Originally known for its industry, Sumter now bursts with culture and color. The town is particularly famous for art and music festivals which take place throughout the year. Plan your trip around these to enjoy this lively town at its best.
Visit the Swan Lake Iris Gardens, home to a range of floral attractions from across the globe. The irises are best viewed during the summer months, but you can enjoy the abundant wildlife in the park any time of year. Try to spot all eight species of swan that live in the area.
Summers in Sumter are warm, so cool off at the four different Spray Parks around the city. Stand beneath the refreshing water and use the excellent picnic facilities and play areas for children. When the temperature cools, enjoy tennis at the Palmetto Tennis Center. This stays open into the evening; equipment is available for rent.
The sub-tropical climate means that rain can occur throughout the year. When it does, head to one of Sumter’s many indoor attractions. The Sumter County Gallery of Art is one of the best. Here, view traditional and contemporary work from local and nationally recognized artists in one of the state’s best exhibition spaces. Join a group tour and be sure to visit whatever temporary exhibition happens to be present at the time.
For your evening’s entertainment, visit the Sumter Opera House. A year-round program of events makes this one of the town’s most popular attractions. Even if you don’t see a show, the Opera House, which was built in 1895, is well worth a visit for its interesting architecture.
Plan your visit around one of Sumter’s many festivals to see the town at its best. The Fantasy of Lights around Christmas time, the Iris Festival in May and the monthly Fourth Fridays throughout the summer are some of the most popular.