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Camping

Kayaking at Hammocks Beach State Park
Status of Park Facilities as of April 3, 2021   

FERRY SERVICE to Bear Island will not operate in April due to COVID-19. Beginning May 12, 2021 ferry service will operate on a COVID-19 modified scheduleCapacity is limited to a maximum of 20 passengers per trip.  Day use passengers depart to Bear Island in the morning and tickets will have a set return time in the afternoon.  Campers will depart to Bear Island on afternoon ferries only. COVID-19 ferry protocols will be followed including wearing masks and social distancing.  Please see the ferry schedule for complete information.

Bear Island bathhouse restroom facilities are open with potable (drinkable) water.

Visitor center, trails, mainland restrooms, and boat ramp are open daily.  Masks must be worn in buildings and social distancing should be practiced. 

Bear Island is open for day use and Bear Island sound-side campsites and beachfront and sound side campsites are open for campers with transportation to the island. Campers must bring all necessities with them. See the Reservations page to make a reservation.  Please note open fires are not permitted anywhere on Bear Island.

Group campsite A is open for organized groups. Campers must have transportation to Bear Island, by canoe, kayak, or private boat. 

Beachside campsites 1-11 will be CLOSED during “King Tide Events”, April 26 – 29, 2021; May 24 – 28, 2021; June 22 – 26, 2021; July 21 – 25, 2021; October 6 – 12, 2021; November 3 – 9, 2021, and December 2 – 7, 2021.A king tide occurs when the sun, earth, and moon align, resulting in exceptionally high tides.  Beach erosion from hurricanes and winter storms, reduced the Bear Island primary dune and during king tides, ocean waves will be at the dunes, restricting access to campsites 1-11 for extended periods of time.

Visitor center hours:  8am – 5pm, closed for lunch 12pm – 1pm, gate hours 8am – 6pm. 

Please see the Hammocks Beach Updates Page or www.ncparks.gov/open for additional information.

 Last updated on: Saturday, April 3, 2021


Map of North Carolina


Contact the park
 

910-326-4881

hammocks.beach@ncparks.gov
 

Address
 

Visitor center

1572 Hammock Beach Road
Swansboro, NC 28584

GPS: 34.6710, -77.1429
 

Hours
 

► 

  • September to May:
    8:00am to 6:00pm
     
  • June to August:
    8:00am to 7:00pm
     
  • Closed Christmas Day
     

► 

  • September to May:

Open daily:
​8:00am to 5:00pm
 

  • June to August:

Open daily:
8:00am to 6:00pm
 

  • Closed Christmas Day
     

Ferry
 

2021 ferry schedule

Current ferry protocols

 


 

 

 

Camping

IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT AMENITIES:

Not all campsites have identical amenities. Read the campsite information on the reservations website to see photos of campsites; check availability and fees; find out whether a specific site is wheelchair accessible, has access to water, bathouses or pit toilets, or has electric hookup; and learn other important information.

 

Backpack and group camping*

*All camping sites are located on Bear Island and are accessible via ferry, private boat or paddling only.

 

Camping closures during king tide events

The beachfront campsites, campsites 1 to 11, at Hammocks Beach State Park will be closed during king tide events. A king tide occurs when the sun, earth, and moon align, resulting in exceptionally high tides. Beach erosion from hurricanes and winter storms reduced the Bear Island primary dune, and during king tides, ocean waves will be at the dunes, restricting access to the campsites for extended periods of time. In 2021, king tide campsite closures will occur on: April 26 to 29; May 24 to 28; June 22 to 26; July 21 to 25; October 6 to 12; November 3 to 9; and December 2 to 7.

 

Primitive campsites are located near the beach and the inlet. Eleven family campsites accommodate six people and two tents each.

Light and simple is the way to travel as campers must carry all provisions to the campsites from the beach or ferry dock.

Campsite
Distance from ferry dock (miles)
1
0.6
2
0.65
3
0.7
4
0.75
5
0.8
6
0.85
7
0.9
8
0.95
9
1.0
10
1.05
11
1.1

 

There are three group campsites, available to affiliated groups only; one accommodates up to 26 people, while the other two accommodate up to 16 people each. Group campsites are reserved locally at Hammocks Beach State Park.


 Group camping reservation form »


Due to sand migration in the channel that the ferry uses to transport visitors to Bear Island, the ferry schedule can change on a daily basis. The ferry schedule is under Fees/FAQs/Rules, or please call the park for more information.

Campsites are open year-round. Water and other facilities are available on the island, except from mid-November through mid-March when the facilities are winterized.

Fires are not permitted, and campers must remove all trash. Camping is permitted only on numbered sites and permits must be obtained from the park office on the mainland.

Campers must register in the park office on the mainland before going to Bear Island. All vehicles left in the parking lot overnight must be registered at the park office or they are subject to towing.

 

Watch this video for some tips and information regarding camping at Bear Island:

 

NOTE – Gate access for campers:

Park gates are closed and locked at posted closing times for your protection. There will be no exiting or entering the gates after the closing time. All visitors who are not spending the night need to be out by closing time. If you leave the park and do not return before closing time, you will not be able to re-enter. Check with the park office during office hours for the after-hours emergency phone number.