|Huntington Beach State Park|
Great blue heron (Ardea herodias) at Huntington Beach Park
|Nearest city||Murrells Inlet, Georgetown County, South Carolina|
|Area||2,500 acres (10.1 km2)|
|Camp sites||107 standard campsites |
6 walk-in tent sites
Huntington Beach State Park is a small coastal preserve and state park near Murrells Inlet, in Georgetown County, South Carolina. It has a large sandy beach, few beach-goers, and numerous wild birds to watch over the seasons.
The park, originally property of Anna Hyatt Huntington and Archer M. Huntington, was leased after his death and takes its name from him The 2500 acre (10 km2) tract was leased to the state in 1960 for use as a state park. Mrs. Huntington died in 1973. Atalaya was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984, and was included in the designation of Atalaya and Brookgreen Gardens as a National Historic Landmark in 1984.
The studio of his wife, the noted 20th-century American sculptor Anna Hyatt Huntington, was part of the compound. Many of her significant sculptures are in nearby Brookgreen Gardens, an extension of the former Huntington estate, now a public sculpture garden.
The Friends of Huntington Beach State Park offer scheduled tours of Atalaya Castle, and operate the Atalaya Visitor Center with exhibits about the house and the Huntingtons.
Local birders frequently refer to the park as "HBSP" in communications. The park features various species of birds of the Southeast coast of the United States for bird watching.
It hosts many types of ducks and waders like roseate spoonbills in winter in both fresh and saltwater marshes. It has a jetty where oceanbirds like gannets, loons, scoters and occasionally alcids like razorbills and murres can be found. The large tree swallow (Tachycineta bicolor) flocks here.
The original Education Center featured natural history displays and live animals, including a saltwater touch tank and a live baby alligator among its exhibits. Park naturalists offered free programs about the park's wildlife and habitat. The center, previously located at the marsh boardwalk, was destroyed in a fire in the early morning hours on Wednesday, July 20, 2016, likely caused by a lightning strike. All of the animals on display within the Education Center were lost in the fire.
Other park features include: the beach and jetty, hiking, and nature trails and boardwalks, the gift shop and a public campground.
Media related to Atalaya Castle at Wikimedia Commons