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Saturday, May 21, 2016

A Walk on Bear Island

It turns out the best beach requires a ferry ride.  Luckily it's only $5 to get the round trip out to Hammocks Beach State Park in Swansboro.  If you're lucky you can even spot dolphins, we saw them from the dock but a group of school kids got to watch them frolic alongside their ferry.

Plenty of boat traffic in the channel along the way, folks enjoying the sun and the fishing.

The birds enjoy the fishing too, and don't seem to mind the boat traffic.  Hopefully the creatures underwater know to stay out of the shipping lane.

It's less than 15 minutes to the dock, boats leave the park on the bottom of the hour and leave the barrier island on the hour.

From the dock it's a paved 1/2 mile walk to the beach.  There is some vegetation on the dunes including small cacti that were blooming.

Showers, bathrooms and picnic facilities are available as are primitive campsites.  Bring everything you need but water!  No concessions were available, at least not at this time of year.  If I am ever in the area again I'm packing a tent to see this place in the morning before the people start arriving!

The island is just one big beach, dunes are off limits in order to protect the habitat.  Barrier islands protect the mainland from storms and provide homes to many animals including industrious little sanderlings chasing the waves to find their food.

The beach is also home to crabs, probably ghost crabs who come out at night.  Another good reason to pack a tent, though I wonder how curious they are and if I would hear them scuttling around while I was trying to sleep?

Shells that wash up on the shore are the only thing that you are allowed to remove from the island, but it was picked pretty clean by the time we arrived.  We walked about a mile in one direction and then turned back around and headed back for the dock.

On our return trip down the beach we saw a flock of brown pelicans.  A first for us!

On the ferry back we saw a couple of Laughing Gulls having a chuckle.  Not as exciting as dolphins, but still fun to watch!

Linking up to Saturday's Critters.


  1. Hello Pam, wonderful post and looks like a great park and beach. The ferry ride seems like part of the fun seeing the dolphins. Great birds, I love the herons and pelicans. The Laughing Gulls can get pretty loud! Great photos. Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Happy Sunday, enjoy your day and the week ahead.

  2. A solitary place but one teeming with interesting life.

  3. Nice place to go though there does not look to be that many people around