May 26, 2024

Hammocks Beach State Park (Labor Day Weekend Camping Trip)

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Friday, 08/31/2018 - Monday, 09/03/2018

8:00 am - 5:00 pm

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Hammocks Beach State Park

Join CVT for an unforgettable weekend of camping on the unspoiled beaches of Bear Island, part of Hammocks Beach State Park in North Carolina!

The park is located in the town of Swansboro, NC, and is about a four-hour drive from Richmond.  Bear Island is accessible via a short 15-minute ferry ride from Hammocks Beach State Park, or you can paddle in via the designated canoe trail that winds through the marsh between the mainland and the island.  You can bring your own kayak or canoe or rent from Paddle NC, an outfitter located within the park.  Hourly and multi-day rentals are available.  No pets or carts allowed on the ferry.

I have reserved four adjacent beachfront campsites – sites 8, 9, 10, and 11 (island map).  The camping is primitive, and we will have to carry our gear on foot (backpack) from the boat dock to the campsite (about one mile).  The island has potable water as well as a bath house and concession stand (again, about a mile from our campsites).  No open campfires allowed on the island.  Pack light!

You will be responsible for your own meals while on the island.  From what I have read, there are no bears, horses, or other such wildlife.  I have not seen many complaints about insects in the reviews that I have read (hopefully the proximity to the ocean keeps them away), but I would certainly be prepared.  There is not much shade or shelter on the island either, so bring rain gear and sun protection.  In addition to the usual backpacking gear, you will need cash for the concession stand and a flashlight with a red lens – no white lights on the beach after sunset (disturbs the turtles).

If you prefer not to camp, you could look into staying at a hotel/motel in the nearby town of Swansboro and join us at the park during the day.


Friday, 8/31:

  • 8:00am – Meet at Annie’s place off I-95 near Chester, head for the park.
  • 12:00pm – Stop for lunch at Yana’s ().
  • 1:15pm – Arrive at the park, check in at visitors’ center.
  • 1:30pm – Catch the ferry to Bear Island.
  • 1:45pm – Refill water bottles, hike to campsites, drop off backpacks, return to ferry dock (2-3 miles).
  • 3:00pm – Catch ferry back to mainland.
  • 3:15pm – Get our kayaks, paddle to the island (2.6 miles).
  • 5:30pm – Arrive at the island, drop off kayaks, set up camp.
  • 6:30pm – Meet at campsite #8 for group dinner; then hit the bath house.

Saturday, 9/1:

  • 9:00am – Meet at the kayaks for group paddle around Huggins Island.
  • 12:00pm – Return to camp for lunch.
  • 1:30pm – Ice cream at the concession stand; refill water bottles.
  • 2:00pm – Ranger program (Sea turtles).
  • 3:30pm – Beach time!
  • 6:30pm – Meet at campsite #8 for group dinner; then hit the bath house.

Sunday, 9/2:

  • More beach time; possibly paddle to Swansboro for late afternoon lunch in town.

Monday, 9/3:

  • Pack up and head home.

The itinerary is subject to change, and I’m open to suggestions.  Feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns.  As with all trips of this kind, you are welcome to participate in activities with others or have fun on your own.  But this is a group trip, and we want you to be engaged and spend some time with your fellow Trailblazers!

The cost is $25 (25 Trail Bucks), which reserves you a spot for one tent on a two-tent campsite for three nights.  If you’re sharing a tent with someone, you only need to RSVP for one spot.  We have four adjacent campsites, so only 8 spots are available.

Be sure to check out the park website for more information.  There are lots of great videos on YouTube as well.

See you in paradise!

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