Hunting Island Nature Center and Fishing Pier

Hunting Island Nature Center

New Nature Center Reptile Exhibits

By Megan Stegmeir, Hunting Island State Park Interpretive Ranger; Photos by Carol Corbin
Buddy’s Terrapin Palace and the Gator Mansion…well that’s what I call the new reptile exhibits!

If you haven’t been out to the Hunting Island Nature Center recently, stop in sometime and see the excellent craftsmanship demonstrated by our former Senior Ranger, Brandon Bowers. Brandon has since moved on to Huntington Beach State Park where he took the position of Assistant Manager. Both of the enclosures were built by Brandon and all of the photos in the backdrops were taken by Brandon, Carl Berube, or me on Hunting Island.

The alligator exhibit houses our two baby American Alligators along with two Eastern Box Turtles. Our newest enclosure, the Terrapin Palace, was completed in May 2016 and houses our very special girl, Buddy. This enclosure has a beautiful marsh backdrop and a 125-gallon tank in the middle so Buddy has enough room to swim. Buddy loves her new tank and she and all the staff are very grateful to the Friends of Hunting Island for the donation!

Buddy’s enclosure is located in the center of the Nature Center and also has seven tanks that surround it. In those tanks we have baby Diamondback Terrapins, a King snake, two Eastern Glass Lizards, a Yellow Bellied Slider, a Southern Toad, a Five Lined Skink and a Banded Water snake.

We are constantly getting comments about how nice the Nature Center looks and everyone loves the new additions! We are planning on having a “Grand Opening” of the new enclosures very soon, so stay tuned and come see us!


The Hunting Island Fishing PierFormerly known as Paradise Pier, the Hunting Island Fishing Pier juts out 1120 feet into Fripp Inlet—the longest public pier in South Carolina. You can take a long walk on the fishing pier, read the interpretive signs, watch for dolphins, and of course, try your hand at catching fish. The fishing is usually outstanding. The Nature Center is part of the Fishing Tackle Loaner Program, that allows visitors to borrow a fishing pole for free, but you must bring your own bait. This program (open 9-4:30) is sponsored by South Carolina Department of Natural Resources and the American Sportfishing Association. 

Catches include drum, bass, spots, spotted sea trout, shark, whiting, and croaker. Bait preferred are shrimp, menhaden, and mullet, as well as artificial bait. Fishing also can be good in the lagoon or in the surf where redfish and an occasional barracuda are caught. Be cautious about swimmers, kayakers, and observers wherever you fish.

Seniors Programs

Do you remember the “great outdoors” as a child? Now you can come and play outside at Hunting Island State Park and learn about the outdoors while having fun and staying active. Some of the programs that are available from March to November include Crabbing, Cast Netting, Lighthouse Tours, Creatures of the Night, Barrier Island Ecology, and even Knot Tying!

To receive a brochure or sign up for an activity, call the Hunting Island State Park Nature Center (843) 838-7437.

Site LogoHelp us keep Hunting Island State Park a special place

We need only two things to provide the services and projects you see described on this website: your participation and your tax-deductible membership fees. For one $40 membership contribution, you and your family can join Friends of Hunting Island and have unlimited access to the park for one year. All members are encouraged to participate in any of our on-going projects. If you do not wish to join, but want to donate to our efforts, click here to make a tax-deductible donation to the Friends of Hunting Island.