"Hammocks Beach State Park" Hammocks Beach State Park by jmpncsu

Hammocks Beach State Park Travel Guide: 2 reviews and 11 photos

Undeveloped Barrier Island

Hammocks Beach State Park consists of Bear Island and other smaller barrier islands and salt marshes near Swansboro, NC. Only 33 acres of the park are on the mainland - the park office is here as well as the ferry to Bear Island. The majority of the park consists of Bear Island and Huggins Island. Bear Island can be reached by ferry from the mainland or by canoe or kayak. Huggins Island can only be accessed by canoe or kayak. The ferry runs consistently to Bear Island from Memorial Day to Labor day, Wednesday through Sunday in May and September, and on weekends in April and October. The rest of the year, the island is only accessible by private boat. See the park's website for exact ferry schedule and any pertinent updates.

Bear Island is a 892-acre undeveloped barrier island. The island is bordered on the south by the Atlantic Ocean and by salt marshes and the Intercoastal Waterway to the north. Bogue Inlet lies to the east and Bear Inlet lies to the east. Covered by sand dunes and sea oats, the island is a nesting place for loggerhead sea turtles. Huggins Island is a 225-acre barrier island only accessible by canoe or kayak. Huggins Island has dense vegetation, in contrast to the sandy dunes of Bear Island.

The area was initially used by Native Americans who traveled the waters in dugout canoes. Later, the area was popular with pirates, including the notorious Blackbeard, who used the shallow waters to attack merchant ships and hide to repair their own ships. Bear Island, due to its location, also played a role in the US Civil War and World War II, when it was used by the Coast Guard to monitor German U-Boats. Bear Island was purchased by Dr. William Sharpe, who hunted on the island. He later donated the island to the North Carolina Teachers Association, which intended to develop the island, but lacked the funds. The association donated to the state for use as a park for minorities, but opened up to all visitors following the Civil Rights Act.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Beautiful undeveloped beach with far fewer people than other beaches
  • Cons:Difficult to get to - limited ferry or private boat access only
  • In a nutshell:Best Beach in NC
  • Last visit to Hammocks Beach State Park: Aug 2012
  • Intro Updated Sep 7, 2013
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