We took a family staycation to Dreher Island State Park just outside of Columbia, SC. The park is 3 islands on the 50,000 acre Lake Murray. We rented a small cabin along the shoreline a few weeks prior, packed the car, and set out on our adventure. Annabeth went on her first sleepover all by herself the night before we left at the neighbor’s house! T.J. and I were able to pack while she was having the time of her life keeping her friends on their toes. Bless them. We picked her up from their house and headed straight for Columbia, only stopping at Bojangles for some biscuits.
As we crossed over the water leading into the State Park, Annabeth exclaimed: This is my dream come true! We checked in at the visitor’s center that doubled as a small convenience store and tackle shop. That island also offered a marina, boat ramps, docks, 3 fishing tournament shelters, bathrooms, and a playground. We made our way to the cabins, which had recently started allowing dogs. We were happy to have Cooper with us for this one! The loop with 10 camper cabins had a private bath house with toilets and showers. Every cabin faced the water and were close to a group picnic pavilion. The cabin was furnished with electricity, an air conditioner/heater, a double bed, and twin bunk beds. A generous front porch with a bench looked through the trees down into the water. Next to each cabin was an outdoor kitchen with a picnic table, fire ring, a bench, and a water spigot. We had more than we needed to make a handful of sweet memories.
Annabeth woke up and wiggled into a swimsuit before T.J. and I could focus. Good thing her energy is contagious. We took a trail out to a cove where you could walk across a sandbar to a tiny island. I enjoyed it but Annabeth was quick to get back to the red clay she’d found and indulge in a spa treatment. One rainy afternoon we went to Little Mountain to check out a two story antique store with a café. Annabeth scarfed down half a BLT, which she proudly carried the remainder in her to-go box but slipped and the LT half fell on the ground. I tried to cheer her up by pointing out that the B had survived but I was informed that a BLT is useless when separated. I enjoyed a PB&J- Pimento Cheese, Jalapeno Bacon, and Raspberry jelly. Back at the cabin, I was able to get some Wi-Fi long enough to download Annabeth’s favorite movie: Isn’t It Romantic with Rebel Wilson and Adam Devine. She finds Liam Hemsworth’s hair mesmerizing and begs Dad to grow his out so it will blow in the wind.
We cannot wait to go back! The park was immaculate. Park Rangers were never far away- buzzing around cleaning bathrooms daily, maintaining the greenery, and tending to the trash/recycle stations. Waking up to the waves and watching the sunset over the water is new to us. TJ was leery to step into the water that first day as I laughed and insisted he get in. He winced expecting ice cold Rocky Mountain water. The expression of awe on his face captured his first experience with warm, as if you just peed your pants, bodies of water. On the drive home, we made plans to rent a villa next time and look into getting a pontoon boat. It was a simple few days but exactly the infusion of energy we were craving.