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Hours, Fees and Permits

Ranger Rose directs traffic at Dismal Swamp State Park at the Paddle for the Border event

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 during the summer 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 8:00am to 5:00pm daily. Some are not open on weekends.

Entrance Fees

There are no entrance fees to enjoy North Carolina state parks, with the following exceptions:

Falls Lake State Recreation AreaJordan 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. The pass is good for unlimited entry to all three recreation areas and is valid anytime within the calendar year.

  • Motor vehicle: $7 per day
  • Senior Citizen (62 or older) or military member: $5 per day
  • Bus or van: $20 per day
  • Individual Pass: $75
    Friends and Family Pass $125

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.

Annual Pass Program

You can purchase the individual or friends and family pass at the park offices or online at our park store.  The pass is not transferable to another person. 


Facility Fees

  • Campsite fees range up to $33 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 to 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.

Activity Fees

  • Swimming fees are charged at some parks: $4 per day for children, $6 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.
  • Boat launching fee: $7.00

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 Climbing and Rappelling permit (also 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). The permit is $20 on weekdays and $30 on weekends. An Annual Pass is available for $75. Passholders are still required to register in the office.
  • 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.
  • Photo and Filming Permits.  Initial Photo / Film Request, Photo / Film App Interview/Walk-Thru  Fees: A commercial event fee of $225 is charged for any commercial photography/videography that is requested in all North Carolina State Parks.