One of our first “vancations” was to Huntington Beach State Park. Spanning 2,500 acres in Murrells Inlet, South Carolina, the park features three miles of pristine beach (which connects to a few more miles of beach at Litchfield) 173 campsites and the stars of the show, more than 300 species of birds.
In fact, the birds are so much of an attraction that the park’s manager, Brenda Magers, writes: “For me, the magic of Huntington Beach is in the saltmarsh. I love the long-range views, the seasonal changes and of course, the birds. There is nothing more beautiful than the movement of a flock of birds or the upsweep of kettling wood storks.”
Yep, you’ll first see the birds, and possibly a few alligators, when crossing the low causeway to the campground and beach. I returned to the causeway by bike each morning and each evening during my stay in August. I couldn’t think of a better way to begin or end a day.
We first came here on Christmas Day of 2017 and vowed that this was a place that we’d be returning to. Back then, Huntington Beach State Park even had a snowbird special, where if you booked more 30 consecutive days during the winter, you could get half off your campsite. That was quite a savings. Now, unfortunately, only four of South Carolina’s state parks participate in the program.
As Myrtle Beach State Park is on the snowbird program, we’d be willing to give it a try. Huntington Beach, however, will be hard to measure up to.
For active Class B campers like us the appeal of the latter includes: 1) spacious campsites with water and electric (and some with full hook-ups, which we don’t need for the Boldt); 2) clean bathhouses; 3) miles of dedicated bike trails and good cycling on the beach; 4) seafood outlets just three miles up the road at Murrells Inlet; 5) the marsh on one side and the ocean on the other; and 6) a National Historic Landmark, Atalaya, once the winter home of Archer and Anna Hyatt Huntington, an American Sculptor.
The Boldt really was perfect for this trip. That said, our first trip back in 2017 was in our Travato, and it worked well too. With 30-amp electric included at the campsite, running the air conditioning 24/7 (which was necessary in August) would not be a problem in either van. But at 6’5”, the six-hour-plus drive from Asheville to Huntington Beach was much more comfortable in the Boldt than it was in the Travato, where my knees are within inches of the dashboard and steering wheel.
In either van or in any van, it’s worth the trip to the South Carolina coast. There’s so much beauty to experience and it starts the moment you turn off the four-lane highway and into Huntington Beach State Park.
Magers, the park’s manager, writes, “If you’re a first-time visitor to Huntington Beach, park at the end of the causeway and walk both sides to see the marsh for yourself. Then, check out the three miles of undeveloped beach at the park.”
And if you’re a return visitor like me, well, I recommend doing the same, rinse and repeat.