Details for Elizabeth City Waterfront Park (free bulkhead)

Elizabeth City Waterfront Park (free bulkhead)

Display in The Interactive Cruising Guidebook
Average rating 3.6 stars from 29 reviews

Address Water Street
Elizabeth City, NC


After hours contact

Facility type

Marina - NO
Club - NO
Fuel - NO
Repair - NO
Municipal - YES
Other - NO


Not to be confused with Mariners Wharf (free slips or bulkhead). Dock on either side of the fishing pier located in the center of the bulkhead. Do not dock at the fishing pier. The south side may be a little tight for larger (40+) vessels.

VHF channel

Web site

Email contact

Owner, manager



Payments acceptedCredit cards - NO
Checks - NO

Payment info

Payment discounts

Operation (seasonal or year-round)
Year round

Additional info:






Tide & current additional info

Tide is mostly wind driven.


Approach: Unknown
Transient dockage: Unknown
Fuel dock: Unknown

Other depth info:

Dock typesWood - NO
Concrete - NO
Floating - NO
Fixed - NO
T/Alongside - NO
Other - NO

Additional info:

Size restrictionsLOA max: Unknown
Beam max: Unknown

Other info:


Transient: Unknown
Total: Unknown
Transient price: Unknown

Other price info:


Transient: Unknown
Total: Unknown
Transient price: Unknown

Other price info:

AC power30 amp - NO
50 amp - NO
100 amp - NO

Additional info:

Pricing info:

Cable TV (and pricing)

Phone hookup (and pricing)

Water (and pricing)

No - None at bulkhead, but there is a water bib on a fountain in the park if you have a long hose.

Dinghy access

Liveaboard info


Fuel brand:

Gas priceUnknown

Other price info:

Diesel priceUnknown

Other price info:


Pets welcomeYes

Other pet info: Nice park adjacent to bulkhead.

Disability access

Launch service

Pump out




Yes - Reported October, 2014: there are new showers at the park, cost is $5 for unlimited time. Need to pay in advance, check signs for where. Also bathrooms in the same building, which are free.

A health club about 3 blocks away has showers for $3.00.



Yes - Laundermat is located about 3 blocks N. on Eringhause Blvd. $1.50 wash and $1.50 dry. Also dry cleaning located at this facility.


No - It was reported November 2013 that Farm Fresh no longer offers free rides.

Food Lion about 2 miles away on street that runs perpendicular to the waterfront and alongside the museum.



Yes - Several small pubs and restraunts within walking distance. "The City Wine Seller" on the main road. Behind the BHT bank on the one way street is "Logan Reys" and "Thumbers". Good burgers, beer wine and mixed drinks. Weekend entertainment, either a small band or DJ.


Hotels or motels

Repair capabilities

Haul out capabilities

Storage facilities

Fishing supplies

Chartering capabilities

Internet access

Yes - Free WiFi all along waterfront area.

Boat ramp availability

Yes - Small boat ramp is to the west of the free 48 hour city docks. The parking lot at the ramp is designated for cars/trucks with trailors only.


Other services

Welcome Center close with friendly staff and much information. The Welcome Center now runs the wine and cheese get together in the afternoons when a few new boats arrive. They will also accept mail for boaters.


Reviews for Elizabeth City Waterfront Park (free bulkhead)
Great spot, 2016-05-21
Captain: , Colchester VT (380)

Have only been here in fairly calm weather - not sure I would like being on the wall in any kind of east wind. Getting off the boat required stepping on one of the cut off pilings inside of the taller ones. They do not like you to use the posts on the boardwalk railing to tie off your boat so you have to use the large pilings and the random cleats but it is quite doable. Yes, there is shade there however at this time of year it also dropped on the boat a million seeds that got everywhere. We stayed here last fall also (October timeframe) - the town is very accomodating.

Not the wharf, but......, 2016-04-20
Captain: , Louisville, KY (347)

The Museum Of The Albemarle is not dog-friendly, if you are out for a walk with Fido.

Love Free Docks, 2015-10-06
Captain: , Racine, WI (525)

Stopped here on the way south with a 45 foot boat. Easy to tie up here but not to stay in a north wind. Hurricane was threatining so we went back up the Dismal Swamp to the South Mills lock.

I'd Stay On the Northern End, 2015-05-04
Captain: , Annapolis (131)

We docked at Mariners' Wharf Bulkhd but walked over to check this site out for next time. Yes, the pilings are a bit out from the wall but the primo spot would be on the northern end of this dock - closer to the brick bldg. The pilings are low and you could step on them and then on to your boat. This dock also has SHADE.

Stayed night of 4/29/15, 2015-05-02
Captain: , Atlanta (770)

Good free tie-up in center of town. We backed into a slip; the "finger" piers are tiny (more like a thumbnail), but we were able to access from our rear cockpit. No services; bathrooms are only open from around 8 am to around 6 pm. It was free, secure and near town center.

Ghost town, 2014-11-26
Captain: , Portland, Maine (845)

We stopped here on a Saturday and the town was basically closed. Very few businesses open. Visitors center closed on the weekends. We tied along the bulkhead on the western side of the fishing tee dock for a comfortable evening. The conditions were very calm that night but I could see how this could be bad in a southerly. Free wifi was not working.

Great Free Dock, 2014-11-06
Captain: , Meredith, NH (638)

Wonderful experience. Securely tied to bulkhead next to Town Park & had supper next door at The Groupper. Excellent location to visit Elizabeth City. We did not enjoy the Dismal Swamp though guess "you gotta do it once" however this was an exceptional treat at the end of the day.

Great mechanic/machine shop/diver will come to your boat at bulkhead., 2014-10-28
Captain: , Rock Hall, MD (10)

Down Under Waterworks - Mike Mayo, 252-548-1215
These men work 7 days a week, and can fix almost anything on a boat, from machine shop work to underwater, which is their specialty. They come to your boat, are exceptionally conscientious, honest, and are very reasonable .

restaurant recommendation, 2014-10-20
Captain: , Annapolis (1465)

Room for two boats on the concrete bulkhead. The bulkhead to the north has 3' pilings about 2' from the wall.

If you're there on a weekend, highly recommend Checkmate Bar and Restaurant. They have a gazillion TV's and will show multiple football games of your choice.

Free Loaner Bikes, 2014-10-15
Captain: , mayo, md (63)

The Visitors Center loans bikes to cruisers and are very helpful in finding anything you need in the area.

can be tough to tie up, 2013-12-01
Captain: , Wiscasset, Maine (290)

We chose the bulkhead because the free slips were all taken. Had trouble working out how and where to tie up...cleats are spaced very far apart. The pilings/cleat arrangement made it difficult to get off the boat because of the significant gap. We did find one cut off piling that had a rubber tire nailed on, we used this to step on and off the boat. We also had to climb over the fence between the bulkhead and the excellent adjoining park. Rubber tire left black marks on our hull, but once we were tied up we felt secure. It was such a hassle, we decided to leave Elizabeth City behind and maybe check it out on our return trip north.

Good spot - nice town, 2013-11-17
Captain: , Ottawa (1173)

Solid concrete bulkhead with short and long pilings 1.5-2.0 feet out from the wall. It's a bit of a step to get off the boat onto the concrete ledge, but everything is quite solid. Wouldn't be a good spot for easterly winds or if there was a lot of boat wakes, but when it's calm it's quite nice.

You're right downtown, so have access to what facilities that are nearby.

There is actually power near the bulkhead. There are a number of 20 amp GFCI protected outlets about 100' away from the wall. We didn't see anything saying we couldn't use them, so we hooked up to allow us to not have to run our generator when we needed 110v for something.

Gord Hodgson, Oshawa On.Can sv Dancing with the Wind, 2013-10-28
Captain: , whitby (50)

Great free stop no hydro or water but friendly people, Gus the town greeter was very informative, good for pets! fast food and crv pharmacy short walk away. Museum was free and full of local history, also they arranged a cruiser happy hour on the docks!

Docks fine. Avoid bulkhead. , 2013-10-19
Captain: , Lake Ariel, PA (184)

Tied up to the bulkhead to have access to 20 amp outlet. Worked fine until the lawn sprinkler came on, and then the gfic receptacle tripped. Didn't pay attention to the street lights which were very bright. We were swarmed with bugs that left black hard droppings that took a while to clean off.
There is a hose bib under the plate next to the water fountain. Gus, one of the Rose Buddies, was great, with an endless supply of jokes and information.

Sturdy wall to overnight, 2013-10-15
Captain: , St Petersburg, FL (1253)

We tied up for one night but stayed two. The bulk head has some wooden piling a which keep you off the concrete when docking but good fender boards and fenders are required. 20'+ deep at bulk head. Some noise from the nearby bridge until late but fairly quiet for a town dock. Went to Groupers for a great dinner. We really liked access to town from a free dock.

Good Stopover Point, 2013-06-26
Captain: , Annapolis, Maryland (110)

Good tie-up at concrete bulkhead although no cleats -- just strong wooden fence posts. a few good restaurants within walking distance. Did not get to Albemarle museum although heard many positive things abit it. Pretty limited facilities for boaters. Considering location on ICW, good water depth, very reasonable town infrastructure and boat traffic they see, they're missing a trick by not developing the waterfront further fr the recreational boater. Could truely be a destination spot as opposed to stopover location. Very helpful and personable vistor staff.

Free bulkhead but awkward, 2013-06-24
Captain: , Gulf Breeze, Fl (6909)

Good free wall to lay against but very awkward to get on and off the boat. Good water depth and a few large cleats and tall pilings to secure the boat. This the overflow option if slips are full or too rough.

Use caution with east wind, 2013-06-08
Captain: , Ft Myers (91)

We atempted to tie up on 6/6/2013 with east wind. The long bay resulted in chop and there were many short pilings that could have caused damage. The pilings are bare, no rubber.

Quiet night, 2012-11-13
Captain: , Detroit (270)

Docks were very crowded due to post Sandy glump heading south. Found good (last available) spot on the wall accross from museum. No wind or wake for us, very quiet. 47' sailboat, 6' draft.

An enjoyable visit, 2012-10-28
Captain: , Bristol, RI (350)

Where can you go with free dockage, the free Albemarle Museum, a pleasant greeting and cocktail party by the Rose Buddies, and an invitation to see the Sound of Music dress rehearsal show free! Yes, Elizabeth City! Here community members welcome visitors and are willing to do anything to make a visitor's stay pleasant! The visitors' center is working on a grant for showers, restrooms, and laundry services. The community is very visitor friendly.

Bulkhead w/ piles., 2012-10-21
Captain: , Little River, SC (1987)

Quite exposed to winds from south and east pushing you onto the wall. Very few cleats available and getting on and off the boat is difficult due to there being a railing that you must duck under. Few services in town with a lot of closed stores. Fresh Farm supermarket will proide transportation for groceries which was quite convenient. The Rose Buddies had an informational cocktail party the night that we arrived. Very informative and friendly atmosphere w/ a chance to meet other cruisers.
Museum of the Albemarle is woth seeing and within walking distance.

Elizabeth city cement wall, 2012-04-22
Captain: , Lewisporte, Nl. (619)

We tied up to the cement wall across from the museum with one other boat. There are very few cleats. A south wind of 8-10 mph made this very rocky along with boat traffic. Both boats left at six to go find a more comfortable location.

Bulkhead docking, 2011-11-26
Captain: , Portsmouth RI (275)

We tied up at the bulkhead before the dock. The pilings make this difficult. There are cleats but careful placement of fenders and ideally a fenderboard is necessary along with spring lines. After the dock the bulkhead is cement so fender placement is easier but damage greater if fenders pop out.

We were pinned to the dock for 3 days of strong winds.

There is a faucet with no handle at the water fountain. A vice grip works well. The fountain near the slips is closer to the boats.
Would be thoughtful to have water at the bulkhead.
The folks at the visitors center are great, the grocery store van was broken so Susan ferried us to the stores.

The 430pm wine cheese and roses was great and so was the local knowledge for headings south.
A unique place with great folks

The Internet at the slips was down, but they invited us to sit in their offices and use their wifi connection.

They gave us the code to the bathrooms. Would be nice to have showers.

Muddies, the coffee shop is a bit of a walk but worth it. Great coffee and seating, nice crowd and the allowed dogs!

Great free dock if winds are friendly, 2011-11-16
Captain: , Gulf Shores Alabama (748)

Slips are marked with beam width so it is easy to determine which slip will accomodate your boat. Docks are free and are right down town with great walking access to restaurants and stores. Docks are not floating and consist of 4 poles with a short finger pier off the bulkhead. We pulled our sailboat in bow first and tied close to the small finger-pier and had great on-off dock access. These piers would not be wind-protected from strong Easterlies.

Great FREE spot in town, 2011-10-31
Captain: , City Island New York (600)

After a dismal, long ride from Norfolk, through the Dismal Swamp, we were happy to find one free spot on the wall. No water or electric but you are in town, sort of. Farm Fresh Market will come and pick you up to re-provision, call 252-331-1301 for pickup times. If you want good food in an elegant setting try Montero's 252-331-1067, a few miles away but they can recommend cabs (we went with local friends). We were happy to spend 2 nights here and wait out the weather.

Near boat ramp, 2011-10-31
Captain: , Galena, MD (1856)

You can tie up to the docks on either side of the boat ramp if city boat docks are full or weather dictates. Good site with wide dock although need to tie to pilings. We are 36' long and fit nicely not impeding launch area.

Free is Great, 2011-05-11
Captain: , Marathon, FL (458)

We docked on the bulkhead today and wanted to warn anyone using it that there are no cleats so you must tie to the posts that are part of the fence. Also there is a concrete wall that is just below the fence and it is important for you to make sure your fenders are low enough to protect the side of your boat. Mine weren't!!

Bigger boats rig port and starboard springs, 2011-05-06
Captain: , Jaluit (622)

The width of the slip is on the bulkhead but I am in a 17' space (south end) and it is barely large enough for my 16' beam. The piling are about 35' from the bulkhead so no bow lines for our boat.

We went to Quality Seafood for dinner. It is a local eatery with mostly fried food. Tomorrow (Saturday( is the first day of the farmers market.

For those heading south through the Dismal Swamp, the lock tender lets north bound boats through first. Our 1:30 lock out turned out to be more like a 2:45 by the time we were on our way. That didn't leave enough time to beat the rush hour bridge schedule in Elizabeth City.

Elizabeth City free bulkhead, 2009-10-07
Captain: , Patrick AFB Florida (1254)

The bulkhead to the south of the "slips" at Elizabeth City is available to anyone who needs them. The areas both north and south of the small fishing pier that divides the bulkhead are available. Depth alongside is 10+ feet. This is a good spot for those who have trouble getting on and off their boat at the "slips" with the extremely short finger piers, for multi-hulls, etc. Same rules apply as at the "slips."

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