends or family in a relaxed, social environment. The bowling center also has a bar where adults can drink and enjoy the bowling experience.
The center also offers other activities like pool tables, video games, and other forms of entertainment. It’s a great place for adults to unwind after a long day and enjoy a night out with friends or colleagues.
Things to Do in Sumter (SC) For Couples
1. Have a Picnic at the Swan Lake Iris Gardens
Swan Lake Iris Gardens is a 55-acre park that features a lake with swans, a large collection of iris flowers, and various other floral displays. The park also has walking trails, picnic areas, and a gazebo.
The Iris Garden has over 350 varieties, including tall bearded and dwarf iris. The garden is in full bloom from late April through early May and is a spectacular sight to see.
The lake is home to various waterfowl, including swans, geese, and ducks.
The park also features a butterfly garden, a rose garden, and a herb garden. The butterfly garden is especially popular in the summer when it is home to various butterflies.
The park is open year-round, and admission is free. It is a great place for a romantic stroll, picnic, or to take in the beauty of the gardens and nature.
2. Visit the Sumter Opera House
The Sumter Opera House is a beautiful and historic building that has been a part of the Sumter community for over a century. It was originally built in 1892 and was used as a performance venue for plays, concerts, and other live performances.
The building has undergone several renovations over the years, including a major restoration in the early 2000s that helped to preserve its historic character and bring it up to modern standards.
The opera house features a main auditorium with seating for over 600 people and a balcony level that provides couples with an intimate and romantic setting.
The theater also features a stage with state-of-the-art lighting and sound equipment, making it the perfect venue for a wide range of performances.
The Sumter Opera House hosts various events throughout the year, including plays, musicals, concerts, dance performances, and more. It’s also a popular venue for special occasions such as weddings and corporate events.
If you’re looking for a romantic night out with your significant other, visiting the Sumter Opera House is a great option.
Things to Do in Sumter (SC) For Kids
1. Visit Shaw Airforce Base
Shaw Air Force Base is an important place where the United States Air Force keeps its airplanes and trains its pilots.
It is located in a place called Sumter, in South Carolina.
The base has a special unit called the 20th Fighter Wing, which has very fast and powerful airplanes called F-16 Fighting Falcons. These airplanes can fly very high and very fast, and they are used to protect our country and keep us safe.
The people working at Shaw AFB have very important jobs, like flying airplanes, ensuring they are in good shape, and helping to plan and carry out important missions.
They are like superheroes, using their special skills and training to help keep our country safe.
The base also has a museum for visitors, where kids can learn about the base’s history and see the different aircraft types. It’s a great way for kids to learn about the important role the military plays in keeping our country safe and strong.
2. Visit Palmetto Park
Palmetto Park in Sumter, South Carolina, offers various recreational opportunities for kids and families.
The playground has equipment for children of all ages, including swings, slides, and climbing structures. The sports fields can be used for soccer, football, baseball, and other sports.
The swimming pool and aquatic center offer a place to cool off and have fun during summer.
The park also has a walking and biking trail that winds and is great for a stroll or bike ride. Not forgetting picnic areas with tables and grills, making it a great spot for a family picnic.
The fishing pond is stocked with fish, so kids can try their hand at catching something.
Overall, Palmetto Park in Sumter, South Carolina, offers a wide variety of recreational opportunities for kids and families, from playgrounds, sports fields, a swimming pool, a fishing pond, and many more. It is a great place for kids to play and have fun while spending time outdoors.
3. Go Skating at the Skate Station of Sumter
Skate Station of Sumter is a family-friendly roller skating rink in Sumter, South Carolina.
They offer a variety of activities for kids, including open skate sessions, birthday parties, and skating lessons. They also have a game room with arcade games and a snack bar.
Indoor Activities to Do in Sumter (SC) For Adults
1. Visit the Sumter Gallery of Art
Sumter Gallery of Art has three distinct galleries that exhibit both permanent and temporary art.
They have a large collection of art created by local artists, ranging from watercolor to fabric, clay to popsicle sticks, and photography to oils.
Sumter Gallery of Art also has over seven classrooms hosting innovative educational programs.
They have knowledgeable curators ready to assist with any questions and teach visitors everything they need to know.
If you want to buy gifts for yourself or memorabilia for your family and friends, go to the Sumter Gallery of Art.
2. Watch Live Performances at Patriot Hall Theatre
Patriot Hall is a historic theater located in Sumter, SC. It is a performing arts venue that hosts various events, including live music, theater productions, and dance performances.
The theater was originally built in the 1930s and has been renovated to preserve its original architecture while also updating it with modern amenities.
The theater has a seating capacity of approximately 1,200 and features a proscenium stage, a balcony, and box seating.
Patriot Hall also has state-of-the-art lighting and sound systems, which provide an excellent viewing and listening experience for audiences. It is a great venue for couples looking for a unique, entertaining night out.
The theater hosts various events throughout the year, including concerts, plays, and dance performances, so there is always something new and exciting.
Some events also have a dinner option, which is a great way to make a night out of it.
Romantic Things to Do in Sumter (SC)
1. Go on a Tour Round Sumter County Museum
The Sumter County Museum is located in the historic 1844 City Hall building in downtown Sumter, South Carolina.
The museum’s permanent exhibits include artifacts and information related to the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, and the area’s agricultural heritage.
There are exhibits on the area’s Native American history, the textile industry’s development, and the local area’s history.
The museum also features rotating exhibits on local art, culture, and artifacts.
The museum offers self-guided tours for individual visitors and guided tours for groups by appointment.
The museum also provides educational programs for school groups and is open to the public for visiting during normal business hours.
The Museum also has a Research Room where visitors can access historical documents, photographs, and other materials related to Sumter County’s history.
Overall, the Sumter County Museum is a great place to learn about the area’s history and explore exhibits of local culture, art, and artifacts.
2. Watch a Movie at Beacon Theatre
The GTC Beacon Theatre in Sumter, South Carolina, can be a romantic venue for couples to attend.
The theater has a vintage feel, a classic marquee, and ornate decor that creates a cozy and intimate atmosphere.
Many couples enjoy attending live music or theater performances at the theater, as it provides an opportunity to enjoy a shared cultural experience and spend quality time together.
Additionally, the theater offers a balcony seating area that can be a great option for couples looking for a more intimate setting.
The theater also offers a variety of dining options. Some couples like to arrive early and have dinner at the theater’s restaurant before the performance, while others prefer to enjoy a glass of wine or a cocktail during intermission.
Overall, the GTC Beacon Theatre in Sumter, South Carolina, provides a romantic setting for couples to enjoy an evening out.
With its vintage charm, various performances, and comfortable seating, it’s the perfect place to spend an evening with your significant other.
3. Have Dinner at the Rafters
The Rafters is a fine-dining restaurant that offers a romantic and upscale atmosphere. The restaurant is decorated with warm colors and features exposed brick walls and wooden beams, which give it a rustic feel.
The menu features a variety of seafood, steak, and pasta dishes, all prepared with fresh, high-quality ingredients. They also have a full bar, offering a variety of cocktails, wine, and beer.
The restaurant also has a wine list that has been carefully curated to complement its menu, and they offer a variety of different types of wine by glass or bottle.
They also offer live music on certain nights, which can add to the ambiance for couples looking for a romantic evening out.
The Rafters also offers outdoor seating for couples who want to dine al fresco. They have a great reputation for their service, food, and atmosphere.
Free Things to Do in Sumter (SC)
1. Visit the Sumter County Farmers Market
Sumter Farmers Market has over twenty-five vendors and farmers selling fresh fruits, vegetables, and other foods and beverages.
Since its inception in 2017, the market has consistently provided people with high-quality merchandise.
Bakers, local artisans, food trucks, crafters, and other vendors will display their wares.
Sumter Farmers Market provides a platform for local customers to purchase healthy and high-quality foods.
2. Visit the Sumter Library
The Sumter Library is located in the heart of Sumter, South Carolina. The main library is housed in a modern building built in 2001 and offers a wide range of resources and services to the community.
The library’s collection includes books, magazines, newspapers, e-books, audiobooks, movies, music, and more.
The library also offers access to various online databases and resources, including research materials, genealogy, and educational resources.
In addition to its collections and resources, the Sumter Library also offers a variety of programs and events for all ages.
These include storytimes for children, book clubs for adults, computer classes, and other educational programs. The library also has a meeting room and study rooms for public use.
The library is open Monday through Friday, with extended hours on some days.
The library also has three branches around the county: Mayesville Branch Library, the Oswego Branch Library, and the Patriot Branch Library, which offer similar services and resources to the main branch.
Overall, the Sumter Library is an important resource for the community, providing access to information and educational resources and offering programs and events to promote literacy and lifelong learning.
3. Attend the Festival on The Avenue
One of the fun stuff to do in Sumter is to visit the Festival on the Avenue; the festivals demonstrate the vibrant colors and the importance of Sumter culture.
The festivals are a lot of fun and show how much the folks of Sumter value their cultures.
Everyone is welcome to attend the festival; be prepared to have a great time, meet new people, and make new friends.
The Festival on the Avenue (FOTA) concentrates on the significance of adopting the spirit of sharing; it is a three-day West African Bimbé celebration of a bountiful harvest.
There will be live performances for all to enjoy, such as dances, art exhibits, and music concerts.
Cheap Things to Do in Sumter (SC)
1. Visit the Sumter Confederate Monument
The Sumter Confederate Monument is granite and stands about 20 feet tall. The statue depicts a Confederate soldier in full uniform, holding a rifle and standing at attention.
The soldier’s head is turned slightly to the left and appears to be looking into the distance.
The statue is mounted on a large granite base with a plaque on the front with the inscription “Our Confederate Dead.”
The monument was erected in 1912 and was paid for by the Ladies Memorial Association of Sumter, an organization of Southern women who sought to honor the memory of the Confederate soldiers who had died in the Civil War.
The monument is in the center of the Sumter City Cemetery, the final resting place of many Confederate soldiers. The cemetery is also the site of other Confederate monuments and markers.
Recently there has been a growing movement to remove or relocate Confederate monuments due to their association with the defense of slavery and white supremacy.
Some argue that these monuments are symbols of racism and should be removed, while others argue that they are an important part of Southern heritage and should be preserved.
The Sumter Confederate Monument has not been removed. Still, the City of Sumter has added markers to the cemetery to provide context for the monument and the history of the Civil War.
2. Visit Lake Marion
Lake Marion is the largest man-made lake in South Carolina, stretching across four counties: Orangeburg, Calhoun, Clarendon, and Sumter.
It was designed in the 1930s as part of the Santee Cooper hydroelectric project. The lake is approximately 40 miles long and 14 miles wide, with a total shoreline of 440 miles.
The lake is known for its excellent fishing, particularly for largemouth bass, catfish, crappie, and bream.
Several marinas and boat ramps around the lake make it easy for visitors to access the water for boating and other activities.
In addition to recreational activities, Lake Marion is also used for hydropower generation and water supply. The lake is part of the Santee Cooper power system, which generates regional electricity.
Several state parks around Lake Marion, including Santee State Park, offers camping, hiking, swimming, and a golf course.
The Lake Marion Resort and Marina is a popular spot for fishing and boating and offers various amenities, including boat rentals, fishing guides, and a restaurant.
Overall, Lake Marion is a popular destination for South Carolinians and visitors, offering a variety of activities, natural beauty, and recreational opportunities.
Cool Things to Do in Sumter (SC)
1. Play Golf at The Links at Lakewood
A round of golf at one of Sumter’s top courses is among the many fun activities available.
The Links at Lakewood, one of Sumter’s most prestigious courses, allows you to play all day.
J. Potter Gibson crafted the course in 1989, with a total length of 6,857 yards.
Despite its difficulty, The Links at Lakewood will appeal to golfers of all skill levels.
Enjoy its four sets of tees, beautiful greens, and expertly laid-out water and sand traps for a challenging and rewarding round.
2. Take a Painting Class at Millenium Studios
Millennium Studios is an excellent location for spending quality time with friends and family and holding get-togethers.
The studio welcomes people of all ages, beginners and experts alike; there is an activity for everyone, including couples.
Millennium Studios helps bring out the artist in you by offering a wide range of hookah flavors to elevate your painting to the next level.
You can also enjoy delectable dishes prepared by their talented chef, such as shrimp tacos, Philly cheesesteaks, fries, wings, and more.
Millennium Studios provides a friendly and welcoming environment with nice music, delectable drinks, and drinks while painting.
3. Play Ninja at Sumter Ninja Studios
Sumter Ninja Warriors studios allow you to become a ninja for a day, with over thirty obstacles testing your skills and increasing your ability to think.
There is an open gym for all ages to try out different tasks that demand willpower, perseverance, and physical capability.
Sumter Ninja Warriors challenges you to push past your limits, and having faith in yourself is a daily psychological and emotional routine.
Sumter promises to be lots of fun, only if you know the best things to do in Sumter (SC). Let our checklist guide you all through your stay.
Tell us which attraction you fancy the most via the comment section.