State tourism officials originally thought South Carolina’s most popular campground would not reopen until at least January after Tropical Storm Irma washed across it last month. But it only ended up being a few weeks before Edisto Beach State Park’s oceanfront campground was spruced up and ready for visitors once again.
“It’s an exciting time to be able to open back up in time to still be able to enjoy the beach in good South Carolina fall weather,” Parks Director Phil Gaines said. “It’s, without question, our most popular campground in the entire state.”
A state Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism spokeswoman said general reservations for the 68 campsites will not be accepted at first. Instead, those campers who already had reservations which were canceled after the storm will have first right of refusal. Any vacancies after that will be open to the public. Original campers have two weeks to restore those reservations. Any remaining vacancies will be available to the public on a first-come, first-served basis.
Gaines said crews were able to finish repairs much faster than expected partly due to the enthusiasm of staff and volunteers, but also because they already had the equipment and supplies ready after repairs from Hurricane Matthew last year. He noted the oceanfront campground had just reopened eight days before Irma reached the area.
Edisto’s Live Oak campground will remain closed for the rest of the year after sustaining significant tree damage.
Meanwhile, visitors will soon be able to once again see parts of Hunting Island State Park after extensive flood damage there, but only the northern beach access and historic lighthouse areas.
Gaines said crews were able to finish a new access road which was originally planned for buses. Visitors will now enter the access area through its former one-way exit and leave via the new route. He said the bus route is an old service road the Park Service began refurbishing as an alternative route after Hurricane Matthew.
The park’s campground and southern access areas will likely remain closed for at least another two months. Gaines said sand from the beach covered the parking lot and roadways and new electrical wiring is required at the campground. He hopes work can finish by January