The Hunting Island Lighthouse is South Carolina’s only publicly accessible historic lighthouse. At 132 feet high it rewards those brave enough to climb its 167 steps breathtaking views of the Hunting Island State Park, the sweeping Lowcountry marshland and the Atlantic Ocean.
If you love lighthouse sightseeing then go visit the rest of the Sea Islands (Skeleton Tower, Harbour Town, Tybee Island and Cockspur Island) fascinating lighthouses, symbols of endurance and hope that have inspired legendary stories, romantic tales and even ghost hauntings!
Interesting Facts about Hunting Island Lighthouse
1. The first lighthouse was constructed of brick and was completed in 1859 but demolished few years later by the Confederate troupes. Current lighthouse, completed in 1875, is entirely made of wrought and cast iron plates so it can be “easily” disassembled and moved;
2. Speaking of moving the original location was one mile to the north. Severe beach erosion and the fact that high tides were coming just 35 feet from the lightkeeper’s house forced the lighthouse relocation in 1889.
3. The lighthouse endured the test of Mother Nature. In 1886 it was shoked by a 7.5 Richter earthquake and in 1893 became a sanctuary for women and children of the City of Savannah steamship, severely wrecked by a hurricane.
4. The lighthouse needed constant oil supply. The keeper hauled a 50 pound oil tote several times a day to the top! Oil and other goods were transported by sea up to the Jackson River wharf and there by tramcar over a 3,000 foot-long tramway up to the Oil House on the lighthouse grounds.
5. The Hunting island lighthouse was decommissioned by the U.S. Coast Guard in 1933 and replaced by sea buoys. You can see two buoys on the lighthouse grounds. The ruins on the ground are remnants of the light keeper House that burned in 1938.
Tips to Know Before You Go
1. The lighthouse is open daily from 11 AM and the last climb is at 4:45 PM and believe me the staff will close exactly then.
2. Admission fee is $2. This is extra from the State Park entrance fee and there are no discounts. Infants and toddlers are not allowed. Kids need to be at least 44 inches tall.
3. Wear something comfortable and that’s not very slippery on smooth surfaces. Everything inside the lighthouse is made out of iron. The climb is pretty fast; once up be mindful of heavy winds and secure your hats, sunglasses and everything else that’s loose.
4. There are educational signs on most of the “floors” that provide interesting trivia and a good excuse to stop and catch your breath. This should also keep kids entertained and give them motivation to continue on.
5. The guardrails seem much shorter (up to your waist) than at other lighthouses. So hold your little ones hand just to be safe.
6. It’s much easier to go up than down; the staircase looks more daunting and feels more nauseating as you go down in circles…maybe another opportunity to read the signs and take photos 🙂
7. There’s lot more to see on the grounds. Kids will have fun checking out the old tramcar and the dwellings (especially the outhouse!), balancing on the ruins of the keeper’s house, and learning maritime navigation facts from the two giant buoys next to the restroom building.
These came from the Charleston harbor.
The lighthouse is located inside the Hunting Island State Park. Once you pass the fee booth follow the road and when you come to an intersection turn left. Follow the Lighthouse gift shop sign. Here is a map on how to get to Hunting Island and also a map of the park itself.
Come experience the rich history of Beaufort area along the South Carolina coast!
Filed under: Beaufort, Historic Carolina Sites, Hunting Island | Tagged: Beaufort activities under $10, Beaufort fun things to do, Beaufort weekend fun, Charleston outdoor family attractions, Hunting Island lighthouse, Hunting Island State Park, Hunting Island State Park photos, Hunting Island State Park vacation, South Carolina and Georgia lighthouses, South Carolina marine science, what to do with kids at Hunting Island, what to do with kids in Beafort |