There may not be a better value anywhere on the Grand Strand than a trip to Huntington Beach State Park.
For a $5 adult admission charge, visitors to 2,500-acre Huntington Beach State Park in Murrells Inlet can experience all the beauty nature has to offer.
With sweeping views of the Atlantic Ocean as well as vistas of scenic marshland, Huntington is a humble South Strand showpiece.
Visitors can fish, boat, camp, hike, bike, picnic, swim, or birdwatch. Huntington is home to more than 300 species of birds, including wading birds such as Great Blue Herons, waterfowl, and eagles.
The park also offers 107 standard campsites, 24 of which have water, sewer, and electric hookups, and six walk-in sites for tent camping. Three picnic shelters can play host to a group gathering with unmatched atmosphere.
Throughout the spring, weekly programs provide a chance to get up close and personal with nature, including coastal kayaking and birding tours and a twice-weekly alligator tour.
The 2,500-square-foot Nature Center features a saltwater touch tank, a live baby alligator and a chance to feed some of the native wildlife during the daily Feeding Frenzy. Guests can take a 2.5-mile round-trip walk to the park's majestic jetty, searching for seashells and sea creatures with a naturalist guide.
History is also within reach at Atalaya, a National Historic Landmark. The crumbling castle by the sea is the former winter home of Archer and Anna Hyatt Huntington.
Archer, a noted philanthropist, and Anna, a renowned sculptor, modeled their home after the Moorish architecture of the Spanish Mediterranean coast. Daily tours guided by the Friends of Huntington State Park are available for $2.
Adventurous souls can spend the night at the castle during the Atalaya Sleepover on March 28-29, an event that will include a cookout and a scavenger hunt. Guests can choose from the plethora of guided activities or simply pick a spot on Huntington's three miles of wide, inviting beach and spend a relaxing afternoon soaking in the sea and salt air.
Dogs on leashes no longer than 6 feet are allowed on the south end of the beach. Check the website for event times and prices.