Hunting Island, South Carolina August, 2015 – I fell in love with the pictures I’d seen of Hunting Island, a South Carolina State Park. We were traveling on I-95 on a Monday morning when Jim pointed out we didn’t have to be at our next stop for another day and asked if there was any place else I would rather go. Just 5 miles before the exit I made a quick call and secured a site for one night and off we went.
What an amazing island! We loved this beach which was plenty long for walks and not terribly crowded. We saw lots of dolphins. One surfaced just 30 feet from where we were swimming. The water here didn’t have the visibility we prefer. In fact, you couldn’t see your feet standing in 1 foot of water. But it felt great to finally be back in salt water. It was surprisingly warm, but not too warm. I just expected colder water in the Atlantic.
There were a few fishermen on the beach. We spoke to one who said he had caught a 50 inch shark there a few days before. They have a free fishing pier at one end of the park where you don’t even need a license. It’s a shame we didn’t have time to even wet a line on this short visit but we’ll definitely stay longer next time.
There were a couple shrimp boats trawling off the island the afternoon we were there which were entertaining to watch. Before we left we visited a couple fish markets about 5 miles from the park on St. Helena Island. We found the best prices at Gay Fish Company and picked up 4 pounds of shrimp, fresh off the boat, for $7 per pound. We were told by one of the park employees that some of the Forrest Gump movie was shot in this area and they used this fish company’s boat.
The next morning I hopped out of bed, grabbed a cup of coffee and my camera, and we headed out to catch the sunrise. I was mesmerized by the reflection of the sunrise in the tidal pools.
But what I really wanted to capture were these dead trees and root wads that are at one end of the beach.
There are hundreds of them, mostly lying on the beach. But a few are still standing.
Just beyond these is a lighthouse. So we headed up to it to take a look and presumably get some good pictures. Just as we reached the lighthouse we were swarmed by hundreds of mosquitos. I fled back to the beach covered in bites that itched for days. This is the best picture I could get of the lighthouse from the beach and that is as close as I ever plan to get to it again.
This is a very popular state park and for good reason. When I looked at the park’s reservation system every site was booked on the weekends for several weeks in advance. So I knew if we were going to squeeze in a visit it would have to be midweek. We ended up with a very spacious water and electric site just 3 rows back from the beach for $37. You generally must reserve these sites at ReserveAmerica.com and they require a two night minimum stay at this park. Since they can’t do same day reservations you are able to call the park directly and just stay one night. I believe I saved a $5 reservation fee by going this route as well. Two points for poor planning!!
Here is the campground viewed from the beach.
The first two rigs you see are the only ones with direct beach access. They are in sites 47 and 48. Those sites are booked up through the end of the year and probably well in to next except for a day here and there. Every other camper has to walk to one of the breaks in the fence to get to the beach. All the sites in the beachside loops 1 & 2 were pretty nice and the roads were a little rough and tight but passable. There were some mosquitos in camp but as soon as you cleared the trees and got on the beach they were gone. We drove loops 3, 4, & 5 farther back from the beach and were less than impressed. I wouldn’t be very comfortable taking my rig back there and I’d bet the bugs are pretty bad there too.