Columbia is home to the main campus of the University of South Carolina. The campus area covers over 350 acres and the enrollment is over 27,000 students. Fort Jackson is located within the city of Columbia. Fort Jackson is the largest and most active Initial Entry Training Center in the U.S. Army, training 34 percent of all soldiers and 69 percent of the women entering the Army each year. Approximately 45,000 soldiers go through basic and advanced training each year. The University of South Carolina and Fort Jackson have a significant economic impact on the Columbia area.
There are many cultural amenities, parks, and recreational features in the Columbia area. A national park, Congaree, is located just outside the city limits. Lake Murray is one of the premier lakes in the Southeastern United States. The lake is very popular for boating and fishing. At the confluence of two major rivers, Columbia is one of the best destinations in the country for kayak and canoe enthusiasts. Columbia has been named a top midsized market for relocating families in the nation. Also, increasingly, Columbia is becoming recognized as an ideal city for retirees. Columbia was recently one of 30 communities named "America's Most Livable Communities."
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Columbia has a humid subtropical climate, with mild winters, and hot, humid summers. Summer is the wettest season; almost half of the annual rainfall occurs during the summer months in the form of thundershowers. Fall remains relatively warm through November. Winter is short and relatively mild and snow flurries seldom occur.
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