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Hunting Island State Park and Beach

Hunting Island State Park is located just 16 miles east of the historic town of Beaufort and is one of the most popular and beautiful natural beaches in South Carolina. This 5,000 acre park and it's 3 miles of natural beach hosts more than a million visitors a year. It's a place where you can truly find yourself again. It's a place where humans and nature have always seem to co-exist. There is a fee to enter the Park.

From Pirates to State Park

Hunting Island got its name when the island was once used by the locals for hunting deer, waterfowl and raccoon. Hunting Island, as well as Beaufort, were a popular layover spot for sailors and pirates, including Blackbeard and his crew. Beaufort area residents gave the island to the state and in the 1930's, the island was transformed into a State Park by the Civilian Conservation. The park maintains a marsh walk, fishing pier, hiking trails, campground and nature center.


The historic Hunting Island lighthouse was originally constructed in 1859 and is the only lighthouse in the state of South Carolina that is open to the public. From the top platform, for those who are adventurous enough to climb the 167 step spiral staircase, one truly can get a birds eye view of the Atlantic Ocean, the park and surrounding marshes from about 132 feet above the ground.

Loggerhead Turtle Nesting Ground

Hunting Island is a popular nesting ground for the Loggerhead turtle. The park maintains a hatchery for the study and preservation of the species. It should be noted if a turtle is spotted it is illegal to touch or handle and no lights are allowed on the beach during turtle season. The baby turtle uses star and moon light to navigate to the water. Artificial light confuses the turtle, greatly reducing the young turtles survival, as many predators are waiting. To learn more, visit