Beaufort News

There’s another chance to explore Ted Turner’s SC island retreat. What you need to know

Adventure-seekers have another chance to experience Ted Turner’s former private island retreat in Beaufort County.

The S.C. State Park Service is partnering with outdoor outfitter Coastal Expeditions to offer tours of St. Phillips Island in September. Day trips will be offered Sept. 13-15 and cost $65 for adults and $45 for children.

St. Phillips is a 4,680-acre island on the Atlantic Ocean southeast of St. Helena Island in Beaufort County. The state bought the island from Turner in 2017 for $5 million to complement nearby Hunting Island State Park.

Trips will be led by naturalists and include a boat ride from Hunting Island to the St. Phillips dock and a 3 1/2-mile tram ride through maritime forest to the beach for a picnic lunch and exploring.

Park officials offered initial tours for $100 in 2018.

St. Phillips was the private retreat for the media mogul Turner for decades. Five trail systems traverse ancient dunes, and the island is home to a variety of notable trees and wildlife.

A 3,300 square-foot waterfront main house could eventually be rented to large parties. Park officials could eventually build more space for overnight guests — a conservation easement allows up to 10 more dwellings.

State park leaders hope revenue from St. Phillips can help support Hunting Island, which draws more than 1 million visitors each year but sustained millions of dollars in damage from storms and high tides in recent years and still has lots more work planned.

Information on the St. Phillips Tours is available at