We made Huntington Beach State Park in South Carolina the destination to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary. We were concerned about the condition the park would be in, but Hurricane Irma had not marred it at all. In fact, the only thing that we saw that might have been attributed to the storm was a beached cypress tree that had come in with a tide. We thought maybe it could have come from Savannah or even farther south where the storm was severe.
This state park has the feel of an RV resort. It is site specific so you reserve an actual site ahead of time. There is a lovely road in that winds you through live oaks and bald cypresses. There is a flag that tells you the safety conditions at the beach. You drive over a causeway between Oaks Creek and Mullet Pond. There are alligators in the pond! Many sites are out in the open. Those sites reminded us of the bulk of the sites in the nearby RV resorts that we drove through like Ocean Lakes Family Campground, Lakewood Camping Resort (our favorite one), and Pirateland Family Camping Resort. We stayed in the back area of Huntington Beach State Park, though. It is more private and wooded there. However, the mosquitos were bad. (In their defense, as we were departing we saw a company arriving that controls mosquitos, so it may be fine now.) Our site was #123. It was marshy back there and the view wasn’t pretty. The power hookups were very high up, probably for safety during flooding situations. The road is one way and narrow so if anyone is walking or riding bikes they must get off the road for cars to pass. By the way, bikes really are a plus if you have them. You can see so many places by bike on the park roads and by path outside of the park. I wish we had brought ours. We thought they might rent them, but they did not.
The beach was not too far away but, it was not as close a walk as we noticed the Myrtle Beach State Park RV area was to their beach. The employees at Huntington State Park were helpful, the facilities were clean, and the elevated store was stocked with a lot of nice souvenirs, some of which were made by local artists. They had times posted when you could go hear talks about the local wildlife or go on guided nature walks. The animal life is extensive. We saw spoonbill cranes (and many other types of birds), turtles, sand crabs, a horseshoe crab, alligators, fish, and tiny frogs. We were told that sea turtles lay their eggs in the area, too.
Right by the beach is a ruined castle called Atalaya Castle. Archer and Anna Huntington had it built in the 1930’s to be used as a winter home after Anna Huntington came down with tuberculosis. They wanted to help the depressed economy, so local workers were hired in the home’s construction. The Huntingtons used pieces of apparatus called rice trunks to create rice fields so the brackish water could be changed into fresh water. The tides were perfect for growing rice. The fee to tour the castle is very low and reasonable. They even offer a guided tour to see an area full of alligators. Bring bug spray for the mosquitos.
The Huntingtons created a phenomenal place about a mile or so away from Atalaya called Brookgreen Gardens. DO NOT MISS a visit to these gardens! They are extensive and include priceless sculptures, fountains, a zoo with local animals, and a butterfly garden. The Pavilion Restaurant offered good food with beautiful views. A ticket is good for seven consecutive days.
I’ll wrap this post up with some restaurant reviews. There are so many restaurants around and so little time when you are just passing through. We really loved the local seafood. My husband loved the haddock and I had the most delicious scallops ever at Captain John’s Seafood Grill. (A huge shout out to my church friend Emily M. for the tip!) We also ate at Captain Jimmy’s Inlet Crab House. The shrimp and grits was amazing. If ever back in the area, I would definitely go back to both restaurants.
Huntington Beach State Park
16148 Ocean Hwy.
Murrells Inlet, South Carolina 29576
Phone: (843) 237-4440
Visit Campground Website
Recent Rate: $46