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“It's only average because the actual park brings up the score!” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Hunting Island State Park Campground

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Hunting Island State Park Campground
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2555 Sea Island Parkway, Beaufort, SC   |  
Hotel amenities
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Johnson City, Tennessee
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
“It's only average because the actual park brings up the score!”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 10, 2012

I need to start by saying that I enjoy beach camping in a tent. The more primitive, the better.

My girlfriend and I stayed for three nights on the primitive trail sites. We were shocked to see that wetlands were on two sides of us, but not surprised at the amount of mosquitoes that said wetlands produced. You were LITERALLY covered with dozens of mosquitoes the minute you left your car or tent. If you have a screened canopy/tent, bring it. If you don't, buy one or don't go! You will also need LOTS of DEET filled repellent. I guess we have been spoiled by the National Park System. Our stay on Cumberland island last year was wonderful. Hunting's campsites, in comparison, felt dirty with remnants of the previous camper's stay. You won't want to use their food storage boxes. They are filled with gigantic roaches. Keep all food in your car for storage and when you have it at the campsite, don't let it out of your sight or the raccoon's will steal EVERYTHING. If this isn't common knowledge to you, you have probably never experienced island camping in the south. I also found it odd that no matter what time I went to take a shower, the same men seemed to be congregating inside the bathhouses...pretty creepy.

If you have children, don't let them swim alone. Drownings happen here more frequently than any other tiny stretch of beach I have been on. The ruins of the former cabins litter the beach. It would be very easy to get caught up in one of them. A drowning happened while we were there on Friday.

The good parts of our stay included the volunteers and employees of the park. They were all very friendly and helpful. The scenery is beautiful and probably better suited for the off-season when the temperature is cooler and the bugs have subsided. Buy fresh seafood from the Gay Fish Company and cook it on a grill at your site. It will definitely help equalize your suffering.

Again, I love primitive camping and WANT to love this place, but it's tough!!

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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129 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (24)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Melbourne, Florida, United States
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 5, 2012

The park staff here is very friendly but doesn't seem to do much. Our campsite had trash in the fire pit when we arrived, and the bathrooms weren't taken care of very well. We stayed for two nights. Our campsite was almost completely sand--and not the good kind. Turns out it's kind of a comfortable sleeping surface, though.

We went in July and it was Hot Hot Hot! Like way hotter than camping in Florida and July. Good thing there was a gorgeous beach within walking distance! I would absolutely love to have one of those oceanfront campsites. Must be really difficult to book, though. Our family had a great time spending the day at the beach. The beach is very private--basically only for the campgrounds! This came in handy at night for some romantic swimming by the moonlight!

The campgrounds has a large store with tons of touristy stuff and some helpful stuff as well.

There are tons of flies! Some raccoons, too. The usual. Stifling hot and no breeze. And I would go back again! That's how great the beach was.

Room Tip: Sites on the ocean are awesome! Some are hit or miss, though. See if you can call to ask if the site...
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  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Young Harris, Georgia
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 26, 2012

We had a tent site right on the beach. The only thing between us and the beach was a small fence to keep everyone from walking on the dune that kept the ocean out of our tent site at high tide. We had some concerns after reading other online reviews about the bathrooms and such but we found this to be a delightful getaway. The showers were hot every day, the bathrooms were kept cleaner than any I had been to in the past and overall the park was well staffed and kept very clean. We can hardly wait to reserve for next year! Our one suggestion to any tent campers is make sure you bring a screened in tent too. The bugs come in waves and can be vicious even with bug spray. We had Mosquitoes in the early morning and evening right before the sun went down, biting flies off and on all day, a few ticks and gnats after dark but it was worth every bite to have the experience we had. We only stayed 3 nights and wished we didn't have to leave when it was time so next year we are planning a full 7 nights! I would highly recommend this place to any campers. The beach was so relaxing! Happy camping!

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Angeles, California
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed August 12, 2012

Its funny how much your enjoyment of this park depends on the location of your site, where you're from originally (expectations being what they are) and what season it is!

If you're from nowhere near South Carolina, you don't know that this state park is located in "lowland country.". What does "lowland country" mean? Marshlands. And where you find marshland, you find an incredible abundance of mosquitos! I have never seen so many mosquitos swarming. For example, my 15-year old daughter went to the bathroom and came back with 20 new bites all over her legs. And that was from only from one trip. Seriously, she looked like she had the chicken pox when we left that place.

I have never seen so much marshland in my entire life. You drive seemingly for an hour or so and everywhere around you is marshland. It goes on and on and on. No offense to you South Carolinans, but I don't happen to find marshland a particularly attractive geographical feature, and after this experience, I find it absolutely ugly to look at everywhere.

That being said, I ran out of this park screaming and never looking back. I also realized that the entire experience would have been completely different had our campsite been "beachside" rather than "marsh side."

The beachside campsites had a significant breeze which makes all the difference in the world! Mosquitos can't fly in such a breeze and you get a respite from the unrelenting sweltering muggy heat as well as from the mosquitos. The scenery is much more beautiful too, with open sites and lots of palm trees and pine needles.

Now, I'm not much of a beach person, but I've seen more inherently beautiful beaches before. However, I will say that since there are no lifeguards, which was quite wonderful, you're free to do whatever you want on the beach, including bringing your dog or riding your bicycle. This seems like so much fun! It's also nice because it is so uncrowded.

One more interesting idiosyncrasy about this place, to be put in the "quaint and cute" category if you're favorably inclined to do so: this state park has a golf cart dedicated to the "park chaplain," complete with a sign boasting crosses and an invitation to worship with them behind the playground every Sunday. Hmmm . . . Clear violation of separation of church and state. I asked about it and was told that "everybody is invited to services" (so it is okay????), that South Carolina is in the bible belt, and that it is a hold over from an earlier era and that the chaplain no longer knocks on everyone's tent personally inviting them to services, implying, I suppose, that the situation is better than it used to be. This was the highlight of my stay here, if for no other reason than because it was so funny!

Stayed August 2012, traveled with family
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Seattle, Washington
Senior Contributor
36 reviews 36 reviews
32 hotel reviews
Reviews in 35 cities Reviews in 35 cities
33 helpful votes 33 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 27, 2012

I stayed here for two nights while on a 5 week road trip with friends. We loved it! We had site 63 which was steps from the beach. Nice ocean breezes to keep the bugs away! The area around us was pretty open with a few trees, so not much privacy for tent campers. The beach was different from all the beaches down south. It had darker sand, was wider and flatter and the waves were smaller. Still beautiful, though! We got up early one morning to watch sunrise over the Atlantic and then walked to the south part of the beach. There were lots of tangled trees that were really interesting and fun to explore. We also had fun going up the lighthouse and the wandering around the cute little town of Beaufort!

Stayed May 2012, traveled with friends
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Georgia, USA
Senior Contributor
45 reviews 45 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
67 helpful votes 67 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 10, 2012

If you're looking for the sugar-white beaches of the Gulf or Florida, this isn't where you want to go. This beach has some positive aspects to it though. While the sand is dark and somewhat clay-like (comparable to the beach at Tybee Island), the gentle decline from low to high tide is nice for toddlers to play in. You can watch them or sit close to them if you don't mind getting your feet wet. Shells are few and far between, but shark teeth are in abundance. The surf here is rough, so if you go in a little farther you'll find the water very powerful. There is a beach area that is attended by a lifeguard.

At the campground, it is tight, and if it rains, you could be in a semi-swamp area. :( Guess how I found that out! The facilities are a bit dated, and the regular showers are pretty sad, but they are cleaned daily and cleaned thoroughly. I was camping here. I have a minor mobility impairment, and when I self-identified as handicapped, I was able to move to one of the reserved handicapped sites. If you are traveling and need a site that is smooth concrete, and adjacent to a private, well-designed bathroom, this is the place to go. The handicapped bathroom (access by keycard only) are large, cleaned daily, fully equipped for wheelchairs. There are transfer seats, an adjustable height shower that can be hand held and grab bars in many convenient spots. There is even a beach entry for wheelchairs where you can go down toward the beach on firm sand netting. This is the most accessible state park I've ever seen.

The store at the park has ice, a few staples and lots of gifty stuff. You do not want to do your regular shopping there. Definitely shop at the Publix or another store on Lady Island before heading into the park.

Staff here are extremely customer-oriented and will fall all over themselves to meet any request they possibly can. These are can-do and very positive folks.

The campsites on the first tier closest to the beach are subject to gusts and higher winds. The breeze can be lovely, but sometimes the gusting and higher winds can be daunting. (Note: I was here when Tropical Storm Debby came over us.) The sites that are more in land can sometimes not catch a breeze and feel pretty oppressive in summer heat. Parking a small popup in the sand was somewhat messy and challenging. My camper was dwarfed by the BIG BOYS all around me. About 10% tent camping, about 20% have popups, and the rest are 20+ feet. You might not feel really happy in a tent next to someone's all-night air conditioner.

Prices couldn't be better, as Georgia, Florida and Alabama state parks are about 30 to 40% more. I definitely feel that I got my money's worth.

About 10 miles on the left when leaving the park is Bradley's Seafood. Prices for fresh shrimp are very affordable and the shrimp are caught daily. Very, very nice people who run this. I ate fresh caught shrimp everyday from here. Little garlic, little butter and 6 minutes in a saute pan, and you're in seafood heaven.

Keep in mind that May through July lights have to be covered or dimmed/blocked from the beach due to egg laying of the loggerhead turtles. They get confused about where to go if they are coming up the beach and a light imitates the moon and the moon is not where they think it should be. No eggs, no future loggerhead turtles. It refreshing to see a community value and work to ensure the continuity of a species.

If the beach were a bit more sandy I could give this a higher rating. Service was a 5 for sure, but I really was disappointed that the lack of shelling and the aging bath houses. While clean they were definitely tired.

Make your camping reservations on-line, and far in advance. It is very competitive to get sites here.

Room Tip: Ask for #16 or 17 if you need use of the handicapped facilities.
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  • Stayed June 2012, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Huntington, West Virginia
Contributor
20 reviews 20 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 9, 2012

My wife and I have been to Hunting Island twice, and it has been one of the best camping/beach experiences I've ever had. Be advised, we stayed in a tent, not a camper. And we were definitely in the minority. It can feel a little intimidating.

But everyone is nice. Last time we were there one of our neighbors even invited us over to share some dinner. The community is absolutely great.

My only reason for not giving a perfect rating is the raccoons. The last time we were camping the raccoons were not just a pest, they were horrible. They aren't scared of humans. They wander through your campsite while you're there. They even stole a bottle of insect repellant off our picnic table. It's a funny story. But it shows just how bothersome they were. They really did detract from an otherwise great stay.

Room Tip: Book early. The sites go VERY quick!
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  • Stayed May 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Hunting Island State Park Campground

Address: 2555 Sea Island Parkway, Beaufort, SC
Location: United States > South Carolina > Coastal South Carolina > Beaufort
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Specialty Lodging in Beaufort
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 178
Also Known As:
Hunting Island State Park Campground Hotel Beaufort
Hunting Island State Park Hotel

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