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Hammocks Beach State Park

1572 Hammock Beach Road, Swansboro, North Carolina 28584 USA

“Sleep in the Undisturbed Wild!”

Hammocks Beach State Park is a North Carolina state park in Onslow County, North Carolina in the United States. Located near Swansboro, along the Southern Outer Banks, or Crystal Coast, the state park covers 1,145 acres (4.63 km2) and consists mainly of Bear Island, but also nearby Huggins Island, as well as Jones Island in the mouth of the White Oak River.Bear IslandBear Island, which is four mile long and has a south-facing beach, is characterized by an extensive dune system, a pocket of maritime forest, and a shrub thicket and marsh on the north, or sound side of the island. It is popular with daytrippers, boaters, kayakers and campers. While it serves a recreational function, with a new bath house and primitive camping sites, the vast majority of the island is wild and undisturbed. Most of the animals on Bear Island flew or swam through tidal creeks and marshes to make their home on the island. Fresh water is scarce and only found in a few ponds in the forest between some dunes. Recent hurricanes have had a considerable impact on the oceanfront beach/dune system.A ferry service runs from the Hammocks Beach State Park headquarters on the mainland to Bear Island via Cow Channel. While the ride, which some 200,000 people a year take, is only 15 minutes long, it is narrow and winding. The channel has increasingly become more difficult to navigate at low tide since 1996 due to sand migration in the estuary and a series of hurricanes. Shoaling in the channel has been constant since ferry operations began in the early 1960s, and has worsened in recent years due to hurricane activity, particularly in the half-mile stretch of the channel nearest the island. During low tides, the park has used 11-passenger skiffs to ferry passengers rather than its 40-foot (12 m), 28-passenger boats. The ferry service was temporarily curtailed in 2002 because at low tide, the water was "extremely low" in a 200-foot (61 m) section of the channel. It was shut down completely for several months in early 2007 for an emergency dredging project in the channel route to the island. As of 2009 Hammocks Beach State Park now offers a ferry that can hold up to 49 passengers.

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Reviewed by
shhswimmer

  • 16 Reviews
  • 22 Helpful
June 17, 2014

Very cool experience sleeping on the beach. Woke up just after a sea turtle had laid her eggs just yards away from our campsite. The facilities on the island were great with full bathrooms and showers for campers. Don't bring anything you aren't prepared to get sandy. Make sure you look at the ferry schedule if you have places to be the next day. There are raccoons on the island so bring stuff to seal your food. Definitely recommend this camping experience!

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Hammocks Beach State Park

1572 Hammock Beach Road
Swansboro, North Carolina
28584 USA

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