Hunting Island State Park

Took another trip down to this state park (Official Site), about a 2 hour drive from Charleston, to see what it was like in the summer months.

The marsh grass, Spartina, was much greener than before, but we didn’t see any alligators about like we thought we would around the park.


While the Spartina grass is native here, it has been introduced in California and is unfortunately doing too well for the natives’ own good.

On the opposite side of the island from the marsh you will find the beach. It stretches for four miles, with the northern half being covered in snags claimed by the sea and erosion.

We did see a few more wild creatures than the time before. The fiddler crabs were more colorful, almost resembling bird droppings, and as territorial as ever. The little fellow in the photo below spent a lot of energy trying to get the attention of the larger crab in order to spar.


Here are a couple other animals spotted around the park, including a Red-bellied woodpecker, a barrier island subspecies of raccoon [though I don’t think the white mask indicates that], an over-heated grackle, and a cute chickadee.

I’m sure if you spent some time, and not just a couple hours, on Hunting Island, you’d see quite the list of creatures! While the island is busy, there are many little quiet spots tucked away for both wildlife and crowd-shy visitors.

As for the lighthouse, they currently charge $2 to climb the 150+ stairs [you have to be over a certain height–not small kid-friendly]. The view was beautiful, though the day cloudy and a little drizzly, so not any great photos from the top. The staircase is nicely detailed and there are signs to read as you climb.  This is the only lighthouse open to the public in South Carolina.

Lighthouse grounds

View from a Lighthouse Window

We went to the Pier to watch the fishermen, but there was more crabbing going on, and anyone with a line in the water was losing their bait to the crabs. Attached to the Pier is the Nature Center–definitely worth the visit!