Best Suburbs in Columbia for Families

Moving to Columbia, SC? Soda citizens get the luxury of big-city amenities without the noise and overcrowded streets. In addition to top-rated schools, Soda City offers warm weather, Southern comfort food, and friendly neighbors. Explore these five best suburbs in Columbia for families!

Blythewood

Photo via @upllc

  • Home Price: $265,100 median purchase price; $1,256 median monthly rent
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 94% of South Carolina cities

Situated less than a half-hour drive from Downtown Columbia via I-77, Blythewood offers a quiet lifestyle for families in one of the safest suburbs in Columbia. Originally named Doko—a Native American term meaning “watering place”—sports and the arts are strong traditions of this charming town. Blythewood is home to the University of South Carolina’s equestrian team at One Wood Farm. Residents celebrate the arts through local events like Doko Film Fest, which encourages young filmmakers to develop their visual storytelling skills—and family-friendly hangout spots like Richland Library Blythewood. Families can choose to raise their children in Craftsman and Neo-Colonial brick houses, near top-rated schools like Bethel-Hanberry Elementary School, Muller Road Middle School, and Blythewood High School.

Things to Do in Blythewood

Enjoy a six-mile trail walk while getting fresh produce and unique crafts from the Blythewood Farmers Market, or watch a live performance at the amphitheater in Doko Meadows Park. Take the Blythewood Historical Society‘s self-guided walking tour to explore historical landmarks like the Clara Martin Sandwich Shop, Town Park Archeological Site, and Bethel Baptist Church, built in 1884. Discover fashion pieces, one-of-a-kind home decor, and furniture at Blythewood Consignment. Sign your little one up for a Junior Tennis program, play pickleball, or golf 27 holes at Cobblestone Park Golf Club. Head to the 28,000-square-foot clubhouse and order a Mushroom Swiss Burger, Triple Decker Club Sandwich, or Classic Philly Cheese Steak at Alexander’s at Cobblestone Park. Expand your tastebuds with a blend of local and international dishes like Jerk Chicken, Caribbean Oxtails, and Fried Whiting Fish at Scott Benny’s. Chow down on a Brisket Sandwich, Pulled Pork & Ribs Plate, and Banana Pudding for dessert at family-owned restaurant Doko Smoke Barbeque. Or choose from options like the Brownie Sundae, Mint Mochaccino, and Ice Cream Nachos at Sweet Pea’s Ice Cream Parlor.

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Cayce

Photo via @workwithwalsh

  • Home Price: $120,000 median purchase price; $882 median monthly rent
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 31% of South Carolina cities

Situated less than five miles away from Downtown Columbia, Cayce offers an assortment of restaurants, boutiques, festivals, and a lovely and affordable environment for families to plant roots. Parents can have confidence in excellent area schools like Cayce Elementary School, Cyril B. Busbee Creative Arts Academy, and Brookland-Cayce High School. Through town revitalization efforts, Cayce River Arts District (CRAD) has been transformed into a bright space with colorful murals and sculptures for residents and visitors to explore. And between annual festivals in Columbus such as Soiree on State, Cayce Plant Exchange, or Cayce Fall Fest—residents fill their time hiking, birdwatching, and enjoying water activities with other nature enthusiasts along the Congaree River. And in addition to having convenient access to activities in other parts of the Columbia metro via I-26 and I-77, the Columbia Metropolitan Airport is located just ten minutes away, making travel easy!

Things to Do in Cayce

Discover artifacts from the American Revolutionary War and Civil War at The Cayce Historical Museum. See who can jump the highest on the trampolines, test your speed with the Interactive Light Wall, and climb up the Spider Tower in Summit Adventure West Columbia. Walk along the the 20-mile trail and watch for animal sculptures or have a picnic with your family at Cayce Riverwalk. Gather a group of courageous friends and brave a walk through one of the longest-running haunted houses in South Carolina, Hall of Horrors. Feast on a Buffalo Blue Ribeye Burger, Kingsman Jumbo Wings, or daily lunch specials like the Salisbury Steak at Kingsman. Dig into Asian street food created with family recipes, like Bangkok Chicken Basil, Hot Basil Stir Fry (Pad Kra Pow), and Crispy Flounder Taco at Duke’s Pad Thai. Order a Henry’s Signature Burger or BBQ Pork Sandwich and share a plate of Carolina Cheese Fries at Henry’s Restaurant & Bar. Leave the kids at home and sample unique beers on tap like Blackberry Lemonade Wheat Ale, Coffee Porter, and Pecan Brown Ale paired with some Steel Hands Nachos at Steel Hands Brewing.

Irmo

Photo via @paigesellssc

  • Home Price: $123,600 median purchase price; $1,036 median monthly rent
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 56% of South Carolina cities

One of the best places to live in Columbia, Irmo is a fantastic South Carolina suburb for families. Known as the “Gateway to Lake Murray,” couples can start a family in a home with a waterfront view, with housing options like Federal, farmhouse, ranch-style, and many more. In addition to educational opportunities at highly-rated schools—like Ballentine Elementary School, Green Charter School Of The Midlands, and Dutch Fork High School—the town of Irmo has a sprawling suburban feel, giving children ample space for exploration. On the weekends, families can bond over local cuisine, community events like the Cherry Blossom Festival, or retail therapy at the Columbiana Centre. Alternatively, residents can make a trip to Downtown Columbia in less than 20 minutes via I-26 for more shopping and fun.

Things to Do in Irmo

Take your dogs for a walk, have a picnic, or spend time with your young ones at the playground in Irmo Community Park. Sign your children up for Youth League Bowling or invite friends to Rock-n-Glow bowling on Friday and Saturday evenings at Anchor Lanes. Catch poetry, ballet, and music performances at the Harbison Theatre at Midlands Technical College. Go boating, fishing, or watch the sunset at Lake Murray. Then grab dinner with Sweet Bourbon Glazed Salmon, Southern Fried Chicken Tenders, or a Crown Classic Burger at Liberty Tap Room & Grill. Dig into casual delicacies like French Toast with Country Ham, a Reuben Sandwich, or a Roast Beef & Swiss Sub at Mathias Sandwich Shop. Indulge in artisan roasted coffee beverages like Bullet Proof Coffee, a Latte Con Miel, and The Medusa at Loveland Coffee. Order Chinese cuisine like Cumin Beef, Seafood Tofu Pot, and Pork Fried Rice at Sun Ming Chinese Restaurant.

Lexington

  • Home Price: $174,900 median purchase price; $972 median monthly rent
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 78% of South Carolina cities

Once a distant town from the capital of South Carolina, Lexington is now one of the best suburbs for families in Columbia. With lush green spaces, quirky shopping and dining spots, museums, and more, this town has something for everyone. Additionally, affordable housing rates, a stellar school district, and the convenience of having U.S. Route 378 and I-20 running through town all make Lexington a fantastic Columbia suburb to settle down and raise a family. Residents frequent The Market at Icehouse on Saturdays to support local farmers and small business owners, and attend yearly community events like the Snowball Festival in December.

Things to Do in Lexington

Take your kids to the playground or have a family picnic by the waterfall at Virginia Hylton Park. Attend live shows from local bands like Under The Sun and Cody Webb at Icehouse Amphitheater. Browse accessories, cookware, stationery, and more at Blush Boutique & Home. Experience Colonial home life, learn the history of the postal service, and attend special events like “Murders and Mysteries Lexington Walking Tour” at the Lexington County Museum. Enjoy baked goods paired with a freshly-made Dirty Chai, Mocha, or Caramel Macchiato while browsing the in-store library at Second Wave Coffee & Books. Munch on casual Southern delicacies like Country Breakfast, Short Rib Poutine, and Mama’s Chicken Pot Pie at family-owned Comfort Scratch Kitchen. Have date night with your partner and order Thai dishes like Tod Mun Goong, Yum Neua, and Chicken Ballotine at Bodhi Thai Dining. Taste unique alcoholic beverages like Portlandia Pinot Noir or Left Hand Milk Stout along with a Cheese Board or Beef Panini at Keg Cowboy Bar & Restaurant.

West Columbia

Photo via @wrealty

  • Home Price: $131,200 median purchase price; $869 median monthly rent
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 23% of South Carolina cities

West Columbia is one of the best places to live in South Carolina for families. Centrally located near Cayce, Congaree River, and Columbia, residents can quickly commute for work or fun by car via the Gervais Street Bridge or SC-12 West—or take the local bus system, The COMET. On top of that, residents can easily access boutiques, cafes, world-class restaurants, and outdoor activities at parks and other public spaces in West Columbia. What’s more, families are able to send their children to Glenforest School, East Point Academy, and Gray Collegiate Academy—in addition to University of South Carolina for higher education.

Things to Do in West Columbia

Explore 70 acres of themed gardens—including the Collection Garden, home to more than 100 different types of Crinum lilies—or keep cool at Waterfall Junction in the Riverbanks Botanical Garden. Create a tune with the Glockenspiel, test your improv skills on the Hand Drums, or do an experimental photo shoot at the West Columbia Interactive Art Park. Get great deals while browsing preloved furniture, unique homewares, and decor at 763 Antique Mall. Sign up for music lessons, participate in open mic night on Fridays, or dance your heart out on Saturday evenings at Bill’s Music Shop & Pickin’ Parlor. Have family breakfast with dishes like the Special Panini, Margarita Avocado Toast, or the many savory tartines at The Hideout in WeCo. Enjoy delights like the Smokehouse Omelette, Shrimp and Grits, and a Jr Classic for your young one at Cafe Strudel West Columbia. Explore Chinese cuisine like Moo Goo Gai Pan, Spicy Taiwan Beef, and Lemon Chicken at Eggroll Station. Indulge in dishes like Lobster Bisque or Chilean Seabass paired with a recommended beverage from the wine list at Al’s Upstairs Italian Restaurant. Or lick your favorite classic ice cream flavor from the cone while visiting Zesto of West Columbia.

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Thinking of relocating to Columbia, SC? Extra Space Storage has multiple self storage locations in and around Cola Town to help you with your move. Reserve a storage unit online today!

Suburb statistics from AreaVibes

About Mike Beutler

Mike Beutler is a writer and digital content specialist who transitioned to self storage in 2020 after several years in the airline industry. His travels cultivated a passion for exploring cities across the U.S. and abroad and inspired him to learn more about practical insights for urban living. With 14 moves under his belt, both locally and cross-country, he also has a passion for minimalism and organization, and sharing tips to help others make any space feel like home while staying organized.

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