Riding along the busy Two Notch Road (US1) in Columbia, SC, this 1419 acre park may come as a surprise, and what a nice surprise. The park is known as ‘Sesqui’, a much easier name to pronounce than Sesquicentennial. The park opened in 1936, the 150th anniversary, the sesquicentennial, of the founding of Columbia. It was donated to the city the next year.
This is a park I’ve visited the most often, taking in the trails that wind around the park. There’s a paved path around the 30 acre lake. Besides hiking, there are other activities offered, boating, biking, fishing, and ranger led activities. They even have movie night during the summer. Take your kids to enjoy the movies and let them play at the playground while you rest under the trees or go canoeing. There’s room for gatherings and a campground too.
There’s plenty of wildlife to be seen here if you’re lucky from river otters, flying squirrels, foxes and bobcats.
One of my favorite hikes is the one around the lake, but I enjoy the others too. Walking through the trees is a welcome respite although that white sand can be hard to walk on sometimes. And what’s up with the white, beach sand? Turns out the park is located on what used to be the beach way back a good many years ago.
This area is part of the sand hills, a ribbon of hills made of sandy soil that were once ocean dunes left behind when the sea receded.
Sesqui is one of the many parks in South Caroline developed by the CCC, the Civilian Conservation Corp. The stone entrance to the park was made by them as well as many buildings and the lake.
You can reach the park off I-77 at the Two Notch Road exit. From I-20, you can take either the Two Notch Road or Polo Road exits. All exits have signs to Sesquicentennial park.
Downtown Columbia with its capital building, Riverfront Park, museums, zoo, and urban walking trails are around eight miles away.