The city of Sumter provides residents and visitors of all ages with a variety of recreational amenities and activities. If playing in the great outdoors is your way to keep fit, there are plenty of natural areas to get in your exercise.
Rise early to enjoy a bicycle ride along the Cypress Trail. This 5.3-mile natural surface pathway offers more than half a dozen routes throughout various areas of Sumter County, including a part that cuts through Sumter’s Crystal Lakes Golf course. You may see birds, snakes, turtles and a variety of other wildlife amid the wild flowers, berry bushes and mixed foliage in the varying habitats. At Cypress Park, located on North Wise Drive past the Caterpillar plant, you can rest on benches or at picnic tables. Take note that hours are from dawn to dusk and insect repellent is recommended in the warm-weather months. Pets are permitted on a leash.
If you prefer a relaxing walk, try Dillon Park, a large recreation facility featuring soccer, football and softball fields, golf (at adjacent Crystal Lakes Golf Course), a 1-mile walking track, an equestrian ring and lots of playground equipment. Dogs can play and mingle in the doggy park and families are welcome to use the large picnic shelter for gatherings or meals.
Love a good game of tennis? Play a match at the Palmetto Tennis Center. It’s one of the largest public tennis complexes in South Carolina, boasting 24 state-of-the-art tennis courts that can be lit for night play. Three on-site tennis pros offer private lessons and group clinics for beginner to advanced players. Other amenities include two ball machines, stringing service, restrooms and pro shop. Admission for regular play is free of charge!
Swim at a city pool or soar on the swingsets at Crosswell Park. You'll also find a paved 1.5-mile walking path, a gazebo, restrooms and a playground area within the park, located adjacent to Crosswell Elementary School.
Poinsett State Park offers more recreational options, including fishing, hiking and biking. With over 1,000 acres dotted with beautiful cabins, campsites, rentable paddleboats and paddleboards and a facility to host gatherings, there’s truly something for every member of your family. The nearby 28,675-acre Manchester State Forest is another great place to explore. If you are into mountain biking, trail riding, OHV, fishing, hunting or enjoy practicing shooting at a rifle and pistol range, this adventure spot is for you. There are also annual equestrian, mountain biking and enduro events in this area.
You'll also want to take in the abundance of wildlife and natural beauty at the world-famous Swan Lake Iris Gardens, where you can view all eight known swan species and the most intensive plantings of Japanese iris in the United States. With over a mile and a half of trails, you can get in your steps or take a leisurely walk with your camera. A Braille Trail enables the sight-impaired to enjoy the scents and sensations of the gardens, and the Butterfly Garden and Chocolate Garden both delight the senses. The garden hosts several annual festivals throughout the year, including SC's oldest festival, the Iris Festival, along with an Earth Day celebration, Recovery Road Race, an Easter egg hunt, Taste of the Gardens and Fantasy of Lights, to name a few.