Huntington Beach State Park
Enjoy birding, camping, hiking, picnics, exploring and the beach here at Huntington Beach State Park in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
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Huntington Beach State Park
MIKE WALKER: My name is Mike Walker. I’m an Interpretive Park Ranger here at Huntington Beach State Park. I’ve been with the South Carolina State Park Service for 23 years now. And currently here at Huntington Beach State Park, I manage the nature center, which is what we’re going to be taking a tour of right now and introduce you to some of the different animals that live here. And we’re going to start off with our main feature, which is our touch tank. Every day that we’re open at 11 a.m., we have our Feeding Frenzy program where we feed some of the different animals in the touch tank and educate folks about them a little bit. One of our main animals in here is our Atlantic Stingray. Stingrays are actually very close relatives of the sharks, believe it or not.
This is a horseshoe crab, of one our most ancient and interesting animals. Horseshoe crabs were crawling around the bottom of the ocean well before any of the dinosaurs were around and they’re still doing it. These horseshoe crabs are actually protected by law here in South Carolina. We’re the first state in the country to offer legal protection to the horseshoe crab.
Birds are easily seen here year around. That would include most of our waiting birds, different herons and ebrids. One of the things that’s kind of unique about Huntington Beach State Park is as you enter the park, you actually drive over a causeway and you’ll have fresh water marsh on one side and a salt marsh on the other. A whole variety of wetland habitats literally surround you as you enter the park. You can frequently see almost any species of waiting bird found in this state in literally a matter of minutes.
Now, besides the vast diversity of birds, fish and other types of marine life found in the park, we do have a variety of mammals that do live here. Bobcats are fairly common here, although they are kind of hard to see. River otters live here. They can be pretty secretive. They have to move around quite a bit to avoid the alligators, which are also pretty common in the park. Thriving population of mink was reintroduced in the park about seven or eight years ago.
Besides the mammals, we also have a number of reptiles that call the park home, including some that we keep here at the nature center for teaching purposes. This right here is our Corn Snake that we’ve had for almost a couple of decades now. And Corn Snakes get their name because of the pattern on their belly, which looks a little bit like something you might find on Indian corn.
Huntington Beach State Park consists of 2500 acres of beaches, forests, sand dunes, salt-water marshes, fresh water marshes and brackish water marshes. One of the things that a lot of our human visitors might not be aware of is we do try to manage a lot of the park’s area for the benefit of threatened and endangered wildlife. We offer a variety of coastal exploration programs throughout the year. Most of these programs are offered between March and October during our busiest times of the year. But we have a whole variety of nature, education programs and recreational programs going on, many of which are free with your park admission.
Thank you very much and we are very excited about seeing you all come out and visit us here at Huntington Beach State Park.