Hitting the Trail is a weekly feature here at Mud Puddles to Meteors. In each post we will share trails, parks, beaches, and museums from around the country (and sometimes even beyond). If you would like to join in and share a special nature location please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with the details listed at the bottom of the post and links to the photos. We would love to share your nature adventure!
Today Amanda is sharing a trip she took with her family to Hunting Island State Park. It looks like a beautiful and diverse spot that should be high on any nature lover’s list of places to go when visiting the gorgeous state of South Carolina.
Hunting Island State Park (South Carolina)
Hunting Island State Park encompasses over 5,000 acres of a barrier island along the coast of South Carolina, not far from the town of Beaufort. There is a large wooded campground located right along the beach, and that is where we decided to head for our annual fall beach trip this year. It is a beautiful and well-protected area, a bit more ‘wild’ than many beaches, and quite lovely, I think, because of that. There is a nice, easy pace to things on the island, and it is well worth exploring if you find yourself along the SC coast.
Some Things to Know:
Location: Hunting Island State Park, South Carolina.
Habitat: barrier island/coastal plain/saltwater marsh
Favorite Plants and Animals: Our personal favorites were the nesting ospreys, brown pelicans, dolphins (seen from afar), deer, horseshoe crabs, and live sand dollars. There were also many (very friendly) raccoon visitors around the campsite at night, so be sure to secure your coolers and food very well if you visit the park. Alligators and bald eagles call the island home as well, but we did not catch a glimpse of either. As for the flora, the saw palmetto, palms, loblolly and longleaf pines, and spanish moss were all a fun change of pace from our local plants at home.
*Endangered loggerhead sea turtles use this barrier island as a nesting place and the state maintains the beaches here as a hatchery. The season officially ended the last day of October, with a reported number of nests this year of 39.
Special Features: State Park campground, interpretive programs, fishing piers, lighthouse and nature trails. The historic lighthouse is the only one in the state open to the public for climbing. Additionally, there is a fantastic nature center with many wonderful exhibits ranging from pelts and skeletons and taxidermied native wildlife to hands-on ecology exhibits and even a preserved shark(!)
Best Time of Year to Visit: We prefer to visit the beach in the fall, when insect populations are lower but the water is still warm enough to play in, though there are surely advantages to visiting in every season.
Thanks so much for sharing your beautiful trip, Amanda!
More about Amanda:
Amanda Riley lives in a small town in Western North Carolina with her husband, their young daughter, a cat, a small flock of chickens, and many thousands of honeybees. They have spent the last few years making their house a home and cramming as much homestead-like goodness as possible onto their relatively small lot. Depending on the season, you’re likely to find her in the garden, out exploring local trails, watching the bees, pressing cider on a homemade press, or tapping Sugar Maples around the neighborhood and boiling down the sap in the backyard. Amanda likes thunderstorms and strong coffee, salty ocean air and the lonesome sound of train whistles at night, the smell of horses and the color grey. You can find more of her photography and ramblings at Sweet Potato Claire.
Please let us know if you have a trail, nature center, or natural history museum you would like to share here on Mud Puddles. You can contact us at kidsandnature (at) gmail (dot) com.