I didn't of course. Climb the lighthouse I mean. For a view of the Atlantic Ocean and the surrounding marshes one pays 50 cents and climbs 167 steps to end up 132 feet above the ground. I managed to climb the one at Key West, but I wanted to see Fort Taylor (which I didn't do), but I don't need to see the Atlantic.
The Hunting Island Lighthouse was originally constructed in 1859 and rebuilt in 1875 after it was destroyed during the Civil War. The lighthouse was constructed using cast iron plates and was designed to be dismantled in case it ever needed to be relocated. As fate would have it, due to erosion of the beach in 1889, the lighthouse was moved inland 1 1/4 miles from its original site to where it presently stands. It remained in service until it was decommissioned in 1933.
This is the only lighthouse in the state of South Carolina open to the public.
To get to Hunting Island you will drive on Highway 21, which goes through historic Beaufort. This is a good place to stop and get something to eat before heading to the island. The old section of the town is picturesque and walkable. If you take an hour or so to explore, you will see a lot of old houses (some in the shotgun style), and a cemetery with graves going back to the 1600's. The historic downtown also has plenty of places to eat.
After we paid our admission fee, we went to the visitor's center. We walked across a short boardwalk (where we could see this turtle and also an alligater farther along the bank - since we'd spend the winter in Florida, the gator wasn't that impressive, but YMMV) to get to the center. We saw a video tape about the island's history, and talked to the people manning the desk. There's is a very nice exhibit of the historic light house. I made a travelogue of the things we saw at in the visitor's center.
Travel advisory: According to the Hunting Island State Park website, "Hwy 21 is being widened at this time, so some delays may be encountered near Hunting Island Park, though the delays will be minimal. Also, when traveling on Hwy 170 and Hwy 21, please be very careful as these roads are well known for being dangerous roads. Just keep to the speed limit and drive defensively. "
Hunting Island was originally accessible only by boat. Now there is this drawbridge. Although fishing is very popular here, you can't fish from the bridge.
I think the brick outline represents the place where the keeper's house was - it burned down. The other buildings are original to the lighthouse.
We saw this alligator and a turtle from the boardwalk leading to the visitor's center. There is another boardwalk on the west side of the park on Highway 21. This looks similar to the ones we saw in the Everglades at the Anhinga Trail. It was still too cold when we were here to see much in the way of wildlife.
The war scenes for the movie Forrest Gump were shot near this marshwalk. (The park is near Parris Island Marine Corps Base.) During the summer months, a naturalist gives guided tours from this marshwalk and shares interesting facts about the marsh, vegetation, wildlife and it's importance to mankind.
This is a state park and the fee was $4 each. The park hours are 6 am to 9 pm from April through October and 6 am to 6 pm from November through March. This 5,000 acre park and its 3 miles of natural beach hosts more than a million visitors a year.
Sand dollars and sea shell collecting on Hunting Island beach is very popular. Do not take sand dollars from the water because they are still alive. Check the beach for the ones that have washed up, as they are already dead. Hunting Island is also a popular nesting ground for the Loggerhead turtle and the park has a hatchery.
Fondest memory: I didn't avail myself of any of the facilities of the park except that I went to the Visitor's Center and went to see the lighthouse.