As part of the Lowcountry, Beaufort County includes Port Royal and several Sea Islands. One of those Islands is Saint Helena Island just south of Beaufort. Alongside it is Hunting, Fripp, and Pritchards Island. They are all small islands set along the Atlantic Coast that offer tons of history and beautiful coastal landscapes. It was actually by accident that we ended up there.
I have originally intended for us to be staying and exploring Savannah. However, I am afraid my air-headed ways landed us an entire extra hour north! It all worked out in the end though! The place we stayed in was great, and the kids and I had a blast. We did stop at Forsyth Park in Savannah where we laid out our picnic blanket and had lunch. The kids played on the playground and we picked up some Leopold’s ice cream cups from the restaurant nearby.
Camping On Saint Helena Island
Using HipCamp, which is like the Airbnb of camping, I found this lovely place on St. Helena island for only twenty bucks a night. I wasnt concerned with toilet, but this place did have a port-a-john. The main thing I knew I wanted to have was a place to build a campfire. They had a whole pit ready and already filled with wood and plenty of other wood scraps, logs, and sticks to keep it going.
The owner of the property had decorated the backyard with an adorable garden filled with a maze of step-stones made of random marble pieces and handmade step-stones with mismatched pebbles and trinkets. There were fairy knick-knacks and statues, flowers, small ponds full of lilies, and plenty of seating. The kids loved it!
I had packed all of our food for the trip which included all of the best camping snacks. We had hot dogs, s’mores, a meat and cheese tray, and some cut-up veggies and fruit. Make sure to check out my blog on road tripping with kids on a budget to get some great tips and tricks.
We worked together to hang up our hammock, set up the tent, and unload all our goodies. My little one was so excited about her tent, she took extra time and care to set up her sleeping space. This was an electronic-free weekend, so that means no iPads or switches, just good old-fashioned card games, board games, some music and conversation.
We played a couple of rounds of Go-fish, Slap Jack, and Guess Who before roasting our hotdogs and marshmallows. Snuggling up by the fire, we chatted together and they asked me questions about what it was like for me growing up. I pointed out the Big and Small Dipper and Orion’s belt as the stars grew brighter and brighter. It is always so nice to be out in the country where you can see the stars more clearly.
There are plenty of ways to save money when camping. If you are looking to be frugal like me you just need to do your research. The next day, I knew we were going to be visiting the Hunting Island State Park. There are some great Campsites there but they are more expensive than what you might find with something like Hipcamp. It all depends on what you are looking for. With us only staying one night, and heading straight to the beach, I wasn’t concerned with showers, but a nice National Park like Hunting Island State park has showers and all the amenities that you might be looking for. Be sure to book well in advance though! The spots sell out quickly.
Beach Day in Hunting Island State Park
For breakfast, I had bananas, cheap chocolate donuts, milk and orange juice. Being a whole extra hour away than I had planned, I knew I wanted to make the most of the day so we cleaned up and heading out early. Somehow, the top of Daisy’s bathing suit did not get packed! We had to make a quick run into the local Walmart which was about 10 minutes in the opposite direction that we were heading., but these things happen! While we were there, we took advantage and refilled our cooler with fresh ice. Somehow, Solie got herself a new bathing suit as well… It’s funny how that happens, huh?
As I hadn’t planned to be in this area originally, a lot of my research and planning was being done as we went along. I looked around online and found that the Hunting Island State Park had a Lighthouse! I have a soft spot for lighthouses, and was excited to visit this one.
There is an admission fee which is $8/adult; $5/SC seniors; $4/ child age 6-15; Free for children 5 and younger
Lighthouse admission: $2/person. The park has tons to offer, however.
There is a pier for fishing, a saltwater lagoon, and a maritime forest with several short and easy hiking trails that were easy to get to from the beach. It was a gorgeous park! the palmetto trees The beach was clean and wide and uncrowded. Because of the entrance fee, I think that it deters too many people from swarming the place which has its perks for sure.
The lighthouse was really neat, but due to Covid restrictions, we didn’t get to climb it. There was a waitlist and we decided to stay busy elsewhere. If you would like to climb the 167 steps to the top and enjoy the view, reservations can be made between 10 and 4 for 30-minute time slots.
We were able to walk around and into the nearby huts that showcased the lighthouse’s history. The Keeper’s Home had been destroyed in a fire, but you could see where it sat and read all about the families that had lived there. Built in 1889, the lighthouse is mostly white painted with black on the top portion. If you enjoy lighthouses, this was a great one to visit. It reminded me a lot of our trip to the Outerbanks in North Carolina.
Beach time! We had our shovels and other beach toys to play in the sand with. The girls pretended to be chefs and made me some very interesting meals made out of sand including spaghetti and meatballs and stir-fry. Delicious! lol
The water isn’t super warm yet, but was still nice enough to wade around in. This beach has a lot of smooth sand and was much less shelly than others we have been to. Instead of gathering shells they started piling up reeds, and grasses washed farther up shore by the tide. My kids are always so creative and resourceful. Take a look at my blog on fun beach activities for kids. As always, my babies are my inspiration!
With the Marine Base on Parris Island just south of us , we saw tons of helicopters crossing overhead. Living on a military instillation your whole life though, the kids were less than concerned. They were much more intrigued with trying to walk out on the barriers that separated sections of the beach with concrete slabs jetting out into the water.
Heading back to their house on Robins Air Force base, we had to leave around 3. Even after being there for several hours, the kids were still bummed to leave. But, with school the next day, I wanted to make sure they had time for showers and winding down. All in all, it turned out to be a really great trip. The kids have even been asking to go back and stay again! I would say that’s a pretty good sign! I do hope to head back this way with them again though. Zaid is clinging to the map of the hiking trails and ready to go!
Before long, I hope to make it back to Savannah were we can do it right with a full-on Savannah style weekend. From what I can see, Savannah is a great place for adult fun and for those with a good sized chunk of change to spare. However, I plan to share a kid-friendly weekend on a budget.