Hunting Island reopens this Friday with new hours and rules

Hunting Island Beach - Photo by PickleJuice

Hunting Island State Park and Beach will be reopening this Friday, May 1, 2020, along with many new rules, hours & restrictions.

If you’re planning to head to the beach or campground this weekend, there are a few things you will need to know before you go. Following public health protocols, South Carolina State Parks plan to reopen all parks including Hunting Island, on a limited basis. Below is a list to help guide you in the right direction to enjoy a beautiful weekend of sand, sun, and fun. State Parks’ social distancing practices will include both physical and operational measures to limit contact between staff and visitors. The entrance to the park could be closed at any time, without notice, when admission numbers swell to high to be able to maintain proper social distancing protocols.

Hunting Island Beach - Photo by PickleJuice
Hunting Island Beach – Photo by PickleJuice

 

Hunting Island New Hours:

Hunting Island State Park will be open daily from 10 am – 7 pm

Park Officials will be monitoring social distancing guidelines.
Please follow the rules! No groups larger than 3 people (unless members of a single household) on or off the beach

Not Open to the public:

Group facilities like picnic shelters and community buildings will remain closed for the time being, and visitor gathering places like interpretive centers and park offices also will remain closed initially or will operate on a limited scale. 

  • The Lighthouse Closed for Tours
    Until further notice, state parks will not conduct park programs or tours of historic homes or other historic structures such as the Hunting Island Lighthouse. Meanwhile, Facebook Live interpretive programming that became popular in March and April will continue on a limited schedule and can be followed on our Facebook page.
  • The Visitors Center – Closed, Scheduled to reopen on Monday, May 11
    State park Visitor Centers are scheduled to reopen on Monday, May 11, and feature proper signage, physical indicators and barriers in place to ensure the safety of staff and visitors.
  • Nature Center – Closed
    The Nature Center will not be open. The parking lot will NOT be open for parking The Marsh Boardwalk will be open to park and admission can be paid by using the Green “Iron Ranger” box there
  • Park Office – Closed
  • The Gift Shop/convenience store near the Lighthouse – Closed, Scheduled to reopen on Monday, May 15
    All state park retail stores and spaces should open by Friday, May 15. SCPRT will use SCDHEC and CDC guidance to determine the maximum occupancy in these common area facilities in order to maintain social distancing rules and limit contact between staff and visitors.

Open for public use:

  • Bathhouses at both North & South Beach Parking Areas – OPEN 

 

Hunting Island Beach - Photo by PickleJuice
Hunting Island Beach – Photo by PickleJuice

Beach Access Points:

The ONLY way to cross the dunes at North Beach is by using the following (4) access points at North Beach where the walkway is roped off over the dunes including:

  • First parking lot, behind the bathhouse
  • 2 entries at the end of the sidewalk by the lighthouse
  • The access point in front of Parking Lot D

The ONLY way to cross the dunes at South Beach is by using the following (5) access points at the South Beach parking areas including:

  • One at F parking
  • One in front of the bathhouse
  • The other 3 are spread across the rest of the parking lots and are marked

 

 

 

PLEASE REMEMBER TO KEEP OFF THE DUNES!

The dunes are currently roped off and are vital to nesting sea turtles as well as the future survival of the island and its susceptibility to beach erosion.

Groups & Event Facilities

Existing reservations for group rental facilities will be canceled through June 1.
These facilities include all shelters and community buildings, wedding venues, group camps, and any other facility rented for the purpose of a large gathering. All groups will be given the opportunity to re-book at no additional cost. No fees will be assessed for any cancellation or rescheduling for events occurring prior to July 1. Determinations regarding future cancellations will be made in accordance with the status of health and safety guidelines.

 

Hunting Island Beach - Photo by PickleJuice
Hunting Island Beach – Photo by PickleJuice

Hunting Island Campground

  • Camp Hosts will be on duty to check campers in
  • Only vehicles with current camping hangtags and arriving campers with reservations will be allowed in the campground area
  • Campsites will not be available on a “walk-in” basis
  • The campground store will not be open. All state park retail stores and spaces should open by Friday, May 15. SCPRT will use SCDHEC and CDC guidance to determine the maximum occupancy in these common area facilities in order to maintain social distancing rules and limit contact between staff and visitors.
  • The bathhouses will be open
  • The playground will not be available for use. Due to the difficulty of effectively cleaning equipment, all playgrounds will be closed until June 1. All playground areas will be cordoned off and signed appropriately.
There are 4 beach access points in the campground including:
  • One by the path that runs behind sites 89-95
  • One to the right of the store parking lot, where you will see the end of the new dune line
  • One behind the campground store
  • One directly behind the bathhouse in the rustic tent site area

Pets

Pets are not allowed in the cabin or the cabin area, on the pier or inside the lighthouse complex. Dogs are not permitted on the tip of North Beach past the posted markers to protect critical shorebird habitat. Pets are allowed in most other outdoor areas provided they are kept under physical restraint or on a leash not longer than six feet. Owners will be asked to remove noisy or dangerous pets or pets that threaten or harass wildlife.

Park Passport Holders:

If you are currently a park passport holder, we will do one of two things to give you back the month you will be missing.

  • When you purchase a new passport, we will add the extra month on to that passport at no charge.
  • When your current passport expires, you may turn it in and we’ll give you another passport for the month missed at no charge.

Again, please folks remember to KEEP YOUR DISTANCE from one another and KEEP OFF THE DUNES  so we can all enjoy our time back at the beach! 


Source: South Carolina State Parks & Hunting Island Park Ranger, Carl Berube

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