North Carolina Coastal Federation’s Summer Programs Join Us for a Coastal Adventure

North Carolina Coastal Federation’s Summer Programs

Join Us for a Coastal Adventure

The North Carolina Coastal Federation is celebrating its 30th Anniversary with a full summer of activities.  Enjoy a slow cruise through a coastal marsh and look for snowy egrets. Hike across a pristine island and learn about salt-marsh critters and hardy coastal plants. Work alongside coastal restoration experts and help build an oyster reef. Or paddle a gentle river and relax with yoga on a protected island.

Marsh Cruises at Hammocks Beach State Park (HABE)

May 4, 18

June 1, 15, 29

July 13, 27

August 10

11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Location: 1572 Hammocks Beach Rd. Swansboro, NC 28584; meet at HABE Visitor Center.

The coastal waters of central North Carolina are magical places. Here, where the rivers meet the sea, we come to nourish our youthful spirit by fishing, sailing, swimming and sometimes, just relaxing. Come get a closer look at and learn about these magnificent waters and why they are so special. The cruise meanders through the estuaries in and around the White Oak River and Bogue Sound.


The marsh cruise program begins at 11 a.m. (please arrive by 10:45 a.m.) at Hammocks Beach State Park (HABE) in Swansboro and will be led by NCCF staff.  Space is limited on the covered ferry. There is no charge for the program, but a $5 ferry fee will be charged at HABE on your arrival the day of the cruise. All ages are welcome, though the program is geared towards older children and adults.  Our cruises tend to fill early so please register as soon as possible at via our calendar.


Jones Island Habitat Restoration Days

June 12, 19, 26

July 3, 10, 17, 24, 31

August 7, 14

9:30 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Location: 1572 Hammock Beach Rd. Swansboro, NC 28584

Since its purchase in 2005, volunteers have been helping with salt marsh and oyster habitat restoration at Jones Island, now protected as part of Hammocks Beach State Park. More than 2,600 volunteers have logged more than 14,600 hours learning and helping with shoreline plantings, bagging recycled oyster shells and marl and placing the bags in the water to create oyster reefs.
This summer we will continue our restoration work at Jones Island. Activities may include transporting and placing oyster shell bags in the water, trash clean-up or scientific monitoring of the restored salt marshes and oyster reefs. All workdays begin at 9:30 a.m. and we meet at the Hammocks Beach State Park maintenance area (first left upon entering the park). Park boats will transport volunteers to work site. Participants should wear work clothing that may get wet and dirty, closed-toe shoes (required) and work gloves. Participants should bring a towel and a lunch. Snacks, water, sunscreen and gloves will be provided. Ages 12 and up are welcome, although some exceptions (depending on tasks that day) may be made for younger children. Register online at


Bear Island Ecology Program and Sea Critters Touch Tank at Hammocks Beach State Park (HABE)

June 6, 7, 13, 14, 20, 21, 27, 28

July 5, 11, 12, 18, 19, 25, 26

August 1, 2, 8, 9

Sea Critters Touch Tanks: 9:30 – 11:30 a.m. at Ferry Dock

Bear Island Ecology Program: 12 p.m. at Bear Island (must purchase a ferry ticket at the HABE Visitor Center for $5)

Location: 1572 Hammock Beach Rd. Swansboro, NC 28584

Get up close and personal with a pinfish, shrimp or flounder during this one-on-one learning experience. This summer, every Wednesday and Thursday morning, federation educators will have a live touch tank, shells, maps and other coastal artifacts set up at the ferry landing dock at Hammocks Beach State Park. Come prepared to ask questions about the sound or the ocean and the critters you can find there.


You can also join the federation for a hike across Bear Island during these weekdays. The Barrier Island Ecology Hike will teach visitors about this pristine island’s habitats, including the animals and plants that live there, along with current issues our barrier islands are facing. All ages are welcome for this 40-minute hike to the beach; remember your water, hat and sunscreen.


Participants for the Bear Island programs will need to purchase a $5 ferry ticket prior to 11 a.m. and will convene at the Bear Island ferry waiting station at 12 p.m. for the hike.






Summer Day Camps at Jones Island

June 13 (rain date: 14) – rising 3–5 graders

June 27 (rain date: 28) – rising 6–7graders

July 11 (rain date: 12) – rising 3–5 graders

July 25 (rain date: 26) – rising 3–5 graders

9 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Got a little one with a sense of adventure? These day-long camps are perfect for them. Campers will learn about coastal ecosystems and ecology, Native American influences and critters through hands-on activities on Jones Island in the White Oak River. All participants will boat over to the island in the morning, study at the island all day and be back on the mainland by 3 p.m.


All camp days are 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Parents will leave young campers at the Hammocks Beach State Park Visitor Center by 9 a.m. Participants should bring their own lunch, though snacks and water will be provided. Participants should also wear or bring clothes that will get wet, closed-toe shoes (required), a towel and a hat or sunscreen Cost: $30/child. Online registration and advance payment is required. Parents can register and pay online at








Kayak and Yoga on Jones Island

June 16

August 2

1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Join April Clark, owner Second Wind Eco Tours, yoga instructor Cheryl LeClair and Coastal Federation development director Sally Steele for a fun and relaxing afternoon on the beautiful White Oak River. We’ll paddle from the Cedar Point Wildlife Landing to Jones Island. Learn about the island’s conservation and restoration projects coordinated by Hammocks Beach State Park and the Coastal Federation. Cheryl will lead the group in a gentle yoga session. A quick swim from the beach will prepare paddlers for the trip back to the Wildlife Landing.


Depending on wind and tide, the paddle is usually an easy 20 minute paddle to the island, suitable for beginning adult paddlers. Yoga instruction is suitable for all levels.


The trip departs and returns to the Cedar Point Wildlife Landing in the Croatan National Forest off Hwy 58 in Cedar Point. Life jackets and paddles provided with kayak rental. Yoga mats provided or bring your own. We recommend that you bring: Bottled water, towel, hat or visor, sun block, water shoes and sun glasses. Wear your bathing suit if you’d like to join in the swim.


Price: With kayak rental: $35 for NCCF members; $45 for nonmembers; Bring your own kayak: $20 for NCCF members; $30 for nonmembers. (Nonmember price includes a federation membership.)


Reservations are required: Call Second Wind in Swansboro, NC at 910-325-3600 or email at




Cycling for the Coast

September 22 (hurricane/rain date: September 29)

Fort Macon State Park, 2300 East Fort Macon Road, Atlantic Beach, NC 28512

NCCF Members: $35 (includes a t-shirt); Non-members: $50 (includes a membership and a t-shirt)


Celebrate National Estuaries Day with a ride along beautiful Bogue Banks. The goal of the ride is to raise awareness for North Carolina’s coastal estuaries and beaches. Funds raised will benefit the federation’s restoration and protection projects.


Our annual ride is great for all ages and biking levels, offering 20K, 40K and 80K options. Start training now.


The ride will begin and end at Fort Macon State Park, at the eastern tip of Bogue Banks. Riders will leave in waves, beginning at 8 a.m. with the 80K group; the 40K and 20K riders will leave a little later, biking towards Atlantic Beach and turning around at specified points on the island. Volunteers will help with safety issues and mechanical breakdowns. There will be food and water stops along the way.


Members of the federation can register for $35; non-members can register for $50, which includes a federation membership. Both fees include a “Cycling for the Coast” t-shirt.


Participants can register online at  For more information contact Sarah Phillips at Sponsorships are available at $100, $250, $500 and $1,000 levels. Contact Sally Steele at for sponsor information.



Take a Hike

During daylight hours, you can hike through a variety of coastal habitats found along two nature trails managed by the N.C. Coastal Federation.


Patsy Pond Nature Trail, Ocean, NC

This trail located across the highway from the Coastal Federation headquarters is part of the Croatan National Forest and is home to the red-cockaded woodpecker and carnivorous plants. The trail winds through a longleaf pine flat woods and contains several small ponds. Three marked trails offer hikes of 0.75, 1 and 1.9 miles. The trail is accessible by foot only. Maps are located at the trail head, at the federation office across N.C. 24 and on the federation Web site,


Hoop Pole Creek Nature Trail, Atlantic Beach, NC

Because of its important values and functions, the Hoop Pole Creek property is listed as a natural heritage area. It serves as a refuge for fish, wildlife and plants, while enhancing water quality. This maritime forest and coastal marshes filter and absorb sediment, nutrients and other pollutants from runoff in Atlantic Beach before it can reach Bogue Sound. The trail is one mile round trip and is accessible by foot or bicycle and is handicap accessible. Maps are located at the trail head, at the federation office on N.C. 24 in Ocean and on the federation web site,

Visit the Coastal Federation

Since 1982 we have worked with thousands of people to bring about better stewardship of our coast.  The federation is the state’s only citizen-based non-profit organization focused exclusively on protecting and restoring the coast through education, advocacy, and fisheries habitat preservation and restoration.  We serve all 20 coastal counties through regional offices based in Manteo, Ocean, and Wilmington.

The Coastal Federation headquarters is a fascinating place to visit. It houses a great nature library, a world-class sea shell exhibit and displays that explain the federation’s programs, including restoration projects that are taking place up and down the N.C. coast.  The headquarters is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 3609 N.C. 24 in Ocean – about halfway between Swansboro and Morehead City.


For more information or to join:

N.C. Coastal Federation

3609 N.C. 24 (Ocean), Newport, N.C.  28570