Featuring hundreds of acres filled with trails and magnificent coastline, Hammocks Beach State Park is a premier beach destination along the North Carolina coast. The park is split between the mainland and Bear Island, providing ample opportunities for some fun in the sun. Kayaking, canoeing, and paddle boarding are favorite activities for visitors and locals alike. You can even rent a paddle-powered watercraft at the park, allowing you to take part even if you don’t own or want to bring your own.
Bear Island features approximately three miles of completely undeveloped land, providing a unique chance to enjoy nature in an entirely unspoiled state. The wide beach on the mainland is nestled between the Atlantic Ocean and stunning dunes, and is only interrupted by some primitive campsites as well as a small concession stand near a picnicking complex.
The picnic area provides access to tables and a few shelters, creating great spots for quick snacks or a full meal near the water. Swimming is also an option at Hammocks Beach State Park, but there aren’t always lifeguards on duty, even during peak season, so you do need to exercise caution.
Learning opportunities are also plentiful at the park, including exhibits discussing the area’s history as well as the local flora and fauna. You can also view some of the indigenous species during your visit, including possible sightings of endangered nesting shorebirds and sea turtles.
While dogs are welcome at Hammocks Beach State Park, they are not permitted in the water or on the public ferry. If you want to take your pooch to Bear Island, you can only do so on a private watercraft, such as a kayak or canoe. Dogs must remain on a leash at all times, ensuring their safety and the comfort of other visitors and area wildlife. Additionally, you are required by law to remove any pet waste, allowing the area to remain clean and enjoyable for everyone.