Queens Creek is a great little ENC paddle spot, located near the towns of Hubert and Swansboro. It also happens to be just around the corner from the kayak launch at Hammocks Beach State Park (our last post:). It's closeness to other launches is kinda important since the creek doesn't actually have the most convenient launch sites for paddlers.
For this post we launched from the gravel-ly beach next to the Queens Creek Road bridge. Although many folks use this launch and there's actually a decent number of parking spots, it has a bit of a rogue vibe with a few private property signs posted. This is not an official state launch by any means, and most boats larger than kayaks should launch from somewhere else as it can get shallow at low tide (see a few other options below). For us it worked and I always see people launching from here.
Paddling down river will bring you to Hammocks Beach State Park fairly quickly (especially if the current is heading out to sea). There's been some interesting developments at the park that will likely increase the launch options for Queens Creek in the future. Check out part of the story here as the park plans its expansion after recently acquiring several hundred more acres with waterfront access to the creek. Paddling upriver is cool too - some residential areas and wild parts. The creek gets pretty deep this way.
Other launch sites close to the creek include Shell Rock Landing (reopening January 2018), Great Neck Landing (private ramp with fee to launch), and Willis Landing (pictured below). Out of these three I'd probably hold out for the reopening of Shell Rock Landing. It will be free and have a good amount of parking. Another option is always launching from Hammocks Beach State Park and turning a right to head up the creek.
So, if you fancy a paddle with the locals, try Queens Creek. Add it to your network of close-to-Swansboro paddling destinations. It's nice to have a town nearby to fuel up before or after the adventure. We really love Santorini Mediterranean Grill, great for waterfront views and legit Greek beer (hence our greek beer commercial photo above - #opa!).
Paul & Amber ETC
P.S. - We drank the Greek beer after the paddle, not before. Safety first!
P.P.S. - Santorini did not pay us in Greek beer to plug their restaurant...although we're ready to start the bidding...opa! Opa! More opa!
Psst! - the unofficial bridge launch we used is on the opposite side of the map marker above:)
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