One of the most beautiful public parks near downtown Columbia, SC, is the Riverfront Park and Canal. There’s plenty of well-lit parking at the end of Laurel Street near the water works. As you enter the official park, there’s a playground for grown-ups, with body weight workout equipment and restrooms.
I’m a runner, and every time I’m there, I see children on bicycles with their parents pushing strollers, older folks walking and enjoying the river, and plenty of wildlife. There are emergency call boxes throughout the park, as well as cameras and staff. From the Laurel Street parking area to the current end of the paved path at the dam is approximately 2.5 miles, for a nice 5 mile route.
When I went this week, the water was very high. What’s often a concrete dam with a trickle of water going through the spillway, instead was a terrifying rush of churning water. It really showed the power of moving water!