State Parks Jacksonville NC

5 State Parks Near Jacksonville NC: Explore the great outdoors in North Carolina

I am thrilled to share with you the incredible natural wonders near Jacksonville, NC. This region is home to a variety of state parks that offer endless opportunities for outdoor activities and breathtaking scenery. Whether you’re looking to go camping, hiking, or simply enjoy a picnic with your family, these state parks have it all. Let’s dive into the best state parks in Jacksonville, NC and discover the wonders of North Carolina’s great outdoors!

Key Takeaways:

  • Jacksonville, NC is surrounded by stunning state parks offering a range of outdoor activities.
  • Camping enthusiasts will find plenty of options for a memorable outdoor experience in the area.
  • Hiking trails in Jacksonville, NC state parks provide opportunities to explore the natural beauty of the region.
  • There are numerous picnic spots available for enjoying a sunny day with family and friends.
  • The state parks near Jacksonville, NC are family-friendly, making them perfect for a fun day out.

Hammocks Beach State Park

Hammocks Beach State Park is a breathtaking natural paradise nestled in Onslow County, just 19 miles southeast of Jacksonville, NC. This scenic park is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, offering a diverse range of activities and opportunities to unwind in the beauty of North Carolina’s coast.

state park near Jacksonville NC

Spanning across a mainland area and three barrier islands, including the renowned Bear Island, Hammocks Beach State Park is a treasure trove waiting to be explored. One of the highlights of this park is the unique camping experience it offers. Imagine falling asleep to the soothing sound of waves and waking up to breathtaking ocean views. Beach camping at Hammocks Beach State Park is an unforgettable experience that allows you to immerse yourself in nature.

When planning your visit, be sure to catch the passenger ferry that takes you to Bear Island. This picturesque journey adds to the sense of adventure, and once you arrive, you’ll be greeted by pristine beaches and the serenity of untouched landscapes.

For those who want to discover the park’s diverse ecosystems, consider renting or bringing your own kayaks or canoes to explore the marshlands and maritime swamp forests. Paddling through these stunning environments offers a unique perspective and the chance to encounter fascinating wildlife.

Hiking Trails and Paddleboarding Opportunities

Are you a hiking enthusiast? Hammocks Beach State Park has you covered. The park features a variety of hiking trails that wind through the coastal forest, providing glimpses of the area’s rich biodiversity. As you make your way along the trails, you’ll discover the beauty of the flora and fauna that call this place home.

Love paddleboarding? The park offers an ideal setting to take your skills to the next level. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced paddleboarder, the calm waters surrounding Hammocks Beach State Park provide the perfect conditions for an enjoyable paddleboarding adventure. Drift along the gentle waves and immerse yourself in the tranquility of the park.

Visitor Center and Interactive Exhibits

Before embarking on your outdoor escapades, be sure to visit the Hammocks Beach State Park Visitor Center. Here, you’ll find a wealth of information about the park’s history, natural resources, and unique features. The visitor center also houses interactive exhibits that offer a deeper understanding of the local ecosystem and the importance of its conservation.

From camping by the beach to exploring the park’s hiking trails, paddleboarding through calm waters to learning about the region’s natural wonders at the visitor center, Hammocks Beach State Park is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers. Immerse yourself in the untamed beauty of North Carolina’s coast and create unforgettable memories.

Onslow Pines Park

Onslow Pines Park is a hidden gem nestled in the heart of Jacksonville, NC. This family-friendly park offers a wealth of activities and amenities, making it the perfect destination for a day of outdoor fun.

One of the highlights of Onslow Pines Park is its picnic spots. Whether you’re planning a small family gathering or a large group event, you’ll find plenty of shaded areas and tables to enjoy a meal together. Pack a delicious spread and soak in the serene surroundings while sharing quality time with your loved ones.

For the little ones, Onslow Pines Park boasts well-maintained playgrounds that will keep them entertained for hours. From swings to slides and climbing structures, kids of all ages will have a blast exploring these play areas. Parents can relax and watch their children have fun in a safe and supervised environment.

As you stroll through the park, you’ll also discover picturesque walking trails. Take a leisurely hike and immerse yourself in nature’s beauty. Enjoy the fresh air, lush greenery, and serene ambiance. These trails are suitable for all fitness levels and offer a peaceful retreat from the hustle and bustle of daily life.

Onslow Pines Park truly has something for everyone. Whether you’re seeking a tranquil picnic spot, a playground for energetic kids, or a scenic walking trail, this park has it all. Plan a visit and create cherished memories with your family.

family-friendly park in Jacksonville NC


“Onslow Pines Park is a wonderful place for families. We love coming here for picnics and letting the kids play on the playground. The walking trails are also great for a relaxing stroll. It’s a true hidden gem in Jacksonville!” – Sarah R.

Croatan National Forest

Croatan National Forest is a breathtaking natural expanse situated near Jacksonville, NC. This expansive national forest offers a multitude of opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts, including camping and hiking amidst its stunning landscapes. With its proximity to Jacksonville, it serves as the perfect escape for nature lovers seeking solace and adventure.

Immerse Yourself in Nature

Within the boundaries of Croatan National Forest, visitors can fully immerse themselves in the serene beauty of the forest. Camping in the forest allows for a unique experience, surrounded by towering trees and the soothing sounds of nature. Whether you prefer setting up camp in a designated campground or venturing into the backcountry, Croatan National Forest offers a range of options for campers of all levels of experience.

For hiking enthusiasts, the forest boasts a network of picturesque trails that weave through its diverse ecosystems. From easy nature walks to more challenging treks, these trails provide an opportunity to explore the forest’s scenic wonders and discover hidden gems along the way. Be prepared to encounter breathtaking views, tranquil creeks, and abundant wildlife as you traverse the trails of Croatan National Forest.

Wildlife and Conservation

Croatan National Forest is not only a haven for outdoor recreation but also a sanctuary for a wide array of wildlife species. The forest’s ecosystems support an astonishing diversity of plants, animals, and birds. Nature enthusiasts can spot white-tailed deer, black bears, turkeys, and numerous bird species, among other wildlife.

Additionally, the forest plays a vital role in conservation efforts, protecting and preserving the unique flora and fauna of the area. Its designation as a national forest ensures that future generations can continue to enjoy the pristine beauty and ecological richness it offers.

Plan Your Visit

Before embarking on your adventure in Croatan National Forest, it’s crucial to prepare adequately. Familiarize yourself with the park’s rules and regulations, including any camping permits or restrictions. Ensure you have the necessary supplies and equipment for camping and hiking, and take into consideration the weather conditions during your visit.

Remember to practice Leave No Trace principles to minimize your impact on the environment and help preserve the natural beauty of Croatan National Forest for future generations. Respect wildlife and their habitats, stay on designated trails, and dispose of waste properly.

Whether you’re seeking a peaceful camping retreat, an exhilarating hike, or an opportunity to connect with nature, Croatan National Forest offers an unforgettable experience. With its abundant wildlife, scenic trails, and breathtaking landscapes, it’s a must-visit destination for outdoor enthusiasts visiting Jacksonville, NC.

New River State Park

I am thrilled to introduce you to the scenic beauty and outdoor adventures that await you at New River State Park. Located near Jacksonville, NC, this state park offers a serene escape into nature, perfect for those seeking a peaceful retreat.

Boating enthusiasts will find ample opportunities to explore the majestic New River. Whether you prefer kayaking, canoeing, or powerboating, the park’s calm waters provide the perfect backdrop for a day on the river.

If fishing is your passion, you’ll be delighted by the abundance of fish species that call the New River home. Cast your line and try your luck in the pristine waters, surrounded by the tranquility of nature.

Campers will find their slice of paradise at New River State Park. With spacious campsites and beautiful natural surroundings, it’s the ideal place to set up your tent or RV. Immerse yourself in the serenity of the park as you sleep under the stars and wake up to the songs of birds.

But the beauty of New River State Park does not end there. Hikers and nature lovers can explore the park’s extensive trail system, which winds through lush forests and offers breathtaking views of the river. Take your time and indulge in the wonders of the great outdoors.

As you venture through the park, be sure to keep an eye out for the diverse wildlife that calls this area home. From graceful deer to playful otters, the New River State Park provides a sanctuary for a variety of species.

Boating in New River State Park

Plan your visit to New River State Park and experience the beauty of North Carolina’s natural landscapes. Whether you’re boating, fishing, camping, or hiking, this state park near Jacksonville, NC, promises an unforgettable outdoor adventure.

Hammocks Beach State Park – Bear Island

Bear Island, located within Hammocks Beach State Park, is a hidden gem nestled along the coast of North Carolina. Spanning 4 miles, this barrier island offers a serene and secluded beach camping experience that is second to none. Accessible by a passenger ferry or by paddling a kayak or canoe, Bear Island provides a truly off-the-grid getaway.

As you step foot onto the island, you’ll be greeted by pristine sandy beaches that stretch as far as the eye can see. Set up your tent in one of the primitive campsites just steps away from the shore, and fall asleep to the sound of waves crashing against the sand.

Exploring the island is a must, and there’s no better way to do it than by kayaking through the crystal-clear waters surrounding Bear Island. Glide through the marshlands, marvel at the diverse wildlife, and witness the untouched beauty of this coastal paradise.

Wildlife enthusiasts will be delighted by the abundance of creatures that call Bear Island home. Keep your eyes peeled for sea turtles nesting along the shores, graceful dolphins swimming offshore, and a variety of bird species soaring through the sky. It’s a nature lover’s dream come true.

Island Camping Tips:

  • Bring plenty of drinking water and food, as there are no amenities on the island.
  • Pack all necessary camping gear, including a tent, sleeping bag, and cooking utensils.
  • Don’t forget your sunscreen and bug repellent to protect yourself from the sun and local insects.
  • Practice Leave No Trace principles by cleaning up after yourself and leaving the island as pristine as you found it.

Escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life and immerse yourself in the natural beauty of Bear Island. Whether you’re lounging on the beach, exploring the island’s hidden treasures, or simply stargazing under the night sky, Hammocks Beach State Park – Bear Island is a true paradise for beach camping enthusiasts.

Lejeune Memorial Gardens

Lejeune Memorial Gardens is a beautiful and serene memorial park located in Jacksonville, NC. This park holds a special place in the community, as it is dedicated to honoring the service members of Camp Lejeune and the Marine Corps.

The gardens at Lejeune Memorial Gardens are meticulously maintained, providing a peaceful and reflective atmosphere for visitors. Lush greenery and vibrant flowers create a tranquil setting, allowing individuals to pay their respects in a serene environment.

One of the highlights of Lejeune Memorial Gardens is the monuments that stand tall in commemoration of the brave men and women who have served their country. These monuments serve as powerful reminders of the sacrifices made by members of the military and inspire a sense of gratitude and patriotism.

In addition to the gardens and monuments, Lejeune Memorial Gardens also offers walking trails that wind through the park. These trails provide an opportunity for visitors to take a leisurely stroll and soak in the natural beauty that surrounds them. Whether you’re looking for a moment of solitude or a place to reflect on the sacrifices of others, the walking trails offer a peaceful escape.

Lejeune Memorial Gardens is not only a place of remembrance but also a symbol of unity and gratitude. It serves as a reminder of the strong bond between the military and the local community, and the deep respect they have for those who have served. Whether you’re a resident of Jacksonville or a visitor passing through, a visit to Lejeune Memorial Gardens is a humbling and meaningful experience.

Hofmann Forest

Hofmann Forest is a picturesque forest located near Jacksonville, NC, making it a perfect destination for nature enthusiasts and outdoor adventurers. With its vast expanse of natural beauty, this forest offers a tranquil retreat from the hustle and bustle of daily life.

One of the main attractions of Hofmann Forest is its extensive network of hiking trails that wind through the lush greenery, revealing stunning views and hidden gems along the way. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or a beginner, these trails offer something for everyone, from easy strolls to more challenging hikes that test your endurance and reward you with breathtaking scenery.

As you explore Hofmann Forest, you’ll also have the opportunity to encounter diverse wildlife that calls this forest home. From graceful deer to elusive foxes, and from colorful bird species to fascinating reptiles, the forest is a haven for animal lovers and nature photographers. Keep your eyes peeled and your camera ready for exciting wildlife sightings.

In addition to its recreational value, Hofmann Forest plays a significant role in wildlife conservation. The forest provides essential habitats for numerous species, contributing to the preservation and protection of North Carolina’s biodiversity. By visiting Hofmann Forest, you not only get to enjoy its natural wonders but also contribute to its conservation efforts and help ensure its beauty for future generations.


What outdoor activities are available in Jacksonville, NC state parks?

Jacksonville, NC state parks offer a variety of outdoor activities including camping, hiking, boating, fishing, paddleboarding, and kayaking.

What are the best state parks near Jacksonville, NC?

The best state parks near Jacksonville, NC include Hammocks Beach State Park, Croatan National Forest, and New River State Park.

Can I go camping in Jacksonville, NC state parks?

Yes, several state parks in Jacksonville, NC offer camping facilities. You can enjoy beach camping at Hammocks Beach State Park and New River State Park, or camp in the forested areas of Croatan National Forest.

Are there hiking trails in Jacksonville, NC state parks?

Absolutely! Hammocks Beach State Park, Croatan National Forest, and Hofmann Forest all have hiking trails that allow visitors to explore the natural beauty of the area.

Are there picnic spots available in Jacksonville, NC state parks?

Yes, Onslow Pines Park is a family-friendly park in Jacksonville, NC that offers picnic spots where you can enjoy a meal outdoors.

Can I see wildlife in Jacksonville, NC state parks?

Yes, Croatan National Forest and Bear Island in Hammocks Beach State Park are known for their diverse wildlife. Keep an eye out for various species as you explore these parks.

Are the state parks near Jacksonville, NC family-friendly?

Yes, Onslow Pines Park and New River State Park are both family-friendly parks with amenities and activities suitable for all ages. They are perfect for a fun-filled day with the family.

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