Be sure to visit the Hunting Island Nature Center. Go as far south on Hunting Island as you can. When you reach the Fripp Inlet Bridge, turn left. As soon as you get out of your car, you will be greeted by a beautiful water garden. The garden, with its waterfalls, carefully selected plants and strategically placed bird feeders, is designed to welcome a variety of birds, butterflies, and small animals.

new classroom

Occasionally, deer wander by, and now and then, even an alligator has visited. Go up the ramp beside the garden. You can take a long walk on the fishing pier, read the interpretive signs, and watch for dolphins, and of course, try your hand at catching fish. You will want to stop in first or afterwards at the building on your right as you face the pier. This building houses the Nature Center which receives more than 20,000 visitors a year.

water garden

For several years, The Friends of Hunting Island made expanding the Nature Center a priority and in 2007, the construction project was completed before the summer season began. Through donations by members and others, and several grants from the Beaufort County Accommodations Tax fund, the Friends amassed $56,000. The SC State Parks, Recreation, and Tourism (PRT) budgeted an additional $40,000 for the project, enough to make the expansion a reality. Our expanded classroom has hosted many interesting events each season.

This year we have contributed to an update of the main room of the Center with funding from the Friends and Beaufort County. Staff areas were rearranged for more accessibility, and the room is now bright and inviting. You ought to see the mural!

The Nature Center features live animal displays, including native snakes, turtles, crabs and fish. It also houses static exhibits, touchables and constantly changing information. Water quality monitoring is based out of the office.

nature center mural

The Nature Center is a part of the Fishing Tackle Loaner Program, where visitors can come in and borrow a fishing pole (for free, but must bring their own bait.) This program is sponsored by South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the American Sportfishing Association. Hunting Island's Nature Center was recognized last year by DNR as the most active site in the state. The park has expanded this program to include crabbing equipment.

State Park Fees apply to the pier and Nature Center. Open 9—5, Tuesday through Saturday, and 10—2 on Sundays and Mondays in the summer.