Both state parks on the Grand Strand are slated to reopen in the next week after their extended closures for cleanup and repairs from Hurricane Matthew.
An update posted Thursday by the S.C. State Parks Service stated the day-use area and a portion of the pier at Myrtle Beach State Park is scheduled to reopen Saturday, and its campground Monday.
In northeast Georgetown County, Huntington Beach State Park is slated for reopening Oct. 28. A news release Thursday from that park also touted a celebratory nature event to begin that weekend.
Its annual Halloween-themed “Atalaya Fall Festival and Haunted Castle” will be 6-9 p.m. Oct. 28-29, with amenities such as two separate haunted house attractions – a “Little Scare” maze geared to young children, and a “Big Scare” haunted castle – and local ghost stories around a bonfire, Admission for this event is $10 ages 16 and older, $7 ages 6-15, and free ages 5 and younger, and regular park and Atalaya building admissions are waived for this event only.
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Registration also continues for Huntington Beach State Park’s “Atalaya Sleepover,” Nov. 12-13, including dinner, breakfast, s’mores and ghost stories by a campfire, for $50 ages 16 and older, $30 ages 7-15, with a limited number of tents and sleeping pads are available to borrow.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew’s onslaught Oct. 8 across the region, Phil Gaines, director of S.C. State Parks, had said most of the damage at both local state parks involved toppled trees, and that the other two coastal state parks, both southwest of Charleston – Edisto Beach and Hunting Island – bore a much greater brunt of damage from the storm, with much longer time and work expected before their respective reopening.
Reports from Gaines on Huntington Beach State Park relayed Thursday to personnel there included such details such as the sidewalk on the Mullet Pond (south) side of the causeway incurring damage, erosion of sand dunes and damage on dune walkovers, downed trees, but no major damage to any park buildings, and the bald eagle nest on site weathered the storm. Also, the inlet that had connected Sandpiper Pond to the ocean many years ago has been restored, part of continuing wetlands restoration efforts there.
To reach the Grand Strand’s two state parks:
▪ Myrtle Beach State Park, on U.S. 17 Business, one mile south of Farrow Parkway/South Ocean Boulevard, across from Seagate Village. 843-238-5325, 843-238-0874 for nature center, andwww.myrtlebeachsp.com.
▪ Huntington Beach State Park, on U.S. 17 between Murrells Inlet and Litchfield Beach, across from Brookgreen Gardens. 843-237-4440 or www.huntingtonbeachsp.com.
Park admission is $5 ages 16 and older, $3.25 S.C. seniors, $3 ages 6-15, and free ages 2 and younger. Also, state park passes, to access all 47 sites across South Carolina, are $75 or $99.
The S.C. State Parks Service is based in Columbia: 803-734-0156 or www.southcarolinaparks.com.