Details for Mariners' Wharf (free slips)

Mariners' Wharf (free slips)

Display in The Interactive Cruising Guidebook
Average rating 4.3 stars from 82 reviews

Address S. Water Street
Elizabeth City, NC


After hours contact

Facility type

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


Do not confuse with Mariners Dock (Bulkhead) when writing reviews.

VHF channel


Email contact

Owner, manager



Payments acceptedCredit cards - NO
Checks - NO

Payment info

Payment discounts

Operation (seasonal or year-round)
Year round

Additional info:


Directly off Dismal Swamp ICW channel.





Tide & current additional info

There can be a cross current when entering the slips that requires extra care.


Approach: Unknown
Transient dockage: Unknown
Fuel dock: Unknown

Other depth info:

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

Additional info: Bow in, bring a step stool. Short finger pier will make for difficult boarding for some. Rose Buddies will direct you if present. If the docks are all full, there are some additional spaces on the bulkhead just past the free docks, right in front of the park area. The Dock Buddy has directed boats there, it is concrete so put your fenders low.

Size restrictionsLOA max: Unknown
Beam max: 17

Other info: Each slip has the beam in feet on the bulkhead.


Transient: 14
Total: 17
Transient price: $0.00/ft (2011-06-10)

Other price info: Free docks up to 48 hour stay. If full, you can use the docks adjacent. New restrooms and showers now available, 2014. Locked at night.

Please remember that the folks who are helping out at the dock are volunteeers and fellow boaters and treat them accordingly.


Transient: Unknown
Total: Unknown
Transient price: Unknown

Other price info:

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

Additional info: No power available at the City Docks.

Pricing info:

Cable TV (and pricing)

Phone hookup (and pricing)

Water (and pricing)

Yes - In ground under cover plate by drinking fountain.

Dinghy access

Liveaboard info

No - 2 day max stay. (Has been known to be extended because of weather, special circumstances, etc.).


Fuel brand:

Gas priceUnknown

Other price info:

Diesel priceUnknown

Other price info:


Pets welcomeYes

Other pet info: There's a grassy area nearby.

Disability access

Launch service

Pump out





Yes - $5. New facility opened by the city in spring 2014. Are only open until 5 pm each day. Pay at the visitor's center. Sometimes open a little later




Yes - Within walking distance.


Yes - The local supermarket is no longer providing pickup service. It is about 1.5 miles to the Food Lion supermarket and about 2.0 miles to the Farm Fresh. Farm Fresh was providing a pickup service. Food Lion does not offer any pickup.


Yes - There are reports that the ACE Hardware is closing. 5/2/16


Yes - Several in walking distance including a movie/dinner theater.


Hotels or motels

Repair capabilities

Haul out capabilities

Storage facilities

Fishing supplies

Chartering capabilities

Internet access

Yes - Free WiFi.

Boat ramp availability


Other services


Beautiful new free museum. Wonderful dinner/movie theater.

Reviews for Mariners' Wharf (free slips)
What is not to like about free docks, 2016-06-25
Captain: , New Buffalo, Michigan (600)

The docks are marked with there widths on the bulkhed. The piers are short so backing in is necessary. The piling with the exception of the ones in the 14 ft. wide slip were fine. No power. Bathrooms available get code at visitor center. Museum of the Albermarle is not to be missed. It is free also. Great stop.Farmer's market in park right in front of docks on SAturday mornings.

Elizabeth City is a great stop, 2016-06-10
Captain: , Michigan (190)

The Mariners Wharf slips are situated directly in front of a well manicured park. A beautiful paved brick walk way winds along a nicely painted steel seawall with matching bench seats.

Slips have four large piles to tie up the four corners to to assure the boat does not move or drift into a neighbor. We pulled ahead and stepped off our bow directly on to the sea wall. However, there is a short finger dock if that works better.

Resturants are only a short walk away. Just up the road is most any store you could want. Including auto parts, Food Lion, fast food, sit down resturants. A bit further is Walmart..

Showers and bathrooms are some of the cleanest we have seen in a Marina. For a free dock this is as good as it gets. Do not miss this.

Pilings need replacing, 2016-06-08
Captain: , annapolis (453)

I've stopped at Mainers Wharf a few times over the past 20 yrs.
Same tired pilings. However, the bulkhead is in good repair and the railing freshly painted.

I understand the town's financial situation. And I believe they are doing the best, considering the financial stain. Regardless, my boat is valuable. Thus, I will have to rethink stopping at MW until they replace the rotten pilings, free or not.

I suggest they begin charging $10/night for a piling replacement fund. The Welcome Center is staffed and could receive the funds and issue a tag to place on the bow pulpit, where ever.

The town is nice and the docks are free!, 2016-05-20
Captain: , Solomons, MD (882)

Several people made disparaging comments below. All may be accurate when reviewing a for-profit marina, but this one is free! If you want to look a gift horse in the mouth that carefully, go to a for-profit marina. Just remember to help one another getting into the slips.

We have a 52 foot boat and were prepared to go to the bulkhead, but we fit into one of their 18' beam slips. I am not sure we would have stayed in serious weather, but in reasonable winds it worked well.

The town is neat. The Museum of the Ablemarle was great, the artsie stores were kind of cool and the restaurants near the marina were decent and fun!

Great Free Dock, 2016-05-13
Captain: , Grand Rivers, Ky (1522)

The fixed short piers make it a challenge getting on and off of the boat, but this stop is well worth it. Good local restaurants, art gallery, and museum all within walking distance. Water is available by the water fountain under a steel plate.

We're sorry for the town, 2016-05-11
Captain: , Essex, CT (1675)

They try hard to make you feel welcome. Wonderful to stay for free - although the slips are a bit dicey and I wouldn't want to stay here in a strong westerly or southern blow. But if things are calm its a fine spot. That said, the town needs some TLC. There are dozens of wonderful old homes that are now derelict. It's a real shame. This place could be terrific. But time has not been its friend.

Update on GUS, 2016-05-04
Captain: , Arnold (10)

We, like countless others have met GUS, whose mission has been to faithfully meet boaters when they arrive at the Elizabeth City Dock. We arrived the evening of May 3rd as we were heading back north. We met Pastor Ben at Andy's the next morning and he asked us if we knew Gus and if we would let the boating community know what's happened to him. In April 2016, Gus had a paralyzingly flu and lost 7lbs in one day. He was diagnosed with Guillain Barre Syndrome, is now paralyzed and in Norfolk general hospital. Our prayers are with him.

Cypress Creek Grille, 2016-04-09
Captain: , Belfast, ME (397)

The restaurant across the road from the docks is very good. Check out theimenu on their web site. You might need reservations. There was a waiting list on the Saturday evening we were there.

Always a great stop, 2016-03-23
Captain: , Sanibel (195)

Came in on 3-15-16. Town is always friendly, new showers for $5.00 fee a welcome addition. Plenty of auto parts stores if you need engine parts. Food Lion a little over a mile but Steve, retired Coast Guard spotted us with our grocery bags and gave us a lift. Always a friendly town. On our way North through the bridge saw some new slips free 48 hour dockage next to Christian University , look easy to get on too and protected from South winds. Did not stop to find out about possible restrooms. Not sure who sponsers these docks.

12/20/2015 and 6/12-14/2015 HOT HOT, 2016-01-10
Captain: , Wilmington NC (400)

- Stopped to wait and cross the Sound heading South. Wasn't as hot as spring stop. Ice on deck 2nd morning. Will always stop here. Awesome town.
- Stopped to enjoy the area prior to moving through the swamp canal. Got to stop and chat with GUS, who's carrying on the tradition of greeting boats. Awsome guy with lots of great stories. Everyting within a mile, when you come off the boat, go left to the museum and follow the road on the right side of the museum. Within 100- ydsyou'll start to see the signs. Was in the 90's every day. Some folks ran their Gensets at the dock all day. Not used to that. I ran mine in the evening to cool down. It is choppy with a SE wind. What makes makes it nasty is the back waves coming off the bulkhead. It was survivable with 18 to 23 knt winds in an afternoon thunderstorm though.

Functional and fine, 2016-01-03
Captain: , Eastport, MD (140)

The rose ladies are history, but EC's free city dock lives on. Beam widths are stenciled on the bulkhead. Choppy and breezy when I came in under a dense fog but I tied off without incident. Food Lion isn't too far away, and there are decent resources if you need them in town. There is a veritable carnival every day in the park. I chose to view it from afar. Did chat with some friendly folks who wandered by.

Friendly Folks, 2015-11-07
Captain: , Deltaville, VA (602)

Really must stop for anyone who loves boating people. No power, no water, no fuel, bathrooms close at 5:00pm, charge for showers, and I still give it 4 stars because it is simply a fun stop. Locals stop by the wall just to chat. Gus catches your lines and gives local information (his office is in the shade of a tree). Of course I will stop again.

Very welcoming!, 2015-11-04
Captain: , Hingham, MA (1068)

The tourist Director and people here are the warmest, most weloming people that we have met. Do not miss the Rose Buddies - (free cheese, crackers, beer and wine).
Great little stop over to rest and take a shower. The showers new and nice and cost $5 per person.
The slips are the short finger slips and are wide open to East winds - it is tolerable but not the most comfortable. Not too much directly near the waterfront, you will need to take a cab to the closest grocery store.

A very welcoming community!, 2015-10-20
Captain: , Colchester VT (380)

We had been at anchor the night before and came over in the morning after everyone had left. Bulkhead was easy to get on (a northerly wind) when coming into the wind. We layed up against the pilings and had the one with the tire to step off on!! The town is very friendly and it trying to revitalize itself. Everyone we met was very, very helpful and accomodating. The former mayor came to an evening wine and cheese meet and greet to welcome us all to Elizabeth City. Prette cool! Free docks and bulkhead. Get there early because it fills up.

Great Stop, 2015-09-21
Captain: , Baltimore (80)

Enjoyed a 2 day stop here, was treated to wine and cheese. Great little town, will stop again. Was able to get parts needed in the local auto parts.

Great docks, 2015-04-16
Captain: , Victoria Harbour (50)

We came into Elizabeth after a big blow in Albelmarle Sound. We found the docks had piling widths written on the sea wall and we in good shape. The short finger docks are adequate. With our sundeck boat we have to bow in. Yes we have to climb over the railing but it is all acceptable. Great free dock. Welcome centre is to the left of the docks facing the street in the same building as Groopers restaurant

What a Welcome, 2015-02-20
Captain: , Williamsburg, VA (745)

We have stopped here in past years. This November, on our way south, we stopped here to take care of an engine issue and to wait out a weather window. There were enough boats here that the ex mayor put together a wine and cheeze fest. These folks are so friendly. They're amazing. Many of the town folks sit in their cars waiting to help the boaters tie up. Definitely a must stop if you are in the area.

Another Example of the North Carolina Welcome, 2014-12-07
Captain: , Onancock, VA (172)

An outstandingly friendly place to land and walk around town. Retaurants nearby if you're tired of "boat food". The short finger piers make boat access difficult and there's a cross current to deal with when entering the slips.

City of hospitality!, 2014-11-28
Captain: , Port Dover, Ontario (90)

Catching up on some reviews, was here 4 Nov. Docks are free but have short finger slips with pilings otherwise. Some might need a ladder to get on and off your boat. We managed by climbing off our bowsprit.
The city staff was very welcoming, and threw the wine and cheese social that evening as enough boats arrived. Charlotte was awesome and took the ladies from the two of our boats travelling together to and from a grocery store. Laundry was about a 10 minute walk away and lots of shops nearby otherwise. Used the showers, which cost $5. It was nice and clean
Definately a great place to stop, and we'd do so again!

Delightful, 2014-11-10
Captain: , Milford, Ct (138)

The welcome and effort from the town is really wonderful. After the welcome wine and cheese the city's head of tourism & visitors drove us to a gas station to fill up fuel cans. The Museum of the Albemarle is worth the visit.

town docks Elizabeth city, 2014-11-04
Captain: , Salem ma (30)

This is the nicest place we've been yet. They strive to make boaters welcome. The head of tourism took me in her car to get diesel. There have added showers.

5th Visit - better than ever, 2014-11-02
Captain: , Cleveland, OHio (421)

Fifth visit to EC. A great place to visit, Gus and Charlotte go our of their way to make this the place to stop and rest a while. Had a dental emergency and had to rent a car to go back north. Able to keep our boat in a slip for a couple of extra days.

this year, new showers and rest room short 4 minute walk. No need to hike over to the health club.

Ate at Sidney's, Cyprus Grill and Bryon's hot dog place. All were great. Great food and reasonable prices.

Will return again

This is our fourth visit to Elizabeth City and it just keeps getting better each time. The people here are extremely friendly and helpful. Speciial notes to Gus and Charlotte. Gus is on the docks every day, making sure boaters get into their slip, and getting anything you need or need to know about. Charlotte is in the Visitor's Center, a short 50 foot walk. She knows everything about every place in town and can poiint out that there are 13 restaurants in the downtown walking area. There are rest rooms in the Visitor Center and showers up the street at Fitness Warehouse($5). They are building a new boater's center at the slips, should be open in Nov 2014.

We were holed up here for four nights due to bad weather. Although the sign says 48 hours, Gus's rules apply so that if you have a breakdown, bad weather, etc, there is no need to worry about the 48 hour rule.

Visit the Musseum of the Albermarle, special exhibit about the
"Making of Gone with the Wind". Senior price of only $2.50

We ate at Sydny's for breakfast, Bryon's Hot Dog ($1/hot dog) and Quality Seafood.

$3 shuttle will take you to Food Lyon supermarket. Fresh Foods no longer has their boater's bus.


Elizabeth City is a great place to stop and rest for a day. You can stay for free for 48 hours either in one of the City slips or along seveal walls. Also firm anchoring right off the slips.

Gus is the host on the slips. He is there almost every day to greet visitors. What a geat ambassador for Elizabeth Cty.

Fresh Foods will pick you up and bring you and your groceries back to your boat.

There are plans to open up a building across the street with showers, and a captains lounge.

We stop here every time.

Great City, and we are so happy to have free docks!, 2014-10-25
Captain: , Groton, CT (91)

The docks are a little challenging to get on and off the boat, but you can't beat the price. The wine and cheese welcome party is very entertaining and very informative. A very friendly city, they are working hard to make it welcoming to boaters, so we did our best to patronize restaurants and other establishments during our 2 days here Oct 24-25, 2014.

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

The visitor center has bikes with baskets for cruisiers to use to go shopping or just see the sites.

FREE Dock and Friendly Town Leadership, 2014-10-14
Captain: , Lizella GA (1414)

I spent one night here bdfore entering Dismal Swamp. The city leadership were in the park and were very welcoming. Gus was there to welcome me in and other boaters helped me to dock. The wedged shaped finger piers are old and very short so I had to back in to get on and off my boat. there is a water faucet in the sidewalk in front of the fountain. Showers are excellant een if they are $5. this is a very interesting and friendly town to explore. It would be well worth a 3 or 4 day stay. They even asked me what would make thier docks even more appealing to boaters. I ate at the Island Breeze Jamaican Resturant. The food was excellant and service was good.

A must stop, 2014-09-08
Captain: , North Myrtle Beach, SC (3210)

Tell Gus hello for us. We have stayed here many times. Info is accurate and the only time I would not use these docks is if a strong wind was blowing directly up the river. Eerything is within walking distance, even though somewhat a long walk other than grocery store.

Pretty great for free, 2014-07-24
Captain: , Williamsburg, VA (107)

Spent the night on 7-22-2014. Charming town and friendly people. We did not meet any of the famed "Rose Buddies," but it was raining the evening we were there. We had a terrific lunch and breakfast at Sidney's Cafe & Bistro, less than two blocks from the docks. There were many other dining choices as well. The stubby docks are very low and I imagine that most powerboats will have to back in. The first slip we chose turned out to be too long for a 32' boat and we had to try again. The slips on the north end were shorter. The restrooms closed at 5 pm and there were a lot of kids hanging out after dark behind us, but other than that...pretty great for free. The restrooms were very clean and the shower was immaculate--worth $5.

Boater Friendly, 2014-04-03
Captain: , Belleville, On. Canada (122)

We have been treated no better, anywhere. The city is very welcoming to boaters. The facitities are slowly improving, but that unfortunately comes at a cost. Hopefully they will continue to be able to provide a comfortable stop for us north and south bound travellers, for many years to come. They now have showers and washrroms right at the docks, however they currently close at 5:00 pm, and the showers are $5 each. Get the code from the visitors center.

first timer, 2013-10-16
Captain: , Pasadena,Maryland (510)

Location is conveneient. Gus was very helpful, and maintained watch for incoming boats. Slips were too short for our boat (36'). Location is exposed to southerly wind. Was OK for us with winds from north. Visitor center conveninet and helpful. Dinner at Cypress Creek Grill- very good (accross the street). People were very friendly.

Good visit, 2013-09-08
Captain: , Mackeys NC (123)

We pulled in here around 2:30 on a Friday and we were the only boat. I liked that each slip had there width marked. Backing in was no problem but the finger piers are way to short. Some boats would have a hard time getting on and off. Also the pillings had so much creosote it makes a mess on your lines. They had no bathroom facilites. Would have liked it much better if they had. There are several restaurants and bars in easy walking distance. A Tiki bar is next to slips. We ate at Cypress Creek Grill and Groupers and were very pleased with both.All and all this was a very good stay and I recomend this as a stop or even a short destination

Great job by Elizabeth City, 2013-07-31
Captain: , Weston, VT (550)

Pulled in last Sunday afternoon with our 53' trawler. All slips were empty and we took the widest at 18' for our 16-8 beam. They are clearly marked. Wind was light so backing in was easy. Tiny finger pier would have made bow in impossible for us. Spent a wonderful night at the slip. Unfortunately for us North Carolina is quiet on Sundays and Elizabeth City was no exception. Museum and most restaurants were closed. Would certainly return assuming the wide slip were available.

Jim7 is mistaken, disregard below review, 2013-06-13
Captain: , Philipsburg, St. Maarten (37)

Mariners' Wharf does not have any abandoned boats. There is a 48 hour limit to the free slips there. This limit isn't always strict (weather, repairs, etc) but there are zero permanent vessels. The finger piers, which come off of a very solild wharf, are not in poor shape. Unfortunately, Jim7 is likely referring to 1 of 2 tiny clusters of slips that are also downtown. I prefer Pelican Marina, it is worth the $35 flat nightly rate to have shore power, showers, laundry, ship store, and great people. Mariners' Wharf is good too, a wonderful and friendly option for Elizabeth City.

Nice town but slips filled with unused boats., 2013-06-08
Captain: , Ft Myers (91)

We atempted to tie up on 6/6/2013 to ride out a tropical storm. All slips were full with all but one appearing to be abandonded boats. The boats there were covered with mold and were in disrepair. It looked like a boat graveyard. We walked by later and it appeared the dock and slips were in poor shape. No protection here from east wind. We stayed two nights at the Jenette wall instead and had a great experience in town. The derelict boats were still there when we left.

Must stop here!!, 2013-05-13
Captain: , Trenton ON (658)

This town has got it right. Wish there were more places like Elizabeth City A volunteer helped us tie off and shared stories from his youth and living in Elizabeth City. He considers himself part Canadian :) The visitors center staff will go out of their way to help you, just ask. The rose buddies are a wealth of information, be sure to attend their cocktail hour and learn more about the town and the Dismal swamp route. We ate dinner at Thumpers with 8 other Loopers, food was very good, inexpensive and company was great.
We will be back!!
Just be aware that the slips can be a little rocky when the wind is high. It remains a highlight of our trip.

Great offer of free docks by the city, 2013-05-11
Captain: , Athens, AL (641)

We stayed here four days - they do not make you leave after 48 hours if the weather is bad. It was generally rough with the wind out of the east and NE. If you want out of the wind you need to be on the north side of the bridge. The museum was nice and groceries/shopping/auto parts/hardware, any thing you need is only a short bike ride away (10 to 15 minutes). Good and inexpensive seafood is short walk away at Quality Seafood. Potable water is about mid-point of the slips in the ground by the water fountain if you have a hose that will reach.

Good place to stop., 2013-04-02
Captain: , Beaufort, NC (521)

This is a good place to stop for the night and than catch the northbound lock for the Dismal Swamp route the next morning. Keep in mind that the lock is about 18 miles up the river and the bridge only opens on the half hour from 7 to 9 in the morning. The finger piers are short and narrow, most will have to back in to get from the boat to the bulkhead. The slips are marked for width. If your beam is close to the marked width getting tied up on a windy day can be a chore. The outer pilings are close to shore, most boats will exceed the slip length and have to tie off to a mid cleat. Once you are tied up the ride can be rough in wind or wakes.

That being out of the way, I must say that everyone we came in contact with was pleasant and helpful. We were here very early in the season so they are not completely setup yet. As for the town, I can't say much. We were only here for the night and hardly got off the boat.

Worth Every Penny, 2012-12-02
Captain: , Nyack, NY (556)

I Love this Place. A city that LOVES cruisers! What a concept! Few amenities as you can see by other reviews, But first rate on friendliness and hospitality. The finger piers can be a challenge. I love the architecture and the museum. Nearby "Quality Seafood" serves fresh seafood at moderate prices.

Great stop!, 2012-11-13
Captain: , Perth Amboy, NJ (52)

Glad we stopped! Free dock and they go out of their way to help you at the Visitor Center. Charlotte gave us a ride on her own car to get our propane tank filled. Used the free shuttle service to the supermarket and back. Met some very interesting people at the Rose Buddies wine and cheese party. Will definitely stop again.

Fine stop along the ICW, 2012-11-11
Captain: , Wiscasset ME (1435)

Free slip for 48 hours if there is vacancy otherwide tie up on the wall adjactent to slips. Nothing much here in the immediate area, couple of bars, one nice looking restaurant across the street, Cypress Creek Grill, Japanese restaurant a couple blocks away. Grocery store will pick you up. Short walk to museum and CVS. Clean area but lots of vacant store fronts, just like every other town in North America. Nice place to stop.

Elizabeth City Remains the Tops, 2012-10-22
Captain: , Boston (31)

The founder of the Rose Buddies, Fred Fearing, died. Several local businesses are gone. But the Rose Buddies are still around, and Elizabeth City continues to reinvent itself. It is still a five star stop for cruisers.

We always feel that North Carollinians are the best at friendliness and hospitality. Well, Eliabeth City is ground zero for that. It earns its name as Harbor of Hospitality. Too bad for the 90% of cruisers who choose the Virginiua Cut Route.

Anyhow, that's what we think.
Dick&Libby S/V Tarwathie.

Free Slip & Pleasant Company, 2012-10-09
Captain: , Oriental (270)

You know the saying 'you get what you pay for'? Well we got a lot more! No water, electric, bathrooms, shower, or laundry...but the slips defined by 4 big pilings and with a short finger pier, great cleats on land for tie up were calm, quiet, and protected enough on a Tuesday in October. There is a port-a-potty, restaurants across the street, flush toilets we used when in the visitor center building, a healthclub blocks away where you can shower $5 and BYOTowelThere is a laundromat a couple of blocks away which you can take a bike to or borrow the visitor center large wheeled basket to roll your clothes to and from. Our friends with 2 and 4 yr olds loved the science exploratory museum an easy walk away, my husband loved the museum on local history, and both were free. The visitor center office workers, both paid and volunteer, were exceptionally welcoming, helpful, and friendly. They have 4 brand new beach comber-ish bikes except they have multiple gears, hand brakes, baskets, locks, and the are FREE for boaters to borrow. 4:30pm was time for Rose Buddys wine and cheese social for all boats at any of the town docks.

Good things coming, 2012-10-03
Captain: , Jacksonville Fl (1459)

They are working on a grant to build baths and showers for boaters only. Great place, free museum across the street, pick up for grocery with ride back, just call. If 5 boats come in they will have a Ro9se Buddy wine and cheese welcoming party.

Elizabeth City Mariner's Wharf, 2012-09-05
Captain: , Portland, Oregon (496)

A great place to stay after doing the Dismal Swamp. Free shuttle to the Farm Fresh market at 9 AM, 12 PM, and 3 PM. Call them at 252-331-1301.

Can't beat the price, 2012-08-30
Captain: , Amelia Island, FL (507)

Mariner's wharf is an ideal place to spend a couple days. The width of the docks are stenciled on the bulkhead but proceed with caution. Not sure where the measurements are taken from. The Rose Buddies tradition is now being run by the visitors center. They "schedule" the event when they have five or more boats at the docks. When we arrived there were only two other boats so we missed out. The short finger piers are fixed and very difficult to access if you have a high freeboard. There is no water or electric at the docks and it can be hot. We ran the generator a lot to keep the A/C going. Heads are available in the visitor center building accessible via a code provided by the staff but are only open during visitor center/ adjoining restaurant hours. All this aside, we really enjoyed our stay at the docks and would definitely stay there again.

Great FREE Stop!, 2012-08-20
Captain: , Punta Gorda, FL (2464)

Our experience for a 2-day stop in Aug 2012 was a good one. all the locals we met were friendly and helpful. Finger piers are VERY tiny and might be hard to board for some boats. Call Farm Fresh Market and they will send a free courtesy van for reprovisioning. Sydney's had great breakfasts and Thumpers has great comfort food at low prices (both just a few blocks away).

Page After Page bookstore (across street) has audio books to rent - just rip them to the format of your choice for listening later.

Great place to take a break, 2012-06-25
Captain: , Fort Pierce, Florida (369)

Stopped by on our way to Dismal Swamp Canal. Gus on shore was very helpful when we docked with South winds blowing us into the slip. Museum is a great place to visit. Had a port-a-potty in the parking lot, but was locked. Would stop again if we pass that way again.

A Favorite Stop, 2012-05-19
Captain: , Detroit (647)

Elizabeth City is a great stop. We were able to get into one of the slips with our 52 ft trawler. At the head of each dock, the slip width is written on the bulkhead. Museum of the Alblemarle across the street is outstanding and should not be missed. "Rose Buddy Party" was a big hit with the full house of boaters. Good selection of places to dine it you are looking for a night off the boat.

Well worth a stop, 2012-04-17
Captain: , Balmer (150)

We stayed here for 3 days or so. Plennty of supplies nearby. You can get a shower at a nearby gym. City staff has the info. Laundy down the street. We ate off of the list provided by the city and had great seafood from low budget place down the street. Amazing oyster chowder.

Great stop, 2012-04-10
Captain: , Everett, WA (939)

Can't beat free! And especially when it is in a spot that has a little for everyone. There is a playground just over the creek bridge in the park, a cupcake/icecream place across the street, picnic tables, and friendly locals. Great stop.

Great services., 2011-11-13
Captain: , Chelsea, NY12512 (481)

Free transportation to/from Farm Fresh Supermarket. fpolks working in the office hookrd me up with Steve Atkinson(ex-mayor) who hooked me up with Ken Moore(MarinePro 757-412-7511), a marine service tech who came to my boat, diagnosed a problem with my generator, fixed it and only charged $50 within an hour of being called.

Nice, welcoming people, downtown is hurting, 2011-11-04
Captain: , Downingtown, Pa (111)

Unfortunatly like many small towns the downtown area is hurting. Beauitful old buildings but many stores have closed and/or moved out of the downtown area to be near the Walmart and mall.

They are very boater-friendly, with the free docks and a welcome party at 4:30 whenever there are 5 or more new boat arrivals. Showers are available for $5 a few blocks from the docks at the Fitness Warehouse.

There are a number of slips, with markings showing the slip width and a large face dock. The slips have small, low finger piers that make getting on and off the boat a challange.

The Museum of the Albemarle, just down the street, is very nice (closed Mondays) and there are a couple of art galleries and variety restaurants Chessens department store which is, I believe the last clothing etc. store downtown is run by a great gentleman and is worth a look.

There's an Ace Hardware store and a CVS just outside of downtown (walking distance though) but for anything else you'll need a lift; Farm Fresh provides a free shuttle several times a day, just call in advance.

It's very nice small town that I hope can make a revival.

City Docks, 2011-11-01
Captain: , New York (483)

Very good. Welcoming party and free ride to Lowes for some supplies. Also free rides to Farm Fresh for groceries. Thanks to Karen at Farm Fresh and Susan and Charlote at the visitors center. Good job!

A Must Stop, 2011-10-15
Captain: , Ft Myers Beach, Fl (10)

After a beautiful run through the Dismal Swamp, we arrived in Elizabeth City. It is everything we have heard and more. We highly recommend this stop. Very Friendly and safe.

American Tug "Winter Hawk", Fort Myers, Fl.

Rose Buddies, 2011-10-14
Captain: , Mallets Bay, VT (96)

It took my 3rd trip to Elizabeth City to actually catch this group and other cruisers. I came in late, all the free slips were full, and 4 guys guided me into a slip on the side. Single handing it, it was great having the help of able hands.

And I can say again there is no friendlier place on the coast - ANYWHERE!

Don't miss this stop, 2011-10-10
Captain: , Marathon, FL (458)

You will not find a friendlier boating town on the ICW. We had a gentleman offer us the use of his truck within minutes of docking and we were able to go to WalMart about 5 miles away. We enjoyed our wine and cheese reception and my roses are still blooming as we travel south. There are always events happening on the weekend and we enjoyed a Ghost Walk and a chicken barbecue dinner during our stay. It takes a little flexibility to get on and off the boat, but it is worth the effort. Don't miss the Albermarle Museum as it is one of the best we have seen (and it's free).

Can't pass it up!, 2011-07-16
Captain: , Jacksonville, FL (343)

You get what you pay for as for as the docks go, but a great little town to visit. DQ and a good hardware store are a few blocks up. Visit the Museum of the Albamarle (free) and try the Cypress Creek Grill for dinner.
Yes, there is water available if you have a long hose and check under the plate by the water fountain...

Good in all but Southerlies, 2011-06-14
Captain: , Gloucester, VA (514)

Hey, free is free so don%u2019t expect a welcoming party when you come in, however, these folks (citizens of Elizabeth City) are eager to put their best face forward and they do just that. Just as mentioned before, you are as close to downtown as you can get via water and there is no elect. or water but again you have 48 hours free dockage. Waddaya want for nuttin?
There is a honorary dock master who is a retired naval veteran of WWII who tries his dardnest to help each boater who ties up but if he%u2019s not here it%u2019s up to the good Samaritan to lend a hand and what they may lack in seamanship they more than make up for in determination.

FREE and friendly! A cruising tradition to stop still in 2011, 2011-06-09
Captain: , Key Largo (5304)

You'd be hard pressed to find a better free dock, with water and trash! 2 day limit. A must stop, and don't miss the 430 Rose Buddies captain meeting cheese and wine party.
Grocery store will pick you up, trash and water on docks, walkable to dinner and drinks, short finger piers, check the width of the slip as it is written on the bulkhead on each slip. Some are narrow.

Elizabeth City free dock, what a pleasure!, 2011-05-21
Captain: , Bay City, MI (609)

No one was there to greet us as we had read, but a local person who was not a boater kindly helped us in. Strong South wind rocked us like crazy. We were glad to be back in as the waves were at our bow. Others were terribly uncomfortable. Short fender piers, so backing in is the best. Fun wine and cheese party. A few good restaurants in town. Nice stopover before the Great Dismal Swamp.

Captain: , Annapolis, MD (384)

Stopping in Elizabeth City is always fun. Groceries, a shower (fitness center a couple of blocks from slips), the Saturday farmers market, and getting ready to cross the sound heading south are all good reasons to stop. Chamber of Commerce has assumed the Rose Buddy's role during the week, no weekend wine/cheese/beer reception as of last fall. As noted above, the slips are somewhat exposed to the E/SE, so always use spring lines. Can be a cross-current right along the bulkhead.
Farm Fresh grocery store comes 3 times a day to take boaters up to and then back to marina.

Home of hospitality, 2011-04-29
Captain: , Stratford, CT (658)

Great stop-wine and cheese gathering for boaters, great free museum of the Albermarle acroos the street from the wharf, access to groceries, ice at convenience store a few blocks up from the wharf, great pet friendly parks right at the wharf, good restaurants, Because it was full when we arrived , we tied up to the southern dock (wall) and were very comfortable there. The south winds did not affect us as much as the other boaters in the regular slips.

Great Stop, 2011-03-09
Captain: , New Bedford, MA (198)

Free tie up right downtown 48 hour max. but you can stay longer if necessary. Very accomidating w/ friendly people everywhere. Docks are short and a bow in is recommended. Free Wi-Fi. Call Farm Fresh Store for a free ride to and from your boat for provisioning. Plenty of nice small restraunts with good food. Great stop if your doing the Dismal Swamp ICW route.

Very Cruiser Friendly, 2011-02-16
Captain: , East Greenwich, RI (212)

At the evening wine and cheese get together they had a speaker who warned the cruisers of some bouys that had been moved near the Alligator River and how not to blindly follow the magenta line. This was excellent advice since the following day we saw several boats getting pulled off of that schoal. It seems like many of the locals come to the waterfront each day to help catch your lines and tie you off.

A nice (free) stop, 2010-11-02
Captain: , Sarasota (1427)

Previous reviews consistent with our experience. Docks range in width from 10 ft to 18 ft. Slips were all full while we were there. A bunch of boays went to the side-toe bulkhead just to the south. The bakery/wine bar/deli (a block away) was very good and the Japanese restaurant (Yomana), three blocks away was excellent.

please spend money here =>, 2010-10-28
Captain: , Burlington, VT (141)

Wine n cheese = Weird

pawn shop in bike range sells guns

museum = free but full of confedrate junk (antique pickers dream watch for security cameras)

Old people fall on these docks alllllll the time.

Get free showersw atr the fitness center if the right attractive lady is working.

Convenient for provisioning, 2010-09-06
Captain: , Elizabeth City, NC (241)

It's nice to see a city trying to generate additional business for the local community. Very convenient to downtown with lots of restaurants, bars, and a museum. During the cruising season there is a welcome at the water front (6:00 pm) with great information to be shared on cruising and the dismal swamp.

Truly the Friendliest Place on Earth, 2010-08-06
Captain: , Fort Lauderdale (156)

No faciliites other than free tie up but you are right in the center of it all. Ex mayor Steve came out and greeted us and help tie up and gave us a full overview of services including free pickup / delivery to grocery store, farmers market directly in front of you on Saturdays. Japanese restaurant in town was very good, especially the spicy tuna rolls. Free wifi.

Friendly but exposed to sea breeze but very nice and convenient, 2010-07-02
Captain: , Gulf Breeze, Fl (6909)

The slips have various widths. The face of the bulkheads have slip widths painted on them in yellow paint, although the font/design makes it hard to read, concentrate on the center two digits(numbers) which shows silp width. Deep up to the wall 14 +'. If coming in to a slip on a southeasterly breeze, makeup spring lines to grab the outside pilings to control entering. Wind is the primary force tides are only 6-10". The slips are between piliings with a very short triangular finger pier fron bulkhead to first piling. Water is available from a ground junction box at bottom of drinking fountain located about center of the slips if you have a long enough hose. "Sam" the very, very nice "hard of hearing" gentleman dock greeter will provide a 100' hose if you need it and also cart you to stores as necessary for propane etc.. There is an along side bulkhead mooring available at the west end of the slips nearest the bridge. There is another mooring available at the opposite end (east of slips) along the park walkway just past the Colonial style redish brick building again plenty of water depth but all are awkward to get on and off the boat. All can be roily in a breeze with an southeasterly element but alternatives have been posted.
As of this post they are not strickly enforcing the 2 day limit (in pite of it being the 4th of July weekend :). Sam said the boat vists are down by 50% over last year. The grounds etc. are all still well maintainned and this is still a great stop. Farmer's market in park by slips on Saturdays.

Easier egress on and off the boats, utilities(even for a fee), and less wave action would make this a 6 star stop where we'd never find room.

Elizabeth City Free Docks Must Stop, 2010-06-09
Captain: , Melbourne Florida (4616)

9 jun 10-Still have movie at city free docks on Tue and Thumpers (local bar) has .75 tacos and 1.65 beer
19 jun 09-Great town. Everyone offers to give you a ride or help. Finger piers are short, but hey, it is free. Water is under the water cover next to the water facet, if you tie up far you may need a long hose. Tuesday night is free Movie night in the park. They show old black and white movies. Tie up close to the park and you can watch from your boat. Nice place to eat called the Colonial restaurant. Cheap prices and great food, on Colonial Ave behind Main Street. Thumpers was a good bar with food and pool tables and live music. Make sure to go to the visiter center in the large building next to Groupers(expensive food). If 5 or more NEW boats show up they hold a free cheese and wine party and pass out roses.

Great Stay, but not for the movies, 2010-04-28
Captain: , Chesapeake Bay (592)

Carolina theater (dinner and a movie) is closed (late April). A disappointment for me, as this is the only place I know about where you could tie up for free and take in a movie. (Addendum: I find that Portsmouth VA has a theater a short walk up High St. from the docks at the south ferry landing.)

What more can I say, 2009-11-10
Captain: , Buffalo (1144)

that hasn't been said already. This dock is not only free, but it is in the middle of town and close to everything. Plus this is the friendliest town that really caters to boaters. There is no shorepower hookups, but the rest is so good that it still rates 5 star.

Very Cruiser Friendly, 2009-10-30
Captain: , Port Colborne , Ontario (432)

Probably the most cruiser friendly town you will find. Everyone goes out of their way to make you feel welcome. Check out the dinner movie theater they have, very unique. We were lucky enough to have met Fred Fearing (one of the original rose buddies) a couple of times before he passed on. A very memorable person. The town is doing a great job in carrying on the rose buddies tradition.

Don't miss it., 2009-10-14
Captain: , Old Saybrook, CT (1021)

The original Rose Buddies are all gone now, alas, but it's still a very friendly town to transients. A fun dinner/movie theater. Often, one of the present Rose Buddies will give you a ride to the grocery store. When we were last there (Fall 2007), the great hardware store was in the process of closing down. NOT a good dockage in strong southerlies!

ECity Docks, 2009-09-02
Captain: , Treasure Island, FL (330)

What can we say? It's wonderful! Nice people, free dockage, free grocery store rides, kids science center, museum, restaurants all within walking distance. Definitely take the time to come here!

Muddy Paws, 2009-06-21
Captain: , Ophelia, VA (44)

Great marina and it's FREE. Lots of nice places to eat. The town's people are so frendly and are willing to help in any way. June 17,2009

Great Location, 2009-06-05
Captain: , Memphis TN (977)

Free. Not very wide, but with pylons. Very short finger piers forces you to back in. Location is eveything. Right downtown. One block from a great free museum. No Electricity or water.

Elizabeth City, 2009-04-30
Captain: , Whitehall, Mi (1754)

Great stop. 48 hour limit.
Grocery store will come pick you up (Farm Fresh not Food Lion).
Rose Buddy Reception if 5 or more boats present.

Great city dock , 2009-04-05
Captain: , Absarokee Mt (1228)

A bit exposed from the south and west, docks are labeled as to width. We put our 48 ft in a 18 wide slip, but it was not as long as I would have liked. Stayed two days, lots of wind, no problems. Brisket is served at resturant just kitty cornered from docks. No water, no elect. But great people, mayor greeted us, got a ride to the groc store. went to the dinner and movie. What a nice place.

Watch the weather here, 2008-10-16
Captain: , Pasadena, MD (1496)

This is a friendly and welcoming community, to be sure. Be aware, however, that sustained winds from the south blow water into the harbor and can make sea conditions at the steel and concrete bulkhead extremely uncomfortable. If you find these conditions here, there is a river anchorage 1/2 mile up river, through the draw bridge, that is a far more comfortable and safe place to be in a blow.

Very freindly town, 2008-10-08
Captain: , fairland (2653)

Bigger boats and cats can use the sea wall south of the town docks. Pilings north of fishing dock make jumping to shore a problem, but between dock and boat ramp there are no pilings. Still need to climb the fence, but it is a small price ot pay. No water, no electricity, lots of crabs so bring you chicken necks!

Absolute must stop , 2008-03-19
Captain: , Magothy River, Chesapeake Bay (31)

Elizabeth City has done an incredible job of welcoming the cruising community. Free dockage in the heart of town, with water and trash, no power. The Rose Buddies experience is one you don't want to miss. Wine and cheese reception at the docks for cruisers only, and if the weather is a bit dicey, you'll likely be invited to the founder's home a few blocks away. Wonderful people and a great stop.

And its all free!, 2007-09-11
Captain: , Punta Gorda, FL Cape Cod, MA (513)

A great stop with friendly people. Free party every night for cruisers. Everything yoy could need is nearby. A must stop for all ICW cruisers who take the Dismal Swamp route ( and who wouldn't?).

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