Passenger ferry service to Bear Island will not begin in April as scheduled. An engineer’s inspection revealed that temporary measures are necessary to shore up dock facilities to ensure visitor safety. The delay will allow for the temporary repair of dock facilities on the island and mainland. Permanent repairs will be undertaken later this year, and normal operation of ferry services is expected in 2018. Until permanent repairs are completed there will not be ADA accessibility.
Campers with reservations will be ferried to the island using alternative ferry vessels on a limited schedule Friday, Saturday, and Sundays. Mainland departures at 9:30am, 12:30pm, 2:30pm and 4:30 pm, Bear Island departures will be at 10:00am, 1:00pm, 3:00 pm and 5:00pm. Campers planning to paddle to Bear Island will continue with no disruption as in the past.
We apologize for the inconvenience and appreciate your patience while we complete this necessary construction project. Please contact the park office at firstname.lastname@example.org or 910.326.4881 with questions.
Bear Island Emergency Phone System Out Of Service
The emergency phone system on Bear Island is currently out of service. In the event of an emergency after hours please use your cell phone as cellular service from most carriers is available. Electrical outlets are available at the bathhouse to charge a cell phone.
Dredge Project Completed, Bear Island Open for Camping
The dredging of Cow Channel has been completed and access to Bear Island and Cow Channel restored. However, the ferry dock on Bear Island will remain closed due to the repair of the docks. The bathhouse with potable water, restroom facilities and showers for campers are available. Please contact the park office at email@example.com or 910.326.4881 with questions.
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.
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.
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.
Get directions from Google.
Hammocks Beach State Park
September - May: 8am - 6pm
June - August: 8am - 7pm
Closed Christmas Day
September - May: 8am - 5pm daily
June - August: 8am - 6pm daily
Closed Christmas Day