hammocks beach state park.
Website: https://www.ncparks.gov/hammocks-beach-state-park As we set sail and headed towards the coast of Topsail, NC to visit with friends, we wanted to make a small pit-stop and GET STAMPS. With Hammocks Beach State Park on the mind, we ventured ourselves into the small town of Swansboro, NC.
A day full of fun and adventure had already made it's presence into our lives on this sunny Friday morning, as my vehicle had been having some issues. We can keep that part of the story short because other than the point of proving how bad our luck was this day, it's a lame story.
As we arrived at the park, the ground was wet from where it had rained, and we made our way into the park office to get our stamp and buy tickets to hop on the ferry. The ferry takes you to Bear Island, where you take a paved pathway for about a mile that leads you onto the beach where you can spend your time, or even camp overnight.
The office was slammed. A group of 28 people had reserved themselves to camp for the weekend, but had brought about 15 more people and hadn't bothered to tell the staff until right then. We were finally able to collect our stamp and grab our $5/person ferry ticket, and headed down to the dock to await our departure to Bear Island.
The sky was cloudy and dark and you could tell a storm was brewing. As we got to the dock, we could barely walk around with all the food, gear, and supplies this group had with them -- it was insane. It was a group of kids, teenagers, and adults all set to enjoy a great weekend of camping on the beach.
As we loaded ourselves onto the ferry we had to wait while the 28+ people loaded their stuff on, until we had reached maximum capacity. The park staff helped and apologized as we had to wait, but we were fine...after the day we had already endured, it was nice to just relax for a bit.
The group of people were very friendly and we made conversation with them as they loaded up and the sky began to drizzle. And then we set sail.
I'm not sure of the boat Captain's name, but he was a great gentleman who told us stories and kept us in good spirits. He seemed to enjoy his job, and that made me smile. At some point shortly after departure, this "drizzle" became a downpour. He was able to maneuver the ferry in a way that everyone could be as comfortable as possible even though at that point, it was inevitable that we were all soaking wet.
As to insure the safety of my camera, we put it away as we came upon Bear Island. Everyone else loaded off and hid under the shelter for protection from the rain, but us? No, we did our thing -- we ran like wild animals laughing in the rain the whole way to the beach. Why not? It's the BEACH, let's go! We were completely drenched and covered in sand, enjoying the whole place to ourselves.
You can't deny how much fun this was as you look at those two big smiles, can you?
We made our way back onto the pier and came upon the concession stand that was actually a pretty cool place. We were greeted by an older lady whom was very friendly and informative.
She had snacks, drinks, crabs, and a sea urchin! We bid her farewell and headed back in the pouring rain. As we walked along, we noticed a TON of these baby crabs running and scattering themselves everywhere along the path. TONS. We also began to notice the rain letting up, and all the people we had rode the ferry with on the way over, were making their way to set up camp. We all laughed as we passed each other, and commented on how beautiful the day was.
We finally arrived back to the shelter and awaited for the ferry back, drenched, tired, and ready to go meet our friends for a nice dinner. On the ferry we enjoyed another nice conversation with the same Captain, got to see a family of dolphins breaching in the sound, and learned of the surrounding town, Swansboro. When back to the office, the office manager greeted us with a refund of money from the ferry tickets, and two complimentary ferry tickets. She apologized for the inconvenience the other group had caused us, even though we were completely fine, she had felt bad.
I found it very interesting that we ended up meeting so many staff at this park. Literally five people that we were able to talk with, they knew about the park, and were overall generally nice people. I hope the huge group had a great weekend, and we most surely enjoyed our time at Hammocks Beach State Park and plan to come back to camp for ourselves sometime.
Next stop -- FRIENDS. The sun was setting as we headed over the bridge onto the Island of Topsail.
We enjoyed the rest of the weekend in a pink beach house in Surf City. Times of laughter, drinks, food, and good company were endured. The rest is history as the memories that were made, are ours to keep for a very long time. :)
Happy Independence Day, America. Catch you on the next adventure.