Huntington Beach State Park nominated again in USA Today’s Best State Park contest
Once again, Huntington Beach State Park — one of the premier outdoor destinations along South Carolina’s Hammock Coast – is in the running for a USA Today/10Best nationwide contest to be named America’s Best State Park for RVers.
The park, located in the Murrells Inlet area of the Hammock Coast, is one of 20 semi-finalists listed on 10Best.com, for which people can vote once daily until Monday, July 19. The Top 10 parks will be announced on Friday, July 30.
Huntington Beach was also nominated in 2020, finishing second on the competition.
“Once again, we are thrilled that our beautiful Huntington Beach State Park has received this national recognition and coverage,” said Mark A. Stevens, director of tourism development for the Georgetown County Chamber of Commerce. “It doesn’t come as a surprise to us, of course, as it’s such an amazing park, beloved by generations of locals and visitors alike.”
According to USA Today, the United States is home to more than 10,000 state park units, attracting some 739 million annual visitors. More and more of these parks are catering to RV travelers, with campgrounds, hookups, and other amenities. In 2020, the Vanlife website listed Huntington Beach State Park as “one of ‘Nine epic places in the U.S. to visit on your first #vanlife trip‘.”
In addition to its three miles of pristine beach with the state’s best surf fishing, Huntington Beach State Park also offers excellent birdwatching, with more than 300 species spotted in the park, and historical attractions like Atalaya, the Moorish-style winter home of Archer and Anna Hyatt Huntington and a National Historic Landmark. The park also has three picnic shelters.
The park has 173 campsites for RVs: 107 standard sites with water and electric, 66 full-hookup sites with water, sewer and electric. They also offer six rustic sites for tent camping only. Magers said visitors who come to Huntington Beach State Park are interested in the variety of animals that call the park home, including alligators and many species of birds. Southern Living declares Huntington Beach State Park to be the best birding site on the East Coast.
“A lot of that comes from having diverse habitats at the park including the ocean, sand dunes, a maritime forest, the salt marsh and brackish water ponds,” HBSP Park Manager Brenda Magers said. “Camping here is wonderful because you can explore all of these areas and stay overnight.”
She added that although the 2,500-acre park has remote habitats, it has become a highly visited park, and that affects how animals interact with people.
“The animals here are accustomed to seeing humans and they are not afraid,” Magers said. “That leads to great wildlife viewing opportunities and lots of photos in their natural habitat.”
She urges people who have enjoyed visiting or camping at Huntington Beach State Park to vote for the park. Access voting by clicking here.
“Huntington Beach State Park is a great place and we love to share it with people,” Magers said. “The more we can get people to be familiar with the park, the more we can focus on conservation education and preservation of the natural environment.”
To make a camping reservation or view current rates, call toll-free 1-866-345-PARK or visit the reservations page by clicking on Make a Reservation at the top of the park’s website at https://southcarolinaparks.com/huntington-beach. Rates vary by season and demand and are subject to change. Reservations requested less than one day in advance of check-in must be made directly through the park. It is open from 6 a.m. – 6 p.m. daily (extended to 10 p.m. during Daylight Saving Time).
A National Historic Landmark, Atalaya Castle stands as monument to the creativity and generosity of Archer and Anna Hyatt Huntington. Noted scholar of Spanish culture and art, Archer Huntington modeled the couple’s winter home in the style of the Moorish architecture of the Spanish Mediterranean coast. Admission is $2 per person ages 6 and up. Children 5 and under are admitted free. Atalaya is handicapped accessible for the physically impaired.
The Nature Center, which was destroyed by fire in 2016, has been rebuilt and reopened with a grand-opening celebration in 2020. The center introduces park programs and wildlife, featuring exhibits that educate the public about these facets of the park.
Once again, you can vote once per day on any internet-ready device (computer, smart phone, etc.) by clicking here.
By Clayton Stairs / tourism manager for the Georgetown County Chamber of Commerce