The First S.C. State Park
Every once in a while – I get the opportunity to go on a larger road-trip outside the Midwest. This time around we traveled to South Carolina and spent a half-day traveling the coastline and experienced two amazing state parks (Myrtle Beach State Park & Huntington Beach State Park). The cool thing about both of the state parks was the proximity from each other – literally a few miles and minutes down the road from each other. (Insider Tip: If you plan to visit both parks on the same day the cost for admission covers both parks – Double check this – but at the time when we visited it was the case).
Discovering Myrtle Beach State Park was an eye-opening day for this Midwesterner from Iowa – and I learned a lot.
First – Myrtle Beach State Park was the FIRST South Carolina State Park opening in 1936 after the development by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) – which was part of the New Deal Program brought forth by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. A program that helped employment during the Great Depression, while working towards conservation and recreation area projects.
One draw to discovering Myrtle Beach State Park is the beautiful scenic view of undeveloped sandy beach running along the 1 mile stretch of South Carolina shore. It’s a big draw to the area and boasts one of the most popular beaches and camping areas for that very reason.
What I liked best about the area is that even though a popular park, it was spacious enough to spread out and watch your distance from each other – and still enjoy being around the ocean and out on a sunny beach. (Insider Tip: If you wanted to stay close to the ocean – there are 6 Cabins for rent – only 200 yards from the beach). It’s the perfect place to stay and play if you are coming around the Myrtle Beach area in South Carolina. Also, it provides a nice getaway from the hustle and bustle of the Grand Strand of downtown Myrtle Beach.
The Myrtle Beach State Park Pier
What makes the beach stand out even more – is the state park’s pier. It’s a salt-water fisherman dream – if you can’t go out on a boat – the pier can get you out further to catch anything from flounder, king mackerel, whiting, and more – Check out the first half of the video below to see footage on the pier. It was amazing to see the amount of fishing occurring on the pier and offered a fantastic opportunity to either watch it up and close, or experience salt-water fishing first hand.
Myrtle Beach State Park Boardwalk
Another thing I stumbled upon while discovering Myrtle Beach State Park was the extensive and elaborate system of boardwalks that ran the back half of the beach and along the dunes. The boardwalks offer faster, more stable transportation in walking to different entry points along the beach, but more importantly, is that it protects the delicate dunes – and preserves them from beachgoers walking through the area to get to the beach.
It was an interesting detail to see some of the things growing in and around the dunes like sea oats and other wild flowers and plant life. It gave an accurate picture of the woodlands behind the dunes area of what a coastal maritime forest would like and the habitat surrounding it. (Insider Tip: Walk the boardwalk and take in the beauty of the dunes. It’s quite extraordinary the conservation effort to protect them – and it’s often missed because of the beach on the other side.)
Hike The Trails
If you love getting outdoors and exploring – go hike the trails at Myrtle Beach State Park. They are easier trails, short in distance, and gives you the perspective of walking in a maritime forest – which is a shoreline habitat growing along a coastal area supporting a huge array of plant life and flowers. Different trees grow within the trail system, but you will have an opportunity to see anything from live oaks, poplars, and southern magnolias.
There are two popular trails that run inside the park and break off into two separate directions.
- Yaupon Trail – which is .4 miles long – considered an easy hike and winds itself around and leads up to a pond area – which is dependent on rain – so it might be filled or dry – depending on the weather.
- Sculpted Oak Trail – which is .5 miles long – is also considered an easy hike and surrounds you within more maritime forest habitat. (Insider Tip: Depending on what time of year you visit the park – make sure you bring plenty of water, sunscreen, and any other protection from the sun. We visited in July – so the heat and humidity were pressing! Make sure you stay hydrated on your hikes).
Staying and Admission
Discovering Myrtle Beach State Park was such a breath of fresh air – I love a wide variety of activities, from busy nightlife – to quiet time observing a sunrise on a beach. So, discovering and experience the park offered a great escape and a time to relax and take in the nature surrounding Myrtle Beach. Admission to the park is easy as it fluctuates during the season, but open 6 am – 10 pm (March-November) 6 am – 8 pm (December-February).
Admission was $8 for adult, $5 for senior (65-up) $4 for child (6-15) and Free for child (5-under).
Again – the cost between both Huntington Beach State Park and Myrtle Beach State Park was a two-for-one deal if you visited both parks in the same day. This may change – but was running this way as of late 2020.
Camping – If you are campers – you are in luck! This happens to be one of the most popular camping sites in the area, and rightfully so – as it sits in close proximity to the Atlantic Ocean and the Myrtle Beach State Park Beach. The details are listed below –
- 6 cabins (200 yards from the beach)
- 278 Camping Sites (138 with full hookups)
- 30 Tent Sites
- 7 Shelters – for picnics and gatherings.