Hunting Island State Park – Beaufort County, South Carolina
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Hunting Island is located just 16 miles east of Beaufort. The island is a 5,000-acre state park that has over one million visitors each year and is said to be the most popular state park in South Carolina.
Visitors can explore more than five miles of beach as well as enjoy the native flora of its maritime forests and salt marshes. Wildlife is abundant here – in fact, the island received its name for being a prime hunting preserve for nineteenth century planters. Today, however, visitors are asked to shoot the wildlife with cameras only.
Hunting Island has primitive campgrounds close to the beach and also spaces for RVs to park. The historic Hunting Island lighthouse is the only lighthouse open to the public to climb in our state.
The original lighthouse was built in the 1859 but was destroyed in the Civil War. It was rebuilt in 1876 and almost suffered another disaster when the hurricane of 1893 damaged much of the island; however, the lighthouse was spared.
The beach became a state park in 1935 with the help of the Civilian Conservation Corps. Despite the bridges to the island and the large number of visitors to its beach and marshes, the land remains pristine. It is one of the few remaining undeveloped barrier island in South Carolina.
The 1,120-foot fishing pier picture above stretches into Fripp Inlet. At the entrance to the pier, you can find a nature center with exhibits about local wildlife.
Hunting Island is susceptible to erosion. According to Friends of Hunting Island, each year approximately 15 feet of sand wash away from the beach. Hurricane damage from 2004 also drastically affected the shoreline, making Hunting Island one of the most quickly eroding beaches on the East Coast.
South Carolina‘s legislature allocated $5 million to help combat this erosion, and the project to pump sand and place groins (jetties) on the beach was completed in 2006. The pumping was finished just in time for the turtle nesting season, but erosion continues to be an ongoing battle.
In early October 2007, a devastating tropical storm passed over Hunting Island State Park, raising tides for several days and washing away several cabins located on the southern end of the island. These cabins had served as prime vacation rentals for many years.
Before you go, make sure to check out our maps of Hunting Island!
Hunting Island State Park Info
Address: 2555 Sea Island Parkway, Hunting Island, SC 29920
Hunting Island State Park Map
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The purpose of the South Carolina Picture Project is to celebrate the beauty of the Palmetto State and create a permanent digital repository for our cultural landmarks and natural landscapes. We invite you to add additional pictures (paintings, photos, etc) of Hunting Island State Park, and we also invite you to add info, history, stories, and travel tips. Together, we hope to build one of the best and most loved SC resources in the world!