Catch a double feature this spring at Swan Lake-Iris Gardens in Sumter. The 150-acre park, known for its fauna (they don't call it swan lake for nothing,) also has an impressive collection of flora, most notably Japanese iris. This time of year, the delicate plants steal the show with their stunning dinner-plate-sized blossoms.
I visited the park just as the Japanese irises were starting to bloom. The colorful floral spectacle included 25 varieties - pure whites, pinks, blues and purples, along with striped combinations. You can catch the flowers blossoming through early June.
If you can't make it for the spring display, there are still plenty of reasons to visit the gardens. And they're swimming and strolling all around Swan Lake.
They include Royal White Mute Swans, Black Necked Swans, Trumpeters, Whoopers, Coscorobas, Bewick Swans, Whistler Swans and Black Australians. No other public park in the United States features all eight swan species.
Need more convincing? Entrance to the park is free.
Located about 40 miles from Columbia, Swan Lake-Iris Gardens makes for a wonderful stop or side trip on your travels through South Carolina. To find out more about the park, visit our site or call (800) 688-4748.