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General Information

Hammocks Beach State Park
Copyright: - North Carolina Division of Parks and Recreation
Hammocks Beach State Park
Description - Except for 33 acres on the mainland, Hammocks Beach State Park is located on Bear Island, an 892 acre barrier island. It is 3.5 miles long and less than a mile wide. The island is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the south and by salt marshes, estuarine creeks and the Inter coastal Waterway to the north. Bogue Inlet lies at the northeast end of the island, while Bear Inlet lies to the southwest.

Shrub thickets and maritime forests create a wilderness environment, yet in parts of the island it's easy to imagine you're in the desert. Perhaps the most interesting animal found at the park is the protected loggerhead turtle. Between mid-May and late August, female loggerheads come ashore at night to nest. Raccoons, foxes and even the tiny sideways scooting ghost crabs threaten the loggerhead's existence.

The area is steeped in Indian, pirate and privateers history. Due to its location, the island often played a key role in protection of the mainland. A fort was built in 1749 but has since disappeared. As recently as World War II, this island was used to secure the coast and monitor for German U-boat activity.

Early in the twentieth century, Dr. William Sharpe, a neurosurgeon from New York, came to Bear Island to hunt. His love of the island prompted him to acquire it for his retirement. Sharpe intended to will the property to John Hurst, a long time hunting guide. Instead, Hurst urged him to donate it to an African American teachers association. In 1950, the group unsuccessfully developed the property. They then donated the land with the intent to create a park for minorities. Hammocks Beach State Park opened for all races following the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

A passenger ferry is operated from Memorial Day through Labor Day. The 25 minute trip leaves every hour on Monday and Tuesday from 9:30 am -5:30 p.m. Two ferries operate Wed-Sun 9:30 am -5:30 p.m. One ferry operates every hour 9:30 am -4:30 p.m. Wednesday - Sunday during May and September and 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Friday-Sunday in April and October. Fees are $2 for adults (13 and up) and $1 for children (4-12). Children 3 and under are free.

Park Hours: September-May 8 am-6 pm; June-August 8 am - 7 pm. Office hours: 8 am-5 pm Monday through Friday (October-April); 8 am-5 pm daily (May-September). Gates will remain locked, except in emergency situations, when the park is not in operation. Please plan accordingly. The park is closed Christmas Day.

Recreation - Hiking, camping and canoeing are available at the park but due to Hurricane Fran, as of this writing, the picnic shelters are no longer usable.

Ocean swimming offers a bathhouse and lifeguards during the summer months.

Surf fishing is allowed from the shores of the park in accordance with NC Wildlife Resources regulations. No license is required.

Shell walks, island hikes and programs about the Loggerhead Sea Turtle are given throughout the summer and are available to groups on request. Programs are available throughout the year. Program calendars are also available upon request. Environmental Educational Learning Experience (EELE) Booklet--Sea Turtle Trek. Grades 6, 7, and 8. Introduces students to the life history of the sea turtles, focusing on the loggerhead sea turtle. Major concepts covered include: animal adaptation, sea turtle life cycle, endangered species, natural and human threats, habitat, resource management, and stewardship. This publication is available free of charge to North Carolina educators through an EELE workshop. Contact the park office for details.

A refreshment stand is located near the swimming area on Bear Island and is open during the summer months to provide light snacks from 10 am - 5:30 pm, Memorial Day through Labor Day.

Mainland parking and the pathway down to the ferry dock are accessible for wheelchairs, but the ferry and the restrooms are not accessible.

Climate - Winter daytime temperatures average above 44 degrees Fahrenheit (7 Celsius). Summer daytime temperatures range above 80 degrees Fahrenheit (27 Celsius). The state has a fairly wet climate with an average precipitation for this area averaging more than 52 inches (132 centimeters).

Location - The mainland portion of Hammocks Beach State Park is located in Onslow County between Jacksonville and Morehead City. From Swansboro, SR 1511 (Hammocks Beach Road) leads to the park entrance adjacent to Queens Creek. From here, the passenger ferry departs for Bear Island. The island is also accessible by private boat, marine taxi service or by canoeing the park designated canoe trail / route.


Current Conditions & Trip Reports

Trip Reports:
Add your own trip Report! Newly re-released feature. One of the most popular features on Wildernet, trip reports allow you to share your experiences with others. This is an invaluable resource for determining what to expect on your outdoor adventure, so please participate! To prevent spamming, you must be a registered user of Wildernet in order to submit a trip report

Filed By: Brock
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: I was able to relax when I visited last year and the tide pools and wildlife there is amazing, I would recomend you to go to Bear Island as soon as you can!

Filed By: Lorrie
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: Great place to go to get away from everything! Bring lots of bug spray and food! There are flush toilets and fresh water but no showers. Fires are not aloud so if you need to cook bring a propane stove.This is primitive camping in a pristine environment. You will gaze upon thousands of the brightest stars you've ever seen. Fall asleep to the roar of the ocean... Life doesn't get much better than this!

Filed By: C DAVIS
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Neutral
Report: ISLAND IS BEAUTIFUL. I WENT LAST MONTH APRIL 2003 FOR TWO NIGHTS. I SAW THREE PEOPLE IN THREE DAYS. THERE WERE WORKERS ON THE ISLAND DURING THE DAY BUILDING A NEW PAVILLION. I FOUND OVER 100 SAND DOLLARS AND 20 WELK SHELLS.THIS PLACE IS NOT FOR EVERYONE. HOT SUN, LOTS OF SAND, VERY LITTLE SHADE.GREAT PLACE TO GETAWAY FROM CARS, CROWDS, TELEPHONES.

Filed By: Mike Edmonds (Pfafftown, NC)
Number of People Encountered: 11-25 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: For Boy Scout group camping at a secluded beach, I highly recommend Hammocks Beach State Park. We like to go there in October. The bugs weren't bad and swimming and fishing are great. They have 3 group sites, each of which accomodate 12 persons. I just wish the group sites weren't grouped so close together. Prepare for backpacking and bring sand type staking apparatus. It is very inexpensive for Scout Troops. Our guys had a great time. Verify weather. You are stuck out there if you use the "Ferry", which by the way is just a large pontoon boat. Very nice staff, and they take group reservations.

Filed By: David Bradley (Shelbyville, TN)
Number of People Encountered: 11-25 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: Hammocks Beach State Park, what a wonderful place to be. Open beaches, beautiful surf, lonely sand dunes, no trash, and hardly no people. The 14 campsites are spaced out enough so that even if the park is full, you still feel like you're stranded on a deserted island. Pack light, because you have to carry it for about a mile after you exit the ferry. Misquitos are terrible. Worst I've ever seen. Bring lots, and I mean lots of bugspray. Campsites 1-10 are right on the beach, spaced about 100 yds apart, 11 and 12 are on the south end of the island about 1.5 miles from other sites, and 13 and 14 are on the interior of the island, on the marsh land side. No beaches for these sites, only misquitos. Besides the sand getting everywhere, misquitos eating us alive, and not being allowed to have a campfire, I would have to say that if you're looking for a secluded weekend on the beach, without a lot of people and tourism, then this is the place to be.

Filed By: David Bradley (Shelbyville, TN)
Number of People Encountered: 11-25 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: Hammocks Beach State Park, what a wonderful place to be. Open beaches, beautiful surf, lonely sand dunes, no trash, and hardly no people. The 14 campsites are spaced out enough so that even if the park is full, you still feel like you're stranded on a deserted island. Pack light, because you have to carry it for about a mile after you exit the ferry. Misquitos are terrible. Worst I've ever seen. Bring lots, and I mean lots of bugspray. Campsites 1-10 are right on the beach, spaced about 100 yds apart, 11 and 12 are on the south end of the island about 1.5 miles from other sites, and 13 and 14 are on the interior of the island, on the marsh land side. No beaches for these sites, only misquitos. Besides the sand getting everywhere, misquitos eating us alive, and not being allowed to have a campfire, I would have to say that if you're looking for a secluded weekend on the beach, without a lot of people and tourism, then this is the place to be.

View more Trip Reports.


More Information

Contact Information:
Hammocks Beach State Park, 1572 Hammocks Beach Road , Swansboro, NC, 28584, Phone: 910-326-4881, Fax: 910-326-2060
, habe@internet.net

Additional Information:
Coastal Region - Throughout history, the coastal regions of the globe have been major attractions. North Carolina's Coastal Region is no different. With its mild climate, this beautiful eastern region of the state entertains millions of guests all year.
New Bern Area - New Bern is the second oldest town in North Carolina. It was settled in 1710 at the confluence of the Neuse and Trent Rivers by German and Swiss immigrants who purchased the land from the Tuscarora Indians. They supported themselves by shipping tar pitch and turpentine to New England, England and the West Indies. Shortly thereafter, New Bern became the state's first capitol and the center of politics.
North Carolina State Parks - North Carolina's State Parks offer wonderful beach camping to mountain wilderness camping. There are hiking trails in all sorts of forest types and countless fishing opportunities. The entire state, from the mountain to the piedmont area to the coast is rich in history and well highlighted at the parks.
Wilmington Area - Wilmington is located in the southeastern corner of North Carolina between the Cape Fear River and the Atlantic Ocean. It is the cultural, medical, educational and economic center of this region and known for its historic preservation and close proximity to area beaches.

Links:
Hammocks Beach State Park - Official agency Website

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