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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

 


 

 

 

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
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