Whether you're looking for a nice week-long camping excursion or a simple day hike in the beautiful outdoors, Hunting Island is the ideal spot. From the towering lighthouse to the beach, to the lovely lagoon trail, this accessible island lacks nothing in the way of options.
For my day in the park, I started out at the Visitors Center, where I was able to spend a few minutes educating myself on the different areas and trails before setting out. I grabbed a map and chose to head towards the Lagoon Access Recreation Trail. My trusty sidekick, Oliver, and I meandered through a winding trail full of lush greenery and little glimpses of the lagoon. It was a beautiful, sunny February day, not too hot and with no mosquitoes, a plus for winter excursions. There were resurrection ferns growing from the massive live oaks, a cool breeze, and birds providing background music all along the way. Palmetto trees, towering pines, ancient live oaks, and interspersed marshlands made up this beautiful landscape.
Our next stop was the beach where we met an intriguing elderly gentleman by the name of McDonald. He was metal detecting and claims to have found several items of interest including rare coins and even diamond rings! Looks like I need another hobby! After Oliver got his fix of splashing in the waves we decided to head towards the Lighthouse. It is the only one in South Carolina that allows access to the inside and the view from the top is amazing. It is 132 feet tall and you can see for miles. There are also plaques at each landing describing the history of the lighthouse and the mechanics behind it which are fascinating. I’m speaking from previous experience however because Oliver wasn’t too keen on climbing to the top. There is also a Lighthouse shop with snacks, souvenirs, and gifts.
Although not entirely pet-friendly, the Nature Center is a must-see. They have all kinds of artifacts including fossils, live animals, and mounts of various wildlife. It is fascinating for both young and old. Adjacent to the Nature Center is the fishing pier which extends 1,120 feet into the Fripp Inlet. You can fish here, in Johnson Creek, the lagoon, or the beach. Tackle and bait are available for sale at the park store in the campground. and they will even loan you a rod for use on the pier at the Nature Center.
Finally, we concluded our excursion by checking out the marsh boardwalk. The sun was just beginning to set and the light was stunning. The Spanish moss lit up and swayed with the wind creating quite a show. It was a perfect ending to a perfect day. I left the park already dreaming of my return trip. Next time I might even bring my tent and make a weekend of it. At the Visitors Center, I also picked up a calendar of events. Some of the activities look pretty interesting, especially the “Fish Printing” they offer every Thursday and a “Walk in the Woods” every Wednesday at 3:00 p.m. in case you want some company on your adventure. There is public boat access and you can also enjoy horseback rides, bike rides, and picnics in one of the many covered picnic shelters.
All in all, I highly recommend Hunting Island to anyone who loves the outdoors and wants a great place to soak it all in. Get out there and play!