This lighthouse, South Carolina’s only publicly accessible historic lighthouse, is located in Hunting Island State Park. Dating from the 1870s, the Hunting Island Lighthouse shoots 170 feet into the air, giving those who scale its heights a breathtaking view of the sweeping low country marshland and the Atlantic Ocean. Hunting Island State Park was developed by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), a New Deal Program created by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The program was designed to provide employment during the Great Depression while addressing national needs in conservation and recreation. The park is listed on the National Register.
Hunting Island is South Carolina’s most popular state park. It attracts more than a million human visitors a year. Also attracted to the semi-tropical barrier island is an array of wildlife, ranging from loggerhead sea turtles to painted buntings, barracudas to sea horses, alligators, pelicans, dolphins and deer, raccoons, Eastern diamondback rattlesnakes and even the rare coral snake. In addition to some 3,000 acres of salt marsh and more than four miles of beach, a large lagoon, created by sand dredging in 1968, has become a natural wonderland and home to such unexpected species as seahorses and barracuda.
The park’s upland areas contain one of the state’s best examples of semi-tropical maritime forest, ancient sand dunes now dominated by such vegetation as slash pines, cabbage palmetto (the state tree) and live oak.
Animal visitors include loggerhead turtles, which nest on the island in the summer months. On dry land, as well as in and around freshwater ponds, can be found deer, alligators, raccoons and even eastern diamondback rattlesnakes.
Hundreds of species of birds also are resident on or visit Hunting Island, including painted buntings, tanagers and orioles, along with pelicans, oystercatchers, skimmers and terns, herons, egrets and wood storks.
This page updated or reviewed in March 2011