SWANSBORO, N.C. – ”It’s beautiful. I like it because there’s not a lot of people here and you can really walk the beach and it’s nice.”
That’s how 14-year-old Sahara Creek describes Hammocks Beach State Park.
Just a short 30 minute drive from Jacksonville down Highway 24 lies Hammocks Beach State Park. Nestled between Camp Lejeune and the Crystal Coast, Bear Island is the park’s main attraction.
”Having that beach on a barrier island is a very unique feature. Take a 15 minute ferry ride over to Bear Island. Once you get over to that beach front, it’s a nice, natural, unspoiled beach” explains Paul Donnelly, the park superintendent.
If four miles of spectacular beaches isn’t enough for you, it may be time to get in touch with your wild side.
And if you’re looking for the true experience at Bear Island, camping out at one of island’s 14 campsites might be just for you.
Griffin Shaver and his aunt have been staying a night, or two, for the past few years.
”To just get out of Virginia…it feels a lot like I’m free because I’m in the water and it just feels really nice” said Shaver, who is from Roanoke.
The island has been a nesting ground for loggerhead sea turtles for years. Staying overnight may be your best shot at getting up close and personal.
”When those sea turtles actually hatch and they come up out of the sand and they make their way to the ocean, if you’ve ever seen that before or get the chance to see that, that’s very unique” said Donnelly.
And sea turtles aren’t the only wildlife you’ll spot here.
”Traveling on our ferry boats, we often times get to see bottlenose dolphins or a bald eagle fly by so the wildlife out here is a very unique story” said Donnelly.
Whether you’re looking for a little adventure, or just want to get away from it all, try a stay-cation at Hammocks Beach State Park.