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Visit Hunting Island’s historic and iconic lighthouse. Built-in 1859, it was used to guide vessels along the coast between Charleston and Savannah and into the Port Royal and St. Helena Sounds. As one of the only eight existing lighthouses on the South Carolina coast, it is the only one that is regularly open to the public. After the 167 step climb to the top, you will get a 360 view of the beach, Atlantic Ocean, and surrounding maritime forest.
The Hunting Island Lighthouse that stands today is a re-built of the original brick lighthouse that was destroyed by Confederate soldiers during the Civil War to prevent the Union Navy from using it for navigation. In 1873, construction of the current lighthouse began with a special segmented design in case it ever needed to be moved because of erosion - which came to fruition in 1889. Within a few years, the sea had cut away the northern end of the island which became hazardous to the lighthouse and associated buildings. It took a full year to move the lighthouse one and one quarter miles southwest of the original site.
In 1933, the lighthouse was decommissioned and replaced by an offshore buoy. Wanting to preserve the history, Beaufort County acquired the remainder of Hunting Island and then transferred the island to the state so it could become a state park that began operation in 1940. Two years later, the park closed to the public due to World War 2 and the Army Air Corps ended up using the lighthouse as a radio station.
Today, the Hunting Island Lighthouse is open to the public and visitors can climb to the top for only two dollars.