Shop Reservations Newsroom


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 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.



 North Carolina State Parks Reservation Rates and Activity Fees 2021 »


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, and on weekends in April, May, and September. 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

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 Annual 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/Veteran Discount

Senior citizens, military members and veterans receive a $6 discount for most campsites. Discount does not apply to primitive or group campsites, vacation cabins, facility rentals (discount applies to marina slip rentals at Carolina Beach State Park), permits or other activity fees.

When reserving a campsite online, check the box to note that you are eligible for the discount. Senior citizens must present a valid ID with their birthdate at check-in to verify the discounted rate. Military members and veterans must present proof of military service or veteran status at check-in to verify the discounted rate. Failure to provide verification will result in the full rate being charged.

Discounted rate for entrance fees to Falls Lake, Jordan Lake and Kerr Lake recreation areas are also available for senior citizens, military members and veterans who provide proof of eligiblity.



Events and special activities

Some events — such as weddings, athletic contests, company parties, etc. — may require a Special Activity Permit. If you are unsure whether such a permit is necessary for your event, please contact the park office beforehand.


Special Activity Permit

 Download a Special Activity Permit application

After filling out a completed permit application, please submit it to the park where you want to have your event. The park superintendent must approve your application before you can host your event.

Alcohol Supplement to the Special Activity Permit

 Download a Special Activity Permit Alcohol Supplement Application

The purpose of the Special Activity Permit Alcohol Supplement Application is to gather details from a group or business requesting to serve alcohol at a North Carolina state park as part of the event detailed in the Special Activity Permit Application. The Special Activity Permit Alcohol Supplement Application fee is $200 and is nonrefundable. The Special Activity Permit Alcohol Supplement Application, the Special Activity Permit Application, and fees associated with applications and reservations must be submitted at least 14 days in advance of the event. For more information on the Alcohol Supplement, please visit our FAQ page.

Permit fees

There is a fee associated with the permit. The fee depends on expected attendance and how the park classifies your event. The fee schedule is listed below. If you have questions about how much the fee for your event would cost, please contact the park office where you want to have your event.

Please note that additional expenses incurred by the park may be charged in addition to the fee listed below. If you need to rent a facility (picnic shelter, community building, classroom, etc.) for your event, the reservation fee for that facility would also be charged in addition to the permit fee.

If you are applying to serve alcohol at your event, a $200 fee is charged for the Alcohol Supplement to the Special Activity Permit and is nonrefundable. The $200 is charged in addition to the Special Activity Permit fee, any reservation fees, and any additional cost the park incurs in hosting the event.


Special Activity Permit type

Permit fee

Special use


Non-corporate event
attendance of 60 or less


Non-corporate event
attendance of more than 60


Corporate event
attendance of 100 or less


Corporate event
attendance of more than 100


Commercial event (nonprofit)


Commercial event (for-profit)





Rock climbing, bouldering and rappelling are allowed at the following parks:


Individual Permits

All climbers must register with the park staff and must keep in their possession a valid climbing and rappelling permit. Permits are available at park offices and at the climbing accesses.

Group Permits

Organized private, commercial, or nonprofit groups must obtain a Special Activity Permit prior to the outing. The group climbing permit costs $45. The permit application and fee should be submitted to the park office. All climbers in the group must still fill out an individual climbing and rappelling permit.

 Download a group climbing permit application

Climbing rules and regulations

  • All climbers must register with the park staff and must keep in their possession a valid rock climbing/rappelling permit. All climbers under the age of 18 must have a parent or legal guardian sign their permit prior to participating in any climbing activities at N.C. State Parks.
  • Climbing is an inherently dangerous activity that can result in serious injury, death and/or property damage. By completing and submitting the climbing permit form, climbers fully assume all risks associated with climbing in N.C. State Parks, including, but not limited to, injury (including death), loss or damages, to person, property or otherwise, of any kind resulting from such risks and any associated activities. Climbers are solely responsible for obtaining proper equipment and training. The N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation offers no supervision or instruction to climbers and does not approve or certify instructors or climbers in any manner. Unroped climbing is discouraged.
  • The N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation does not install or maintain any climbing surface, route, or fixed anchors. New routes are not permitted, unless reviewed through the park's climbing management plan.
  • Route selection and the decision to rely on any fixed anchors are the climber's sole responsibility.
  • Climbing activities are permitted in designated areas only and must coincide with a park's posted hours of operation. Climbers are not allowed to enter the park prior to posted gate opening hours and must leave the park before gate closing time.
  • All accidents and injuries must be reported immediately to park staff.
  • All climbers must comply with all rules and policies applicable to rock climbing in N.C. State Parks, including the most current version of the Rock Climbing Management Guidelines.



Beach vehicle access

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 are allowed.

Beach vehicle access permit

Permit fee





4WD Beach Annual Pass*



*Annual Pass holders are still required to register in the park office.

» Learn more about our Annual Pass program



Research and collection

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.

 Fill out a research activity permit

 Read our research guidelines

 Contact our Natural Resources program staff



Drones/UAs/remote control flying machines

Park visitors are prohibited from ascending or taking-off within or upon any state park area or state park water surface, of any airplane, flying machine (includes drones, UAs, quadcopters), balloon, parachute, glider, hang glider (except with a permit at Jockey's Ridge State Park), or other apparatus for aviation.

In very limited circumstances, these machines may be operated after obtaining a Special Activity Permit.

Additionally, state law prohibits persons from launching or recovering any unmanned aircraft systems from state property without consent.



Photography and filming

A permit is required to conduct commercial photography or filming at a North Carolina state park. Please use the applications below to request a permit and/or make an appointment with the park superintendent to scout a state park location.


 DNCR Film Permit Application

 Request to Scout Form