Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Huntington Beach State Park, SC. Part II

Click here for the first post in this series.

Off to Huntington Beach State Park yesterday at around noon. It rained in the Midlands much of the morning. Fortunately, that tapered off before I had to pull the Mobile Studio out of the garage to hook up for the trip.

Map This time nearly all of the way I did manage to avoid those homogeneous super highways that crisscross the State. Routes like 378, 52, and 512 were far more interesting. They too are well maintained and well marked. Here and there expanded to four lanes of traffic. But they pass through gorgeous natural scenery. And those small towns that exemplify, at least for me, South Carolina’s remarkable social scenery.

I’ve never driven much of this route. So it was an adventure. The rain had pretty much stopped, and I could look around, trusting to the GPS to maintain the route. I passed through several counties along the way. Richland, Sumter, Williamsburg, Colleton, and Georgetown. Watch for the County boundary signs the next time you drive in this area.

Also, plenty of small towns. Urging me to stop and look around. Main streets, both bedraggled and renovated; residential areas, both run-down and fancy. Here and there on the road those long stretches of whitewashed fence, surrounding lush pastures and horses that look born to run. Quite a sight.

Lots of historical markers along the way too. But no time to stop for a look this trip. Maybe next time. When I’m not pulling the Mobile Studio behind the car.

Entrance at Rt 17 Then, north from Georgetown on Route 17 a ways, and there it was. The turn-in for Huntington Beach State Park. No whitewashed fences. Didn’t need ‘em! The trees and shrubbery said it all. It looked like a fancy place.

Fee Collection And it was! Even the fee collection station was in a beautiful jewel-box-like stone building. Surrounded by dramatic old oaks.

Front Sign and Tree Like this one. Be sure to click the photo above and have a look at this tree just past the fee station on the right side of the road. Now, this tree isn’t unusual. Someone over the years has taken good care of the stately old trees throughout this Park. Mother Nature on her own doesn’t do this good a job.

Causeway After a wave-through at the fee collection station, I drove across the causeway toward the Ranger Station to check in to the campground. More on this causeway later on. It alone is worth the whole trip. Aquatic birds on each side the whole distance.

Ranger Station Check-In Even the Ranger Station here is impressive. Built up above ground level, to avoid damage from the occasional drenching when storms drive waves up over the dunes. Check-in procedures went smoothly. Friendly, helpful personnel. You can tell a lot about the atmosphere of a Park by the way check-ins are handled.

When you visit Huntington Beach, be sure to take the time to look around the campground store. This one is Huge! I’ve yet to see one to match it, either in size or in the diversity of goods for sale. And it’s not even their busy season now.

Aliner on Site Over to site # 11, and a quick set-up. The site was described as hard-packed sand. But it really is hard-packed. So it was easy to maneuver the Mobile Studio around 180 degrees to face the surrounding dune shrubbery.

The campsites here, especially in this area, are private, with plenty of distance between them. And in this case a thick wall of shrubbery and trees between this site and its neighbor, # 13.

After setting up I drove, as usual, around the whole campground road, locating bath houses, refuse dumps, and the like. I didn’t see a single bad campsite in the whole area.

Closed Bath House The bath house just across the way from this site turned out to be closed! Undergoing a top-to-bottom renovation. Inconvenient for this trip. But a very good sign for the Park. Many of our State Parks have bath houses that could use the same treatment. No worry, though, the bath house at the next loop was open and very nicely furnished.

That’s all for now. Be sure to stay tuned. Lots more to come on Huntington Beach State Park.

Click here for the next post in this series.

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