Venture to Bear Island and reward yourself with vivid memories of one of the most unspoiled beaches on the Atlantic coast. Accessible only by passenger ferry or private boat, there's just one thing at Hammocks Beach that's crowdedthe list of things to do. Stroll the beach with laughing gulls and sandpipers. Cast a baited hook into endless rows of foaming breakers. Discover tiny specimens of marine life in tidal pools and mudflats. Use a camera or paintbrush to capture the green and gold grasses that color the salt marshes. Spend the night among the sand dunes, or simply bask in the sun and do nothing at all. Secluded and tranquil, free from intruding commercialism, Hammocks Beach may not be for everyone, but the island is a retreat for people who welcome the challenges of relentless sun, sand, sea and sky.
I ran along the beach- from the entance area to the south tip of the island, A nice run. At one point during my run, there was absolutely no one around- the only noice came from crashing waves and seagull. While the distance is not far- only a couple of miles- make sure to bring plenty of water, especially during summer. The reward for making it to the tip of the island- a nice view and lots of large,well-preserved shells.
Great park, but the trail is not your traditional hiking experience. I camped overnight on Bear Island (if you would like to, reservations are a good idea). At the mainland entrance to the park you pick up your ferry ticket and if camping check in. From there you take a people only ferry (no pets or carts allowed) and dock at Bear Island. From the ferry dock there is a paved 1/2 mile trail that leads to the bathhouse and then to the beach. The beach is the rest of your trail. If camping you take a left on to the beach and starting around 1/4 of a mile you will start finding the camp site markers in the dunes. Yes you will have to climb over the dune with all of your stuff. Campers to have access to the bathhouse and water, but you will have to walk for both. It is best to treat camping there as a true backpacking trip. It's more work than car camping, but was totally worth having an almost empty island all night and in to the morning. All the day visitors enjoy the beach and wild life that is there.
From the ferry dock it's about 1/2 mile to the beach along a paved path. You come out about halfway up the 4 mile long island. They ask you to stay off the dunes and there are no paths on the western side so you really only can walk along the beach. Its pristine and uncrowded, with 11 campsites for which you can register at the visitor center.