Hours, Fees and Permits
Hours, Fees and Permits
Always check the specific park's web page or call the park office for current information about hours and access to facilities and activities.
- North Carolina state parks are open every day except for Christmas Day.
- Park hours vary seasonally, with longer operating hours in the summer months. Check with the specific park for current hours.
- Some campgrounds are closed in the winter.
- Swimming pools are closed in the winter and occasionally for maintenance.
- In some parks, gates are closed and locked at night; campers can only leave in emergencies.
- Park offices and Visitor Centers are generally open from 8am to 5pm daily. Some are not open on weekends.
There are no entrance fees to enjoy North Carolina state parks, with the following exceptions:
Falls Lake State Recreation Area, Jordan Lake State Recreation Area, and Kerr Lake State Recreation Area charge for entry in the summer months, to supplement operational costs and help maintain and improve the areas for visitors. The per-car fee is charged daily from Memorial Day through Labor Day, holidays in April, May and September and on weekends. Annual pass holders are entitled to an unlimited number of visits without paying the admission fee.
- Car: $6 per day.
- Senior Citizen (62 or older): $4 per day.
- Bus or van: $15 per day.
- Annual Pass: $60.
- Car: $7 per day.
- Senior Citizen (62 or older): $5 per day.
- Bus or van: $20 per day.
You can purchase the annual pass at the park offices. The pass is good for unlimited entry to all three recreation areas and is valid anytime within the calendar year. The pass is not transferable to another person.
Grandfather Mountain State Park is adjacent to a privately-owned attraction, which does charge admission to their grounds and facilities. The state park does not charge admission. Contact the Grandfather Mountain attraction for information about their fees.
Entrance and activity fees charged at the Chimney Rock access are determined by the concessionaire and can be found at their website: Chimney Rock Management LLC. The Rumbling Bald access area does not charge an entrance fee. Please see the park map for more information.
- Campsite fees range up to $25 per night depending on type and amenities. Check the reservations website for specific fees.
- Many parks have classrooms and auditoriums available for rent. Check the park's webpage for more information.
- Picnic shelters, seating 16-150 people, are reservable. Check the reservations website for specific fees. The shelters are free of cost when not reserved.
- There is a nominal charge for the Hammocks Beach State Park ferry that takes visitors from the mainland section of the park in Swansboro to Bear Island. Season passes are available; please contact the park.
- Swimming fees are charged at some parks: $4 per day for children, $5 per day for adults.
- Some parks rent equipment such as kayaks, canoes, and pedal boats on an hourly or daily rate. Please contact the individual park for more information.
- The special Catch and Release fishing program (available only at Stone Mountain State Park) costs $22/day per section.
Senior Citizen and Military Discount
Senior and Military discounts are available for visitors age 62 and older. The discounts are $6 for all campgrounds with the exception of primitive sites. Age verification will be required upon arrival. An ID showing military status will be required for veterans and/or military seeking the discount. Discounts do not apply to primitive campsites.
- Event permits. Some events—such as weddings, athletic contests, company parties, etc.—may require a Special Activity Permit (fee may be required). If you're unsure whether such a permit is necessary for your event, ask when making a reservation or call the park office beforehand.
- Climbing permits. Rock climbing, bouldering, and rappelling are allowed at Chimney Rock, Crowders Mountain, Hanging Rock, Pilot Mountain, and Stone Mountain state parks. All climbers must register with the park staff and must keep in their possession a valid rock climbing and rappelling permit (available at the park offices).
- Beach vehicle permits. Four-wheel-drive vehicles are allowed to operate within a limited corridor along the beach at Fort Fisher State Recreation Area, at certain times of the day and with a valid permit. Drivers must follow designated routes, avoiding dunes, vegetation and marked nesting areas. Only registered motor vehicles are allowed in the four-wheel-drive access area (no ATVs). Completed Beach Vehicle Access Permit applications and fees cannot be accepted by mail and must be submitted in person at the park's visitor center during normal operating hours. The permit is $12 per day, or $50 for an annual permit.
- Research and collection permits. A permit is required for any project involving the collection, removal or disturbance of any natural or cultural resource of any state park unit and for projects that require placing monitoring equipment in any state park unit. Learn more about research and collection permits or fill out a permit application online.