With the many beaches and rivers in Eastern North Carolina, plenty of boat ramps, kayak and canoe launches and fishing areas come with that.


Wherever you decide to enter the water in ENC, you’ll likely encounter either the Neuse or Trent rivers at some point.


The Neuse River is the longest river entirely contained in North Carolina. It averages a width of three miles from New Bern to the Intracoastal Waterway (which spas across 300 miles of rivers, sounds, creeks and marshes) and is six miles wide at its widest point.


Smaller than the Neuse, the Trent River flows into areas in Jones, Craven and Lenoir counties with depths between 6-35 feet.


In Jacksonville, boaters and water enthusiasts head to the New River, a 50-mile-long river that leads to the Atlantic Ocean.


There are numerous ways to enjoy these and other waterways throughout ENC. Here are some of the more popular places to get your day on the water started.


Lawson Landing Boat Ramp


1309 Country Club Road


New Bern, NC 28560


Hours: Open daily 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.


The launching areas in Lawson Creek Park are easily accessible a straight drive down the park’s entryway. Boat launching area one has three launching lanes as well as courtesy docks, while launching area two features two launching lanes as well as an on-site courtesy dock. There is also an open parking area near the launches and areas for picnics.


Union Point Boat Ramp


218 E. Front St.


New Bern, NC 28560


Hours: Daily 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.


Within the scenic six acres at Union Point Park at the point of the Neuse and Trent rivers in downtown New Bern are a park, gazebo and duck-feeding spot. This spot has two boat launching lanes and is in the middle of many hotels, restaurants and shops. It is one of the more commonly used places in New Bern for boating due to its central location.


Glenburnie Park


340 Glenburnie Park


New Bern, NC 28560


Hours: Open daily 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.


The beautifully wooded area along the Neuse River includes a park and boat landing for kayakers, mariners and fishermen, as well as several covered pavilions and grilling stations for families or special events. The park also has a playground, dog park and 18-hole Frisbee golf course.


Oriental Boat Ramp


301 Midyette St.


Oriental, NC 28571


Hours: Open 24/7


The small town of Oriental in Pamlico County prides itself as “North Carolina’s sailing capital.” Whether you’re taking advantage of town regattas or just cruising and relaxing, Oriental has two public docks at their boat ramp for regular-sized boats (Town Dock 1 and Town Dock 2). It also has docks for smaller boats and dinghies as well.


Bear Island


1572 Hammock Beach Road


Swansboro, NC 28584


Hours: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. September through May and 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. June through August


Whether you have a boat of your own or not, you can take advantage of the ferry out of Hammocks Beach State Park in Swansboro to reach Bear Island. The island is also accessible by private boat, canoe and kayak, allowing water enthusiasts to explore the marsh along the way. The island is ideal for fishing, swimming or picnicking and is fun for kayakers and paddleboarders as well.


Jacksonville Landing


135 S. Marine Blvd.


Jacksonville, NC 28540


Hours: Open 24/7


In Onslow County, the New River serves as a place for boating and fun. Access to the river is available at Jacksonville Landing next to Buddy Phillips Bridge, which has three boat launches, two docks, and a canoe and kayak launch. The landing offers 69 parking spaces for vehicles with trailers and 60 passenger vehicle spaces. The site also includes a 2,000 square foot welcome center, but construction on it has not yet begun.


Northeast Creek Park


910 Corbin Road


Jacksonville, NC 28540


Hours: Open 24/7


You can also access the New River at Northeast Creek Park through their boat launch, kayak launch, or fishing area. The park offers boat and trailer parking as well as ball fields, a disc golf course, splash pad, playgrounds and shelters for picnics or gatherings.


Riverwalk Marina


15 Kerr St.


Jacksonville, NC 28540


Hours: 7a.m. - 9 p.m.


Riverwalk Marina currently offers a kayak launch, picnic spot and fishing area. The City of Jacksonville purchased the marina in 2015 and has plans underway for renovations for 15 boat slips, an over the water shelter, and fishing pier. The updated marina will also include an enhanced kayak and canoe launch, boardwalk and pump out station.


Wetherington Landing


563 N.C. 55


Kinston, NC 28504


Hours: Open 24/7


Wetherington Landing, built in 2014 in partnership with the N.C. Wildlife Commission, offers five acres of access to the Neuse River and features a floating dock and two launch ramps. The access area also includes a paved parking lot with 31 trailer spaces and 11 single-vehicle spaces.