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Picnic at Lexington’s Gibson Pond Park

Marie McAden Marie McAden
A former staffer with The Miami Herald, Marie moved to SC in 1992. She is passionate about the outdoors, and enjoys exploring the state’s many natural treasures from the Lowcountry to the Upstate.
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If ever there was a perfect setting for a summer picnic, Gibson Pond Park in Lexington is it. And you don't have to worry about Yogi Bear making off with your lunch.

Once a famous swimming hole with a lively dance pavilion, the Midlands park has become a favorite destination for family outings. Norman Rockwell couldn't have picked a more scenic spot to lay down a blanket and open up your picnic basket.

For those who prefer to sit in a seat when dining, you've got a lakefront picnic shelter with your classic picnic table. Larger groups can rent a spacious pavilion, complete with ceiling fans, large charcoal grill, stone fireplace and enough tables to accommodate some 80 people.

You don't have to worry about noisy speedboats zooming by and ruining the moment. The pond is restricted to non-motorized boating and fishing. (Swimming is no longer allowed.)

I recently paddled my kayak in the pond and discovered it stretches far past what you can see from the park. At the western end, it narrows into a channel that takes you into a swamp filled with lily pads and cypress trees.

The afternoon I visited the park, the water level was high enough to get back into the upper reaches of the channel where I discovered a beautifully constructed beaver lodge. I'm always amazed at the resourcefulness of these engineering marvels.

Along with the featured attraction, the park also offers swings, a dock, walking trails and restroom facilities. Kayak rentals are available on weekends and select holidays from April through October. For more information, contact Big Rock Outfitters at (803) 358-0336.

When you visit the park, be sure to check out the scenic overlook with its view of the long-gone gristmill spillway. After a good rain, it makes for quite a waterfall.
Marie McAden
A former staffer with The Miami Herald, Marie moved to SC in 1992. She is passionate about the outdoors, and enjoys exploring the state’s many natural treasures from the Lowcountry to the Upstate.