This is the way to truly experience the beach and ocean. Hammocks Beach State Park has a welcome center on the mainland near Swansboro, but most of the park is on Bear Island. You must take a ferry or a personal boat to reach the island. Once on the island, you must hike 1/2 mile across the island and at least 1/8 mile up the beach to reach the first campsite. Eleven individual and two group sites are located in the dunes and three additional sites are only accessible by boat. Site 2 was located right over the primary dune on the beach. It was large enough for two small tents and a tarp to cover the picnic table and very private. There are no fires allowed, so stoves are needed. The restrooms, picnic shelters, and a snack bar are 1/8 mile down the beach. The restrooms and showers were clean for beach use (i.e., some sand on the floor). The showers are turned off during the day while day users are on the island and left something to be desired in terms of heat and pressure. There are also 4 outdoor showers available. The snack bar has cold drinks, ice cream, and snack food. There is also a guarded beach during the summer, but the rest of the beach is open for use. Camping here is not for the casual camper and takes planning, but the nights on the beaches are magical. Watching the moon-rise over the beach was incredible. Swimming on what feels like a private beach was wonderful. Shelling, fishing, and hiking made the trip memorable. If you are looking for a chance to reconnect with nature and to experience the beach in a pristine setting, this is the place for you. We camped at Hammocks Beach State Park in a Tent.