Huntington Beach State Park

Georgetown - Huntington Beach SP - 22 saltwater marsh

Huntington Beach State Park is an oasis off US17, especially after sitting in stop-and-go traffic. If you travel this stretch between Georgetown and Myrtle Beach, go early. But the trip is worth it at any time of the day.

I camped here. Having not made reservations, I didn’t know if I’d get a spot. I did and got sticker shock when I heard the price. Best make reservations and do so early. Because of the price I decided to spend most of my stay doing the sights here. I did go out to get food. There are several grocery stores nearby including Food Lion, which I like. Unfortunately I ate too much for lunch and had to take it easy a bit, but it was the heat of the day so: no problem. I read my book, then wandered over to the three-story park store. The store is on the second level and there’s a deck on top to gaze around. The bottom is open and a great place to sit and keep out of the heat.

Huntington Beach SP once used to be the winter home of Archer and Anna Hyatt Huntington. If the latter name is familiar, she is the artist behind the sculptures in Brookgreen Gardens. If you are in the area for a few days, that is a must see and is right across from the state park that bears their name.

Georgetown - Huntington Beach SP - 04 Atalaya window

The park used to be part of the Huntington estate and boasts Atalaya (castle in the sand), the Moorish style winter home of the couple. It was built during the Great Depression and only local workers were hired to build it. There’s a fee to visit it. During World War II, the Army Air Corps used the building. The park, with beach, freshwater and saltwater marshes, and a maritime forest opened in the 1960’s.

When I’d recuperated from overeating, I set out on a walking tour, to get the lay of the land so to speak. My feet took me along the main road toward the causeway between Mullet Pond and the saltwater marsh. I detoured to take in the pond, then set out across the causeway stopping to take pictures.

I had to stop to see why two young ladies were getting so excited. I saw the alligator, but there was more to this story. What I couldn’t see was the egret the alligator was stalking. The gator glided forward. A flutter of white rose up and the egret settled on land. The gator slowed.

Camping in the park, allowed to me to take in the sunset over the marsh and a sunrise over the Atlantic. Even with all the clouds it was pretty. There’s the Sandpiper Pond Nature trail, 1.2 miles, and the 3 mile long beach to wander. You can loop the two, the beach and nature trail together into a long hike if you wish. The Nature Center by the boardwalk to the saltwater marsh sadly burned down in July 2016. I got to see and hope they build it again. It showcased the SC coastal environment.

Georgetown - Huntington Beach SP - 67 sunrise

How To Get There:

Between Georgetown and Murrells Inlet off US17.

Links:

http://southcarolinaparks.com/huntingtonbeach/introduction.aspx

What’s Close By:

Myrtle Beach S.P.

Brookgreens Garden (right across from park)

Georgetown

Hobcaw Barony

Murrell’s Inlet

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