By Tracy Fuga


Welcome to Shaw Air Force Base, home to the 20th Fighter Wing! As you get settled into your new home, you’re probably looking for some ideas of things to do in the area. You’re in luck! The Air Combat Command is just a short drive from Columbia, South Carolina, and just under two hours from Charleston. This area has so much to offer visitors and those who get to call it home. The area is known for its mild climate so you can look forward to enjoying a variety of outdoor activities throughout the year. Here is a list of 24 of the best things to do while living in or near Shaw Air Force Base. Know what you are looking for? Click the number(s) to go right to what you go: (1-7) Outdoor Recreation (8) Golfing (9-10) Gyms (11) Bowling (12-18) Nearby Attractions (19-22) Museums (23) Movie Theaters (24) Distilleries and Breweries

Suggested Read:

Shaw Air Force Base: In-Depth Welcome Center

24 Things to Do in Shaw AFB

Shaw AFB Outdoor Rec

1. Outdoor Recreation

1 FamCamp Drive Shaw AFB, SC 29152


: 1 (803) 895-0450 Outdoor Adventures operates the Falcons Nest FamCamp, Shaw Pools, Skeet and Trap Range, Recreation Supply Equipment Rental and the base picnic grounds. In addition, it provides guided trips, events, classes and a wide variety of outdoor recreational activities to serve military personnel, their dependents, DOD civilians and retirees. Call to make reservations.

2. Falcon’s Nest FamCamp

1 FamCamp Drive Shaw AFB, SC 29152 Phone: 1 (803) 895-0450 Falcon’s Nest FamCamp is a top-of-the-line on-base family campground and RV park. There are 20 10-foot by 58-foot recreational vehicle sites complete with water, sewer and electrical hook-ups. Each site is accompanied by a picnic pad with table and barbecue grill. Adjacent to the FamCamp is the Outdoor Recreation building where you can visit the convenience store, use the showers and laundry room, or get internet access at the camper’s lounge. For the convenience of campers, a dump station is also located at the FamCamp.

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3. Wateree Recreation Area
2030 Baron Dekalb Road Camden, SC 29020


: 1 (803) 432-7976 Offering 16 cabins, 22 recreational vehicle sites, tent camping and seasonal lake swimming, Wateree Recreation Area is designed for the recreational enjoyment of military members, their families, retirees and all other authorized DOD customers. Come up to South Carolina’s Olde English District for the day to swim or have a cookout or stay all season long at one of the full-service RV sites.


4. Woods Bay State Park
11020 Woods Bay Road Olanta, SC 29114


: 1 (803) 659-4445 The 1,590-acre Woods Bay State Park, in the coastal plains region, features a wide range of habitats including marsh, sandhills, oak-hickory forest and shrub bog. The habitats can be explored by taking the nature trail encircling the mill pond or by walking the length of the 1,150-foot boardwalk, which provides views of alligators in the cypress tupelo swamp. The best way to see the park is by following a canoe trail which takes paddlers past the Carolina Bays, elliptical depressions which appear swampy but remain dry.


5. Gen. Thomas Sumter Memorial Park
Acton Road Sumter, SC 29150


: 1 (803) 436-2640 The small Gen. Thomas Sumter Memorial Park serves as the burial place for Gen. Sumter, known as the Gamecock. He was a friend of the Cherokee, a Revolutionary War hero, planter, congressman and senator. The city of Sumter and Sumter County, as well as a national forest and a fort in Charleston are named after him. The park is open daily from dawn to dusk. Admission is free.
6. Swan Lake Iris Gardens
822 W. Liberty St. Sumter, SC 29150 Swan Lake Irish Gardens is one of the most beautiful places in South Carolina. Here you will find the most picturesque nature: beautiful plants, flowers and animals. The lake is unusual because there is a small Camellia island inside it, which attracts tourists with an excellent view. Fishing is prohibited but there are boat rental options and swimming is allowed. The area also boasts the Braille Garden where the visually impaired can enjoy natural scents and sensations.


7. Poinsett State Park
6660 Poinsett Park Road Wedgefield, SC 29168


: 1 (803) 494-8177 The High Hills of Santee are dotted with the hiking and biking trails that wind through Poinsett State Park – some of which connect to the Palmetto Trail that leads hikers through the Manchester State Forest. Poinsett’s 10-acre lake makes for a serene setting, and can be used for fishing and boat rentals. The park also offers campsites, a fishing pond, a coquina bath house built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s, pre-revolutionary grist mill ruins and rustic cabins. Shaw AFB Golf Course

Shaw AFB Golf Course

8. Carolina Lakes Golf Course

400 Stuart St. Shaw AFB, SC 29152


: 1 (803) 895-1399 Carolina Lakes Golf Course offers 18 lush emerald bermuda greens and fairways tucked in a gently rolling landscape. Your golfing experience is enhanced with a fully stocked pro-shop, driving range, and restaurant. Private lessons are available from certified instructors. The restaurant overlooks the scenic 18th hole and has a wonderful panoramic view of the course from nearly every seat, and is open daily for breakfast and lunch. The comfortable, friendly restaurant is a great place for social gatherings of all kinds.

Shaw AFB Gym

9. Shaw Fitness and Health Center

428 Shaw Drive Shaw AFB, SC 29152


: 1 (803) 895-2284 The fitness centers and facilities offer racquetball courts, a sauna, men’s and women’s locker rooms, weight rooms, a cardiovascular room, tennis courts, a 1/4 mile track, 4 running trails equaling 7 miles, softball, football and soccer fields, basketball courts, an aerobic exercise room, volleyball courts, strength resistance to free weight and cardio, and a parent fitness room with children’s play area. An approximately 25,000 square foot addition was added in 2011 with a new cardio room, weight room, and a men’s locker room and a women’s locker room.

10. Shaw Fitness and Health Center Annex

5 Lasano Road Shaw AFB, SC 29152


: 1 (803) 895-0947 The Shaw Fitness and Health Center Annex is located adjacent to the USARCENT Building. It offers a large selection of fitness equipment and workout areas to suit your taste. Some of our amenities include large locker rooms with saunas and flat screen TVs throughout the center to make your workout more enjoyable. The Annex also offers 24-hour access to authorized users. Shaw AFB Bowling Alley

Shaw AFB Bowling Alley

11. Shaw Lanes Bowling Center

416 Recreation St. Shaw AFB, SC 29152


: 1 (803) 895-2732 The Shaw Lanes Bowling Center features 16 lanes with automatic scoring. Recently added, the HyperBowling games bring an exciting new way to bowl. With points scored for bouncing shots off the bumpers and knocking down the pins, it's an exhilarating bowling variant for all ages. It also offers the Cosmic Grill for dining, rental lockers, pro shop, ball drilling (by appointment only) and a private party room.

Nearby Attractions


Riverbanks Zoo & Garden, Columbia, SC
12. Riverbanks Zoo & Garden
500 Wildlife Parkway Columbia, SC 29210


: 1 (803) 779-8717 Riverbanks Zoo & Garden is one of the nation’s prettiest zoos and the natural campus is easily maneuverable for visitors of all ages. The 170-acre oasis for animals, plants and visitors alike is nestled along the banks of the Lower Saluda River and home to 2,000 animals in habitat as well as an ever-growing State Botanical Garden.
13. Columbia Fireflies
1640 Freed St. Columbia, SC 29201


: 1 (803) 726-4487 The Columbia Fireflies are a Minor League Baseball team affiliated with the Kansas City Royals. The Fireflies play at Segra Park, which is located in the heart of the developing BullStreet District. The team takes the field from April to September, playing 70 home games over the course of the season.

Shaw AFB

14. Skeet and Trap
375 Condor Country Road Shaw AFB, SC 29152


: 1 (803) 895-0331 The Skeet and Trap range has four skeet ranges, two trap ranges, one five stand range and two archery lanes. The range is a member of the South Carolina Skeet Shooting Association and National Skeet Shooting Association. Ammunition is available for purchase by customers as well as club guns for rent, and a small clubhouse with a limited variety of beverages.
15. Information, Tickets and Travel
370 Rhodes Ave. Shaw AFB, SC 29152


: 1 (803) 895-4774 Information, Tickets and Tours (ITT) is your one-stop-shop for all of your destinations. ITT provides a variety of services at competitive prices to meet your travel needs. Check out the variety of day and weekend trips and vacations. From planning to ticketing, ITT can take you along every step. ITT is located by the pharmacy inside the Base Exchange.
16. Woodland Pool
401 Mitchell St. Shaw AFB, SC 29152


: 1 (803) 895-3446 Woodland Pool is open from Memorial Day through Labor Day and is next to the Base Chapel and across from the Carolina Skies Club and Conference Center. This pool has a water slide, wading pool and large sun deck. It is utilized for children and adult swimming lessons, daily lap swim and open recreation swimming. Changing rooms and showers are available at the pool house.


17. Sumter Opera House
21 N. Main St. Sumter, SC 29150


: 1 (803) 436-2616 The historic Sumter Opera House is known as one of Sumter’s crown jewels. Through the years, this building has served a number of purposes and has seen a great deal of change. Today, it is home to City Hall, City Council chambers and a 550-seat theatre. The Sumter Opera House is promoting the arts as a catalyst for community vibrancy, quality of life, education and economic development.
18. Sumter City Aquatics Center
1115 S. Lafayette Drive Sumter, SC 29150


: 1 (803) 774-3998 The Sumter City Aquatics Center hosts competitive swim meets with six swim lanes, diving blocks, an electronic timer and touch pads. The center is open for fun in the sun with the spray fountain, twister slide and swimming open for all ages.

Shaw AFB Museums


19. Sumter County Museum
122 N. Washington St. Sumter, SC 29150


: 1 (803) 775-0908 The Sumter County Museum promotes the history of Old Sumter District through educational programs, community involvement, and the preservation, interpretation, and exhibition of artifacts. Sumter Gallery of Art, Sumter, SC
20. Sumter Gallery of Art
200 Hasel St. Sumter, SC 29150


: 1 (803) 775-0543 The Sumter County Gallery of Art is housed in a newly renovated state of the art facility adjacent to Patriot Hall. SCGA is a nonprofit art institution and features rotating shows of both traditional and contemporary art by local, regional and nationally recognized artists. Three formal exhibition galleries considered by many in the South Carolina arts community as one of the best exhibition spaces in the state.


21. EdVenture Children’s Museum
211 Gervais St. Columbia, SC 29201


: 1 (803) 779-3100 The South's largest children's museum is the home of Eddie, the world's largest child, along with 300 exhibits to inspire children to experience the joy of learning. Where else but EdVenture can children talk to a skeleton, drive a real fire truck, become a veterinarian for the day or visit another country?
22. South Carolina State Museum
301 Gervais St. Columbia, SC 29201


: 1 (803) 898-4921 The South Carolina State Museum houses four museums in one – art, history, natural history, and science and technology – the perfect stop for the knowledge-seeker who can’t decide which subject fascinates them more. For an out-of-this-world experience, take to the stars at the museum’s 55-foot planetarium, one of the largest digital dome planetariums in the Southeast. Become completely immersed as you watch an astronomy or laser light show with multi-media images and sounds. Continue your exploration through space at the Boeing Observatory, which is home to the historic 1926 Alvan Clark telescope. Shaw AFB Movie Theater

Shaw AFB Movie Theater

23. Shaw AFB Theater

413 Recreation St. Shaw AFB, SC 29152


: 1 (803) 895-2199 Shaw AFB Theater shows first-run movies every day for a low price as well as 3-D movies, when available. It’s a great place to host a special event or it can be used for briefs, ceremonies and meetings.

Craft Breweries

24. Breweries

Beyond the beer, each brewery in Columbia has its own vibe. In the area, you can find biergartens perfect for a beer yoga at Swamp Cabbage, games for the kids while you enjoy some brews at Columbia Craft and live music at Savage Craft - just to name a few. In addition, craft beer-related activities have popped up as well. The Columbia Brew Bus shuttles groups to breweries in the area and gives a history of the city’s beer background. The Pedal Parlor tasks groups with pedaling their way from brewery to brewery.


The area surrounding Shaw Air Force Base is packed with things to do. It’s perfect for outdoor enthusiasts, history buffs, budding photographers and food lovers alike. Whatever your mood or hobby, there’s plenty of things to do in South Carolina.  

The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.




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