Paddling over also takes you to the more remote — and interesting — east end of 3-mile-long Bear Island. During the summer, a frequent ferry shuttles visitors from the mainland to the middle of the island. Those folks could walk to the east end, but few do, preferring to stay within close proximity to the bathhouse and concession area. Rather, you’ll have this part of the island, with its bluff cloaked in maritime forest, to yourself and other hardy paddlers. This end of the island is also where you’ll find the designated camp sites. Paddle over in the offseason and there’s a good chance you’ll have the entire island to yourself.
Getting there: From NC 24 in Swansboro go south on Hammocks Beach Road for just over 2 miles, to the park. Map here.
Access and shuttle: No shuttle. See above for access.
Length: 2.6 miles
Time to complete: 2 hours
Location: Hammocks Beach State Park
Put-in latitude: 34.6710
Put-in longitude: -77.1429