Playground of the Midlands
One evening around sunset, treat yourself to the best view in the Midlands. Take a stroll along the new walking path at Lake Murray's Dreher Shoals Dam. As you look out across miles of open water, chances are you'll see plenty of area residents frolicking on the lake. Lake Murray has been Columbia's playground since 1929, when it opened as the world's largest artificial lake. The dam itself–a manmade mountain that was once the most massive earth dam ever built–received a $275 million facelift in 2005.
Lake Murray is a stone's skip away from anywhere in Columbia, but there's nothing quite like living on or near the lake. Imagine fishing off your own dock, taking a boat to your neighbor's house for dinner, or going for an afternoon swim with the kids. Some of the Midlands' most desirable communities are here: Lexington, Chapin, Irmo, and Ballentine all call Lake Murray their backyard. Award-winning District 5 of Lexington and Richland Counties is known for academic excellence year in and year out.
Golf, waterskiing, sailing, canoeing, picnicking or camping–no matter what you enjoy doing outdoors, Lake Murray can show you a good time. Picnic at one of the SCE&G Recreation Sites at either end of the dam. Camp at Dreher Island State Recreation Area. Hike on Bundrick Island or launch your waterskiing trip from Lighthouse Marina. Enjoy a dockside meal at Spinner's Resort or the Rusty Anchor. If you like to fish, the lake is chock-full of striped bass–South Carolina's state fish.
There's more than fish lurking under the lake's surface. Nearly a dozen communities were flooded when the lake was born. Homes, churches, railroad cars, even a bridge lie at the bottom. A World War II bomber ditched in the lake in 1943, after a practice bombing run. It was recovered in 2005.
Did you know?
- Lake Murray is 41 miles long and 14 miles wide at its widest point, with 691 miles of shoreline.
- Under those five towers flows 18,000 cubic feet of water per second. That's enough to generate over 200 megawatts of power
- The largest fish ever caught on Lake Murray was a 9-foot sturgeon weighing almost 300 pounds.