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Fees/FAQs/Rules

Kayaking at Hammocks Beach State Park
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Upcoming Events:

Sunday, August 25, 2019 - 8:30am
Tuesday, August 27, 2019 - 2:00pm
Friday, August 30, 2019 - 2:00pm
Ferry Service, Camping Open August 30,...   

Most park facilities closed from the effects of Hurricane Florence will be open and operational beginning Friday, August 30, 2019. Ferry service to Bear Island will leave the mainland every 30 minutes Friday - Monday (Labor Day) from 9:30 to 5:30pm.  There will be NO ferry service Tuesday, September 3, 2019.  The bathhouse with drinking water, restroom facilities, and showers for our campers will be open.  Camping reservations will be available on-line and at the call center for the night of August 30th forward, holiday minimums for the Labor Day weekend apply. Huggins Island will be open for day visits, but Jones Island will remain closed to visitors due to dock damage.  The boat ramp will also open August 30, 2019 for use during park hours, boat ramp permits available at the visitor center.  Please see Hammocks Beach Updates for additional information.

 Last updated on: Thursday, August 15, 2019

Fees/FAQs/Rules

There are no entrance fees to enjoy the park. In addition to park-specific rules, please read the systemwide Park Rules for all North Carolina State Parks.

Pets are not allowed on the ferry or in the swimming area.

 

Ferry

The brief ferry ride takes visitors from the mainland section of the park in Swansboro to Bear Island. Reservations are not required. The ferry is available April through October and is wheelchair accessible.

  • *Carts and wagons are prohibited on passenger ferries due to space and weight limitations.
  • Passenger conveyance devices, such as strollers and wheelchairs, are allowed.

*Please note that carts and wagons are not permitted on the ferry unless collapsible. The ferry captain reserves the right to request wagons and carts be emptied and stowed under the seats until passengers get off the ferry.

 

Schedule

Click the image below to download and/or print the ferry schedule.

Hammocks Beach State Park – Ferry Schedule 2019

 

Fees

  • Adult round trip: $6
  • Senior Citizen (62 or older) round trip: $4
  • Children ages 3 to 12 round trip: $4
  • **North Carolina State Parks Annual Individual Pass (covers Hammocks Beach State Park ferry rides for one person): $75
  • **North Carolina State Parks Friends and Family Annual Pass (covers Hammocks Beach State Park ferry rides for six people): $125

Children ages 2 and under are free but still require a ticket. Children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult.

The non-transferrable **Individual Pass is sold at the visitor center office for $75 for the individual pass (good for one ferry ticket) and $125 for the Friends and Family Pass (good for six ferry tickets). The passes are good for the calendar year's ferry season (April to October).

**Please see complete information, benefits and restrictions for the Annual Pass program.

With the purchase of initial ferry tickets and multiple nights camping, campers are permitted one free round trip ferry ride per day. Current camp permit with attached receipt for ferry tickets must be presented at the park office to receive ferry tickets at no charge.

 

Fishing

A North Carolina Coastal Recreational Fishing License is required to fish in the park. There is no fishing access on the mainland.

 

Swimming

A portion of the beach is a designated swimming area. There are lifeguards on duty in the designated swimming area most days from Memorial Day through Labor Day.

 

Permits

Event permits. Some events—such as weddings, athletic contests, company parties, etc.—may require a Special Activity Permit. If you're unsure whether such a permit is necessary for your event, call the park office beforehand. You can download a Special Activity Permit application or obtain one from the park office.

Research and collection permits. A permit is required for any project involving the collection, removal or disturbance of any natural or cultural resource of any state park unit and for projects that require placing monitoring equipment in any state park unit. Learn more about research and collection permits or fill out a permit application online.

A $25 fee will be charged for all returned checks.

 

More FAQS

Are there bears on Bear Island?

Usually no, but there is a large population of black bear in eastern North Carolina. Any bears seen in the area are usually juvenile males displaced from another adult males range. In 1993, black bear tracks were found wandering around the beach, but bears were never spotted in the park.

OK then, how did Bear Island get its name?

It was originally named Bare Island due to its lack of vegetation. An early map maker changed the island's spelling to Bear to match the mainland community of Bear Creek.

How big is Bear Island?

Just under 900 acres. The island is roughly 3.5 miles long by 0.5 mile wide.

How long is the walk to the beach from the ferry dock, once you reach the island?

It is 0.5 mile to the beach.

What kind of walking path is available on the island?

It is a pebbled path that turns to sand once you reach the beach. The bathhouse area is an elevated wooden walkway.

Can you push a stroller on the path?

Most strollers can be pushed on the path, but keep in mind that the path turns to loose beach sand once you reach the beach.

What facilities are on Bear Island?

  • bathhouse
  • restrooms
  • picnic area
  • front porch
  • outdoor showers

Do you have food for sale on the island?

The park operates a small concession canteen (open from Memorial Day to Labor Day). It sells basic snack foods such as chips, candy bars, crackers, ice cream and cold drinks. The concession stand accepts cash only.

Can you buy ice on the island?

No, the only ice on the island is the ice you bring with you.

Is there shade on the island?

The bathhouse facilities offer shade, but there is very little natural shade on the island.

Is there a protected swim beach?

Yes, between Memorial Day to Labor Day, but this schedule is subject to change based on seasonal lifeguard availability. Check at the visitor services desk at the mainland visitor center for any scheduling changes of lifeguards.

Is shelling allowed?

Shelling is permitted, but you may not take driftwood or any vegetation (live or dead).

What type of camping is available at Hammocks Beach State Park?

Primitive backpack camping is the only camping available at Hammocks Beach State Park. Also, all campsites are located on Bear Island. There is no camping available on the mainland nor on Huggins or Jones Islands.

Where are the campsites located on Bear Island?

11 of the 14 campsites are located along the beachfront approximately 0.12 mile apart. The other three sites are located on the sound side of the island toward Bogue Inlet. The soundside sites are accessible only by private boat, canoe or kayak, and there is no walking or hiking access to the bathhouse from these sites. Please see the park map for more information.

Where and when can you register for a campsite?

Campsites can be reserved online at our reservations website. You can also call the call center at 1-877-722-6762. You MUST check in at the visitor center PRIOR to going to the island.

Where do I check in?

At the visitor center/visitor services desk on the mainland, one hour before the visitor center closes on the day you camp.

Why do I need to check in?

A parking pass is required for all vehicles left in the visitor center parking lot overnight. Parking passes are obtained when you check in. Vehicles may be towed if left in the parking lot without a parking pass.

What do I need to check in?

You will need a copy of your reservation confirmation along with a valid driver's license and the description — including make, model, year and color — and the license plate number of any vehicle left in the parking lot overnight. The name on the confirmation and driver's license MUST be the same.

How much does it cost to camp?

The cost is $15 a night, per site. This includes a $3 surcharge that covers the cost of the reservation system.

How many people may occupy a campsite?

Each site accommodates up to six people and two tents.

What does each campsite have?

Sites 1 to 11 have picnic tables, but sites 12 to 14 do not. The sites are very primitive.

How close are the campsites?

It varies. Sites 1 to 11 are roughly 30-40 yards apart. You may be able to see the neighboring campsites.

What campsites are accessible by boat or paddling?

Sites 12-14 are accessible only by boat or paddling, due to their location near Bogue Inlet on the sound side. Campers are not able to walk or hike to these sites due to the crossing of water that may be over 4 feet high at times.

Can you have fires on Bear Island or at your campsite?

No, open fires are not allowed in the park. We recommend propane or backpack camp stoves.

How do you extend your camping permit on Bear Island?

We strongly recommend that you pay for the number of nights for which you intend on staying. Often, campers decide to extend their stay once they have reached the island. Keep in mind that the campsite you are occupying may be reserved by someone else for the additional day(s) or you may need to move to an available campsite. Any changes to existing reservations will be charged a $10 service charge.

Are there campsites on the mainland?

No.

Are there any other campsites in the area besides Bear Island?

Yes, the Cedar Point Campground at the Croatan National Forest is nearby.

Does the park give refunds for bad weather or any other reason?

Any changes or cancellations made prior to the scheduled arrival date will result in a $10 service charge. Cancellations made on the scheduled arrival date will be charged one night's camping for each reservation as well as the $10 service charge. No refunds will be issued for no-shows, cancellations or early departures after the date of arrival. Refunds will be made using the same method of the original transaction, e.g. credit card will refund to a credit card, etc. This applies to all methods of payment, including credit card, gift card, check and cash payment. If a camper does not show up on their first reservation night, they must contact the park by 3 p.m. the next day to inform them of their arrival. If the park doesn't hear from the camper by 3 p.m. the next day, the site will then be considered a no-show and site will be opened to other campers.

When camping, must ferry tickets be purchased if taking the ferry back to the mainland for additional supplies or ice and returning to the campsite on Bear Island?

With the purchase of initial ferry tickets and multiple nights of camping, campers are permitted one free round-trip ferry ride per day. Current camping permit with attached receipt for ferry tickets must be presented at the visitor center to receive ferry tickets at no charge.

Can you make reservations for the ferry?

No, it is first-come, first-served.

What is the fee for the park's ferry?

$6 per adult (ages 13 and up)
$4 per child (ages 3 to 12)
$4 for senior citizens (62 and older)

Children ages 2 and under are free, but still require a ticket.
Children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult.

What is the fee for a season pass to the ferry?

The non-transferrable Individual Pass** is sold at the visitor center office for $75 for the individual pass (good for one ferry ticket per day) and $125 for the Friends and Family Pass** (good for six ferry tickets per day). The passes are good for the calendar year's ferry season (April to October).

**Please see complete information, benefits and restrictions for the Annual Pass program.

What payment types are accepted for ferry ticket purchases?

We gladly accept cash, checks, Visa and MasterCard for the amount of purchase. Checks, Visa and MasterCard require proper identification.

What is the ferry capacity?

35 passengers.

How long is the ferry ride to Bear Island?

About 15 minutes.

Are pets allowed on the ferry?

No, pets are not allowed on the ferry due to state health codes.

What items can you carry on the ferry?

All equipment must fit through the ferry's gate. You will be responsible for carrying the items to the beach once on the island. We encourage you to pack light "and leave half of that at home." Surfboards, fishing gear and strollers are allowed. Carts and wagons are not permitted unless collapsible. Park staff reserve the right to suspend the use of collapsible carts due to space and weight limitations at any time. Kayaks and other large items are not allowed on the ferry.

When camping, must ferry tickets be purchased if taking the ferry back to the mainland for additional supplies or ice and returning to the campsite on Bear Island?

With the purchase of initial ferry tickets and multiple nights of camping, campers are permitted one free round trip ferry ride per day. Current camping permit with attached receipt for ferry tickets must be presented at the visitor center to receive ferry tickets at no charge.

Thanks to the stewardship of numerous local residents and a grant provided by the North Carolina Clean Water Trust Fund, North Carolina Natural Heritage Trust Fund, and the North Carolina Division of State Parks, Huggins Island was purchased and is now permanently preserved, providing expanded low-impact recreational opportunities for visitors to Hammocks Beach State Park. This water quality protection and enhancement project will help to safeguard the state's investment in Huggins Island.

What is there to do on Huggins Island?

Huggins Island is currently considered a nature preserve, due to its unique cultural and natural history. The island has suffered damage to its upland areas, so it has become overgrown, with an impenetrable blanket of foliage. There are no plans to develop the island at this time.

Is camping allowed on Huggins Island?

No, camping is prohibited on Huggins Island. However, paddlers may enjoy the 6-mile paddle trail that goes around the island.

Jones Island is a 23.46-acre coastal island located at the mouth of the White Oak River. The North Carolina Coastal Federation purchased a portion of the island from landowners through a grant from the North Carolina Clean Water Management Trust Fund. Additional property was donated by the Audubon Society. Together, the two properties were given to the state of North Carolina to be included as part of Hammocks Beach State Park. This unique coastal fringe evergreen forest contains a small wetland area and is considered regionally significant. The island is home to a variety of birds such as the stunning painted bunting. An abundance of wildflowers in the open areas attract butterflies such as the American lady and swallowtails. Mammals on the island include river otter, raccoons and white-tailed deer.

What is there to do on Jones Island?

Jones Island is currently considered a nature preserve and is accessible only by private boat. Plans are in the works to build a small interpretive and educational facility in the future.

Is camping allowed on Jones Island?

No, camping is prohibited on Jones Island. Camping is available only on Bear Island.

How big is Hammocks Beach State Park?

The entire park consists of four main areas; the mainland, Bear Island, Huggins Island and Jones Island. The entire park encompasses nearly 1,160 acres.

Does the park offer any trails?

We do not have any hiking trails, but we do currently offer two paddle trails. See the Trails page or the paddle map for more information.

How long is the paddle to Bear Island via the park paddle trail?

The trail is 2.6 miles long. Depending on the tides and weather conditions, your paddle times may vary from 1 to 3 hours.

How long is the paddle around Huggins Island via the park paddle trail?

The trail is approximately 6 miles long. Depending on the tides and weather conditions, your paddle times may vary from 2 to 4 hours.

Does the park rent canoes or kayaks?

No. However, Hidden Coast Adventure is a seasonal concessionaire at the park, which offers kayak, canoe and stand-up paddleboard tours and rentals. Please view their website at paddlenc.com or contact them by phone at 910-612-3297 for additional information.

 

 

 


Map of North Carolina

 

Contact

910-326-4881

hammocks.beach@ncparks.gov

 

Addresses

Park office

1572 Hammock Beach Road
Swansboro, NC 28584

GPS: 34.671, -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:
    8:00am to 5:00pm
    daily
     
  • June to August:
    8:00am to 6:00pm
    daily
     
  • Closed Christmas Day
     
 
     » FERRY SCHEDULE