The training ground for some of America’s greatest heroes is about an hour’s drive from Hilton Head at the US Marine Corps Recruit Depot on Parris Island. Because Parris Island has the deepest natural harbor south of New York, the government became interested in the area during Union occupation in the Civil War. The facility did not open for recruit training until 1889.
Today Parris Island graduates over 20,000 recruits a year. It remains our nation’s most famous military training facility.
The Island is open to the general public. You can visit the Douglas Visitor’s Center as well as archeological sites or play on their golf course. The Parris Island Museum houses over 8,000 exhibits and photographs covering this US military training center since its beginning. The museum is open daily free of charge from 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The gift shop, Alexander Ship’s Store, is open on Monday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and on Sunday from 12:00 to 4:00 p.m. Admission to the museum is free.
Parris Island is located off of U.S. Hwy. 21 in Beaufort. Note that access to the base is dependent upon current security needs. To get through security at the base gate you will need your driver’s license, proof of insurance, and auto registration, or the paper work for a rental car. Guards at the gate will direct you to the museum. For more information call (843) 228-2951.