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There are 11 lighthouses in the state of South Carolina, we wanted to see as many as we could. We ended up visiting 5 of them.
We specifically chose lighthouses we could just drive up to and view, no ferry ride required.
When We Went
If we learned one thing from the year that was 2020, it’s that weekend camping trips are a great “social distancing” option and very, very mentally necessary.
Length of time
We brought along our two black labs, Bocephus and Darrell, as most places we visited were dog-friendly.
We started our tour with the Southernmost light, Leamington Lighthouse, located on Hilton Head Island, and then made our way back north.
Where We Stayed
Edisto Beach State Park – Live Oak Campground
Edisto Beach State Park has a couple of different campgrounds. The Live Oak campground felt more private than the beach camping spots due to the low-lying tree cover.
The campground is dog-friendly as long as your pup is on a leash.
What We Did
- Leamington Lighthouse
- Harbor Town Lighthouse
- Hunting Island Lighthouse
- Morris Island Lighthouse
- Charleston Lighthouse
Leamington Lighthouse – Hilton Head Island
The first lighthouse of the trip was also the most peculiar looking and in the weirdest location.
To get to this odd structure, you must go into a gated resort community. The lighthouse is literally standing on the middle of a golf course.
This was my first time visiting Hilton Head. The best way I can describe it is it’s like Dirty Myrtle’s rich, more sophisticated cousin. It still has that tourist vibe and a ridiculous amount of resorts and golf courses – just like Myrtle Beach does, but the landscaping is nicer and the brand names are higher end.
Harbor Town Lighthouse – Hilton Head Island
The second lighthouse of the tour was also in a golf resort community (South Carolina really loves their golf resorts).
The red stripes made it aesthetically pleasing, but it was smaller and stouter than we had envisioned making it a tad underwhelming overall.
This is the only lighthouse of the weekend we had the privilege to climb.
Hunting Island Lighthouse – Hunting Island State Park
The third light at Hunting Island was the first one of the weekend that appeared more normal to us – specifically it more closely resembled the tall, cone-shaped North Carolina lighthouses that we are accustomed to.
You can only climb it by reservation, which we had not made, but we were allowed to step inside to view the lens and spiral staircase.
The state park was gorgeous and has a nice beach. This was my first time seeing a real live sand dollar on the beach, and I was stoked about it! I learned that you are only allowed to collect them if they are already dead and dried out, and that in many areas collecting live sand dollars is illegal.
Morris Island Lighthouse – North End of Folly Island
The fourth lighthouse is seemingly stranded out at sea, giving it a charmingly desolate vibe.
We were able to view it by taking a short walking path located at the end of Folly Beach.
Charleston Lighthouse – Sullivan’s Island
The fifth and final lighthouse of the tour was another strange one – short and boxy at the edge of town.
Thus, our South Carolina lighthouse tour came to a rather abrupt ending.
Overall, South Carolina’s lighthouses were small, weird shapes, and in unexpected locations.
While it was fun exploring the various lights of the state, we couldn’t help but think about how much different of an experience it was compared to the time we did a North Carolina lighthouse tour (check that out here).
That being said, it was definitely worth doing, and I’m excited to find our next lighthouse tour!
The boys were so tired from the camping adventure that Darrell fell asleep in his water bowl on the ride home.