Hunting Island State Park Guide to Important Info

Among the post popular parks in South Carolina, Hunting Island State Park welcomes more than 1 million visitors every year. What makes it so special? Keep reading for a quick Hunting Island State Park guide and find things to do.

Hunting Island State Park Guide: Tips and Ideas for Visitors

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Transportation Info

The park is located in Beaufort County, South Carolina. Those driving will get here from I-95 to Highway 21 East, which ends at the park. Visitors in Atlanta (GA); Charlotte (NC); and Charleston (SC) will find the park about a 300-mile drive.

Those unable to drive long distances should fly into Savannah-Hilton Head International Airport, and rent a car. Savannah is only 56 miles from the park’s entrance. Plan to pay between $4 to $8 admission per person.

Huntingt Island Lighthouse

As the only lighthouse in South Carolina open to the public, the Huntingt Island Lighthouse encourages guests to walk to the top. For a small fee, visitors taller than 44 inches can climb 167 steps and walk around the observation deck. From there, take photos or simply admire the view.

Hunting Island Lighthouse dates to 1859, and was destroyed by Confederates during the Civil War. It was rebuilt in 1875 and used to warn ships of dangerous hazards and currents. Although, it was no longer active after 1933, the lighthouse still has a special feature.
The lighthouse consists of cast-iron plates and designed to be dismantled in case it needs to be relocated.

beaufort hunting lighthouse historic

Hunting Island State Park Guide: The Trails

In addition to a historic lighthouse, nature lovers have access to multiple trails ranging in difficulty. Most offer easy hikes, and the longest trail is only 2 miles. This makes it easy for everyone to stay active – even when short on time.

A few options include Maritime Forest Trail, Marsh Boardwalk Trail and Lighthouse Nature Trail. For a challenge, try Diamondback Rattlesnake Trail. This option measures 2.3 miles and offers a moderate hike with difficult terrain. No matter which trail, expect to see wildlife habitats, maritime forests, beaches and marine life.

Other Outdoor Activities

Hunting Island State Park also provides the opportunity to try fun outdoor activities. Start by enjoying 5 miles of beach along the Atlantic Ocean. Swimming is permitted in the ocean; however, there is not a designated swimming area or lifeguards.

At the southern end of the park, anglers will find a fishing pier. The south end has boat ramps perfect for launching boats on the inlet or Harbor River. Other outdoor recreation includes paddling, bird-watching, bicycling, horseback riding and picnicking.

hunting island state park guide

Nature Center and Museum

Located next to the fishing pier, guests enjoy learning about the park and seeing exhibits. The center usually opens 7 days a week during normal park hours. Displays and exhibits may feature live reptiles, natural resources and history. For a more in-depth experience, take a guide tour with a ranger or park expert.

Rules and Regulations Summary

Hunting Island State Park only permits dogs in certain areas. Pets are not allowed in the cabin or cabin area, on the pier, inside the lighthouse, or in some of North Beach. They are allowed in most areas, but should have a physical restraint and/or leash less than 6 feet. In addition, dogs should be well behaved, and owners should clean up after them.

Here are a few important things to note:

  • Alcohol beverages including beer and wine are not permitted except where specifically posted by the parks department.
  • Do not destroy or damage any trees, shrub or other plants. Respect all wildlife habitats.
  • Campers should register, and follow correct check-in and check-out procedures.
  • Always pick up trash and keep areas clean.

Want more things to do? Check out the top Beaufort historic sites during vacation. Then book a spacious vacation rental in Beaufort and the South Carolina Sea Islands.