Fodor's Expert Review Hunting Island State Park
This state park located on a barrier island 18 miles southeast of Beaufort has 5,000 acres of rare maritime forest and 5 miles of public beaches—some which are dramatically eroding. The light sand beach decorated with driftwood and the subtropical vegetation is breathtaking; it almost feels like you're in Jurassic Park. You can kayak in the tranquil saltwater lagoon, stroll the 1,120-foot-long fishing pier, and go fishing or crabbing. For sweeping views, climb the 167 steps of the historic 1859 Hunting Island Lighthouse. Bikers and hikers can enjoy eight miles of trails. The nature center has exhibits, an aquarium, and tourist information. There is also a campground on the northern end that has 100 sites, but be sure to book in advance as these nearly oceanfront campsites fill up fast. Amenities: parking; toilets; grills. Best for: sunrise; swimming; walking.