Cool Off at Saluda Shoals Park
When temperatures in the Midlands climb above 100 degrees, many people head to Lake Murray or maybe to the Saluda River to get some heat relief. But one of the best-kept secrets might just be Saluda Shoals Park about a mile downriver from the Lake Murray Dam.
Visitors can rent kayaks, canoes (about $50 for the whole day) or tubes ($10) for floating along some of the river's best flat water, with a few rocky shoals thrown in to make it exciting.
Best of all, the park has a shuttle service so you don't lose all the cooling effect of the 60-degree water temperature by hiking back to your car.
For those too small to get in a boat or float, Saluda Splash is a small waterpark open 9 a.m.-6 p.m. daily to keep the little ones cool. It's $3 for a daylong wristband in addition to park admission of $4-5 per car, depending on whether you live in the Irmo Chapin Recreation Commission district. Season park passes are available for frequent visitors.
Saluda Shoals also has a dog park, several picnic shelters for rent and miles of paved and unpaved hiking, biking and horseback riding trails.
Recently, Saluda Shoals Park offered visitors a chance to float on the river, eat a hot dog, play some games and enjoy music for just $5 per person at its first Rollin' on the River event.
"This river festival will be a signature event at Saluda Shoals Park for years to come," said Harden Smith, interpretive park ranger at Saluda Shoals.