Thursday, October 22, 2009

Hunting Island State Park, SC. Part IV

There’s much more to Hunting Island State Park than the RV and tent campgrounds at its northernmost end. Most folks who visit this Park spend time at its other facilities.

This is the fourth in a series of posts on this Park. If you missed earlier ones, click here for Part I, here for Part II, and here for Part III.

(click photos for larger images)

Trails Sign A Visitor’s Center, cabins, a famous light house, winding hiking trails, and acres of beautifully tended sandy beach. The trails I’ve walked here, by the way, have been very well maintained.

Light House Sign So, late this morning, off I went to look around and take a few photos. Turn left out of the campground road and drive nine-tenths of a mile to arrive at the sign you see above. It’s on the left side of Route 21, as you drive toward Fripp Island. This really is the Park’s main entrance.

Once past the sign you enter a winding paved road that provides on both sides an excellent introduction to the plant life of Hunting Island. Trees, vines, flowers. All in incredible array. Pulling one of those huge travels trailers through here would be a challenge. At least for me! Alligator Sign Once past the gate at which fees are collected, and some more winding roadway with beautiful scenery on both sides, you will arrive at the parking lot for the Visitor’s Center. And the sign cautioning against feeding the alligators attached to the fence on the opposite side of the road.

Pond and Turtles Hmmm. Could there actually be alligators in this pond on the other side of the fence? If so, it’s a pretty flimsy-looking fence! At least there are turtles in that duck weed-covered pond. Some fairly large …

Visitor Center Front Hunting Island has the most impressive Visitor’s Center building I’ve seen at a South Carolina State Park. Now, I’ve yet to visit every Park. But this is the the most impressive so far. From the long, winding walkway, elevated above the aforementioned pool. To the wrap-around porch where visitors can sit comfortably and view the surrounding plant and animal life.

Duckweed SignBirds Sign With informative signs throughout. Alligator Information And even another alligator sign. Including warnings against feeding them.

South Carolina’s natural resources folks recently have been using an excellent saying, “A fed alligator is a dead alligator,” in their campaign to discourage visitors from feeding them. For reasons explained in the sign above. It makes the point!

Hmmm. I wonder if they’re really serious about this alligator thing around here ….

Inside Visitor Center 1 Inside, there are comfortable offices for attendants and Park officials. And sophisticated audio-visual equipment. Displays along the walls describing the history of the Park and the light house. Take you time in here and you’ll learn a lot about the area.

An Alligator Then back out to the car. One last look across the duckweed pond, with its fountain in the center. Click the photo above and look carefully.

Yup! There she is! Enjoying the sun out on the bank. So, the signs warning of alligators weren’t jokes or promotional stunts after all! Use reasonable caution throughout the Park, and all will be fine. What a nice sight.

Sign and road Drive out from the Visitor’s Center, following the signs, to reach the Light House area.

Lighthouse Complex This really is the central feature of this Park. The investment of resources here shows to good advantage. Last weekend the Park celebrated the 150th anniversary of this light house. So everything is spic and span. A new coat of paint on the light house itself. The surrounding buildings tidied up and painted.

Light House It’s quite a sight. And imagine! It’s been moved from its original site to a ways inland. Due to beach erosion! What a job that would be. More energetic folks pay a small fee and climb to the top. They report a spectacular view from up there. I’ll take their word for it.

Light House Beach Last time I was here the beach area had taken quite a beating in a recent storm. That’s all been cleaned up now. What a place for a stroll on the beach.

Gift Shop Even the gift shop and snack bar complex appear to have been spiffed up for the 150th anniversary crowd. They’re rumored to sell ice cream …

So there you have it. Well, part of it, anyway. Time to move on. But I’ll be back soon. And hope you too can visit to see for yourself. But, don’t feed the alligators …


  1. Good report Bob. Those alligators are all over the southern Texas areas too. Amazingly far inland in some cases. Some are all the way up to San Antonio. Fifty feet minimum distance from gators is my experience for a safe distance. I have seen them attack and they are impossibly quick.

  2. Thanks Barney. That's a good rule of thumb. To avoid losing a thumb! At least. I'll tell folks, and give you credit.


  3. Hi, thanks for some great experiences in Edisto Beach and other South Carolina parks. I'm experiencing them now and thoroughly enjoying them. If okay, I'll link to you from -- thanks again.