Hammocks Beach State Park and Bear Island

Hammocks Beach State Park is located in Swansboro, NC, about an hour or so northeast of Wilmington on Rt. 17. Bear Island is an uninhabited island with primitive campsites available on a first-come, first-served basis. The tidal creeks surrounding the islands are virtually unused by powerboats, and have marked trails, making this an ideal place to travel under paddle power.

DIRECTIONS: From Wilmington, travel North on US 17 to Rt. 172. This route takes you through Camp LeJeune. After exiting the base, take a right on Rt. 24 towards Swansboro. Upon entering Swansboro (just past the Burger King), look for the Hammocks Beach State Park Sign on the right. The park entrance is about half a mile down the road.

DifficultyModerate to difficult, depending on the length of the trip you choose, and the tidal currents.
HazardsSand Bars at low tide, currents near the inlet at Bear Island.
Also be aware that the weather can turn quickly here!
TimeAs long as you wish – camping on Bear Island is highly recommended!
SerenityOnce you get across the Intracoastal Waterway, the only watercraft you will probably come across will be human-powered.
Geocache NearbyDudley Island Cache
CampingBe sure to get there early in the peak season (May through September) as the individual sites fill up fast (they are first-come-first-serve).  You may want to get a group of friends together and reserve a group site instead. Water is available on the island (it is about a 0.5 mile hike from the campsites to the bath-houses).  Shower facilities are available, but be forewarned – it is cold water only.