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There are plenty of unsung suburbs that deserve to be travel destinations in their own right, and Lexington, South Carolina, is one of them. Not to be outshone by Columbia, South Carolina's capital and Lexington's neighbor to the east, this small town is packed with fun things to do whether you're on a solo trip, a family getaway, or just want to plan a day trip somewhere unexpected.
With a population of just over 21,000, Lexington has its small-town bonafides, but it's also filled with great restaurants and fun outdoor activities, and it has easy access to Lake Murray, where you can have an exciting day on the water with the help of paddle boards and boat charters.
If the outdoors are what you're after, Lexington is home to lots of parks: Virginia Hylton Park, Gibson Pond Park, Peachtree Rock Heritage Preserve (where you can wander and learn about the area's geology, flora, and fauna), the list goes on and on. There's also fun to be had on the Dreher Shoals Dam Walk, a path that traverses Dreher Shoals Dam along Lake Murray and has great views of the water.
When the outdoor activities have been had, step indoors or find a seat on a patio at a local restaurant. There's Angry Fish Brewing Company, where you can find a taproom serving Lexington-brewed beers; Old Mill Brewpub, which is located in a historic mill and sells burgers and beers; and O'Hara's Public House, an Irish pub found downtown. Private Property is located in a historic home and has menus full of eclectic burgers and cast-iron cooked fish, while Travinia Italian Kitchen and Wine Bar serves spins on Italian classics.
There's also Hudson's Smokehouse for barbecue, Bodhi Thai for Thai-inspired dishes and craft cocktails, and Creekside Restaurant, which is also located in a historic mill. Flight Deck Restaurant is a family favorite; it's aviation themed and has Greek & American diner classics. Don't forget everyone's favorite coffee spot, Haven
If you're in Lexington on a weekend during the summer, you can also visit The Market at Icehouse. It's located at the Icehouse Amphitheater and is a market for local growers and artisans.
If the temps drive you inside, don't miss some of Lexington's best indoor attractions, like LAC Gallery, a creative hub and art gallery where you can see new and local work. There's also Vintage Vinyl South Carolina, a spot for browsing records, and the Old Mill Antique Mall, where you can find treasures from the past. To learn about South Carolina wine and taste some local vintages, you can head to Mercer House Estate Winery, which is open on the weekends and has tastings.
Way more than a great suburb, Lexington is a small-town travel destination in its own right. Once you get to Columbia, hang a left (or right, depending on your direction) and see what adventures this great town has to offer.