Select a topic below to see the frequently asked questions.
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, it was never spotted in the park though.
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 islands 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 .5 mile wide.
How long is the walk to the beach from the ferry dock, once you reach the island?
It is .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 walk way.
Can you push a stroller on the path?
Most strollers can be pushed on the path, but keep in mind the path turns to loose beach sand once you reach the beach.
What facilities are on Bear Island?
Do you have food for sale on the island?
The park operates a small Concession Canteen (Memorial Day - 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, (Memorial Day - 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 Back Pack 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 Huggins or Jones Islands.
Where are the campsites located on Bear Island?
11 of the 14 campsites are located along the beachfront approximately 1/8 of a mile apart. The other 3 sites are located on the sound side of the island toward Bogue Inlet. The sound side sites are accessible only by private boat, canoe or kayak with no walk/hike in access to the bathhouse from these sites. Please see the park map located under the Maps and Directions page.
Where and when can you register for a campsite?
Campsites can be reserved on line please click on the 'make a reservation' link on the left or call the call center at 1.877.7CAMPNC (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, during park hours 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 pass 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 License, and description including the make, model, year, color and 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 $13 a night, per site. This includes a $3 surcharge which covers the cost of the reservation system.
How many people may occupy a campsite?
Each site accommodates up to 6 people and 2 tents.
What does each campsite have?
Sites 1-11 have picnic tables, 12-14 do not. The sites are very primitive.
How close are the campsites?
It varies, #1-11 are roughly 30-40 yards apart. You may be able to see the neighboring campsites.
What campsites are boat accessible?
Sites 12-14 are considered boat accessible only, due to their location near Bogue Inlet on the sound side. Campers are not able to walk-in / hike-in 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 in 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 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?
Are there any other campsites in the area besides Bear Island?
Yes, the Croatan National Forest / Cedar Point Campground is nearby and is a great campground.
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 will refund credit, 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 3pm the next day to inform them of their arrival. If the park doesn't hear from the camper by 3pm the next day their site will then be considered a no-show and site will be rented out.
Can you make reservations for the ferry?
No, it is first come, first served.
What is the fee for the park's ferry?
$5 per adult (ages 13 and up)
$3 per child (ages 6 to 12)
$3 for senior citizens
Children ages 5 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 pass is sold at the visitor center office for $50.00 per individual and is good for the calendar year's ferry season (April - October).
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 must be accompanied with proper identification.
What is the ferry capacity?
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. Kayaks, wagons, carts and other large items are not allowed on the ferry.
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 land owners through a clean water management trust fund grant. 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 have a small interpretive and educational facility available in the future.
Is camping allowed on Jones Island?
No, camping is prohibited on Jones Island. Camping is only available 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 2 paddle trails. See the 'maps & directions' page for a map of the paddle trails.
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 hours to 4 hours.
Does the park rent canoes or kayaks?