Although Beaufort, South Carolina is technically on the water, to get to an Atlantic Coast beach one must still navigate to the ocean and for such beach-goers the best place to put your toes in the sand is Hunting Island State Park. Just sixteen miles from historic downtown, the 5,000 acre State Park provides a surreal setting for nature lovers with “amenities” such as showers, a campground and rental cabins, a marsh boardwalk, rustic nature trails, a lagoon and a historic lighthouse visitors can climb for panoramic views of the coast.
A Tale of Two Beaches
Well, it wasn’t … “the best of beaches, the worst of beaches,” but the beach itself seemed to be two very different experiences, and both quite treasurable too. Maybe it was “a beach for regulars and a beach for first time visitors” or maybe it’s just two great beaches.
I discovered the first beach access point after walking through the tree covered parking area and hiking a short boardwalk nature trail along the internal South Carolina woodlands to find the beach. With the tall tree line as the backdrop and soft sand to the sea, the family friendly place can be a perfect way to refresh in South Carolina heat. And although populated with people, it still seemed as if nature kept this place a secret from man.
Then a short walk along the water’s edge, passing sand dunes and marked Loggerhead Turtle nesting sites you walk around to a mysterious place. Here the trees are toppled over in the ocean. Natural beach erosion creates a maze of tree limbs and roots with some containing oyster shells for when the tide rises. Visitors can climb on the trees as the waves crash against the salt water aging wood. As kids run and play, the adults watch and also ponder the magic and mystery the place holds.
So which ever beach you visit, prepare for a unique day inside Hunting State Park, South Carolina.
To and from downtown Beaufort, South Carolina it’s essentially one main road that takes you to the South Carolina State Park. Along the road a small place serving food called the Shrimp Shack, provides a chance to taste true southern style shrimp. Stop there and order the Shrimp Burger (get the large, worth the small up-charge). Trust me if you like shrimp, you will be happy you made a pit stop here on the way back to town before freshening up for cocktails, dinner and the sunset on the Beaufort, SC waterfront.
stay adventurous, Craig