Paddling adventures await at coastal state parks

The quest for family adventure and a closer connection with nature just got easier at Carolina Beach and Hammocks Beach state parks with the

Hammocks Beach has paddle trails through extensive marsh.
Hammocks Beach has paddle trails through extensive marsh.

addition of kayak and paddleboard rental services for visitors. This new recreation opportunity is in partnership with North Carolina-based Paddle NC, which also offers paddling instruction and eco-tours from seasonal kiosks within the state parks.

At Carolina Beach, the service is at a soundside beach next to the park’s marina. At Hammocks Beach, it’s located near an established paddling launch, and Paddle NC will also rent a limited number of canoes at that park.

“The state parks system sought proposals to broaden the range of recreation opportunities at Carolina Beach and Hammocks Beach state parks, and this low-impact activity fits well with our mission,” said Carol Tingley, acting state parks director. “Visitors are always finding new ways to use our state parks, and that ultimately leads to more ways to learn about and value our incredible natural resources.”

Paddle NC is owned by Walter Mayo, a graduate of the Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management program of North Carolina State University and he has 20 years experience in the tourism and hospitality industry. He and his employees hold coastal kayak instructor accreditation from the American Canoe Association.

Canoe and kayak paddling and kayak fishing have become favorite activities throughout the state parks system, from fast-water floats on the New

Visitors get a quick lesson in paddling techniques.
Visitors get a quick lesson in paddling techniques.

River to bass fishing at Jordan Lake and swamp exploration at Merchants Millpond. A number of state parks have traditionally rented canoes, and “canoe hikes” with state-owned craft are frequent interpretive programs. But, none have been able to offer kayak rentals until now. Staff at both coastal state parks have had frequent requests for rental services. Both are gateways onto thousands of acres of marshland and island habitat, which offer great close-up views of nature and wildlife.

Several years ago, Hammocks Beach established 2½-mile and six-mile paddling trails to Bear Island and Huggins Island. The state park, Friends of Hammocks and Bear Island and other partners stage the first-ever Crystal Coast Paddle Festival last September with paddling tours, workshops, kayak races and dragon boat races.

Rental rates for kayaks, tandem kayaks, fishing kayaks and paddleboards range from $30 for two hours to $65 for a full day and reservations are available. Complete information on the service can be found here.

2 thoughts on “Paddling adventures await at coastal state parks

    1. Thanks for the comment Jessica. Walter has a L4 Coastal kayak instructor certification, and all of his employees are trained to a L2 or higher level. Although some do have instructor certifications not all do. If a guest is interested specifically in ACA training it is only taught by an ACA instructor as allowed by the ACA rules.

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