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beaufort, South Carolina
February 4, 2006
From journal Buggy Beaufort
Charlotte, North Carolina
April 10, 2005
About 16 miles east of Beaufort, you will find the Hunting Island State Park. The park includes nature trails, camping, a beautiful beach, and historic lighthouse. It is a place to relax and get in touch with nature.
The island gets its name from when it was used for hunting deer, waterfowl, and raccoons. It was also a stop for many pirates who traversed the lowlands, including the infamous Black Beard and Captain Jack Sparrow. Okay, so I made up the Jack Sparrow part. Anytime I hear pirates mentioned, my mind wanders to Johnny Depp and Pirates of the Caribbean, so sue me! But I am sure if there really were a Jack Sparrow, he would have been here, too! In 1930s, it was turned into a state park, and then camping sites, a building, and the boardwalk were added. Today, it is part of the South Carolina state parks system.
The 500-acre park has 3 miles of beautiful and pristine shores. The beaches here are much less crowded than Myrtle Beach or Hilton Head. You can just kick back in the sand and let your mind and soul drift for awhile. Today, more than 1 million visitors come in search of peace and relaxation. There are 200 campsites on the grounds, and they include showers and restrooms. They also offer rental cabins for those who don’t wish to get that close to nature. The tent sites have electrical hook-ups and the cabins do have electricity. They do have restrooms in the park for those just visiting, as well as vending machines and a snack bar. They also have a gift shop near the lighthouse. You can enjoy a romantic stroll on the beaches and boardwalk, fish, the nature trails, shell collecting, or climbing the historic lighthouse on the premises. I have a separate entry just for that one. Hunting Island is also nesting grounds for loggerhead turtles. The park operates a hatchery for study and rescue. You might be interested to know Hunting Island served as Vietnam in Forest Gump, starring the delightful Tom Hanks.
Coming here makes you feel like you have stepped back in time for awhile. Everything is so beautiful and calm. The weather here is gorgeous year-round. We were here in October, and it was a balmy 75°F! The beaches weren’t very crowded, so you felt as if you had your own private beach. If you are coming here, make sure to climb the lighthouse or just enjoy a walk around the lighthouse and buildings.
The park hours are from 6am to 9pm April through October and 6am-6pm November to March. You can visit their website at www.huntingisland.com for more information and information on campsites. This is the perfect place to get close to nature and just relax and unwind. Isn’t that what vacations are all about?
From journal Historical Low Country