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Kayaking at Hammocks Beach State Park
Status of Park Facilities as of September 30, 2021   

The October ferry schedule is Friday, Saturday and Sunday hourly beginning at 9:30 am and the last ferry departs from Bear Island at 5:00 pm.  Masks are optional on board the ferry. The last day of ferry service for the 2021 season is October 31, 2021.  Please see the ferry schedule for complete information.

Please Note:  Ferry tickets are sold in person on a first come first served basis.  There are no reservations for the ferry.

Bear Island bathhouse restroom facilities are open daily with potable (drinkable) water.  On November 15, 2021, the bathhouse will be CLOSED and winterized until the spring of 2022. The concession stand is CLOSED for the season and there are NO LIFEGUARDS on duty.  Please swim at your own risk and use extreme caution as rip currents and strong currents can occur at any time.

Visitor center, exhibit hall, trails, mainland restrooms, and the boat ramp are open daily.  The boat ramp will be closed from 9–10am and 2-3pm for ferry re-fueling as well as Mondays and Tuesdays from 9am – 11am for ferry vessel maintenance.  Masks are required in all park buildings. 

Bear Island is open for day use and the Bear Island beachfront and sound side campsites are open for campers.  Sound side campsites are not accessible by ferry and have no access to the bathhouse.  Sound-side campers must have transportation to the island by canoe, kayak, or private boat and 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.

Beachside campsites will be CLOSED during “King Tide Events”, 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, Gate Hours 8am – 6pm. 

 Last updated on: Friday, October 22, 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 (updated)

Current ferry protocols

 


 

 

 

Area information

The Hammocks Beach State Park office and ferry dock are located in Onslow County between Jacksonville and Morehead City.

From I-95, take I-40 east to NC 24. Follow NC 24 east through Jacksonville to Swansboro. Turn right onto Hammocks Beach Road. About 500 feet before the end of the road, turn right into the park entrance.

From the south, take US 17 north to Jacksonville, and turn on NC 24 east to Swansboro. Turn right onto Hammocks Beach Road. About 500 feet before the end of the road, turn right into the park entrance.

From points east, follow Highway 24 west into Swansboro. Turn left onto Old Hammocks Road. Turn left onto Hammocks Beach Road. About 500 feet before the end of the road, turn right into the park entrance.

Get directions from Google.

 

From the park office area, the passenger ferry provides transportation to Bear Island for a modest fee. The island is also accessible by private boat or marine taxi service.

The island is also accessible by private boat, canoe / kayak or marine taxi service.

 

Toll ferry

Note: the ferry schedule is available in Fees/FAQs/Rules. Due to sand migration in the channel the ferry uses to transport visitors to Bear Island, the ferry schedule can change on a daily basis. Please refer to the schedule, or contact the park office for more information.

The 2.5-mile passenger ferry ride takes about 15 minutes and offers a glimpse of interesting wetland inhabitants, including herons and egrets. After traveling through the Intracoastal Waterway, the ferry moves through the shallow waters of Cow Channel, a channel through which cows were once herded to the island for grazing. The ferry then docks at the pier on Bear Island where a half-mile trail travels through the dune system, across the island, to the beach. This 15-minute walk is like a trip through the desert. The sand is often hot; wear protective shoes.

The park ferry operates daily from Memorial Day through Labor Day except in inclement weather. During popular summer months, a line often forms for the ferry and the island quickly reaches capacity. Arrive early in the day to avoid long delays.

 

Nearby attractions

North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources logoN.C. Maritime Museum-Beaufort
Queen Anne's Revenge
NC Aquarium-Pine Knoll Shores
Historic Halifax
Tryon Palace