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History

A view of the lake at Lake Waccamaw State Park
Current status of park facilities   

Trails, restrooms, and boat ramps are open. The visitor center is open daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. A properly worn mask or face covering, covering both the nose and the mouth, is required to enter the visitor center.

The swimming pier is closed.

Campsites are open. Reservations must be made in advance through the reservations website or by calling 1-877-722-6762.

Please note that this alert is updated only when something changes. Generally, state parks are following the phased reopening statewide. As of October 3, we are following modified Phase 3.

 Last updated on: Monday, October 5, 2020


Map of North Carolina – Lake Waccamaw State Park


Contact the park
 

910-646-4748

lake.waccamaw@ncparks.gov
 

Address
 

Visitor center

1866 State Park Drive
Lake Waccamaw, NC 28450

GPS: 34.2790, -78.4654
 

Hours
 

► 

  • December to February:
    7:00am to 7:00pm
     
  • March to April:
    7:00am to 9:00pm
     
  • May to September:
    7:00am to 10:00pm
     
  • October:
    7:00am to 9:00pm
     
  • November:
    7:00am to 8:00pm
     
  • Closed Christmas Day
     

► 

  • Open daily:
    8:00am to 5:00pm
     
  • Closed Christmas Day
     

 

 

 

History highlights

John Bartram, the nation's first renowned botanist, gives discussions of the area in his Diary of a Journey Through the Carolinas, Georgia, and Florida from July 1, 1765, to April 10, 1766. Lake Waccamaw is specifically mentioned in "A New Voyage to Georgia by a Young Gentleman" in 1737. The gentleman states, "I think it is the pleasantest place that ever I saw in my life." But he was not the first to find this paradise.

Archaeologists have discovered evidence of civilization at Lake Waccamaw dating back thousands of years, in addition to artifacts from the Waccamaw-Siouan tribes. In 1797, the state deeded 170,120 acres of the Green Swamp to Stephen Williams, Benjamin Rowell and William Collins for little more than $7,000. A portion of the land was drained for agricultural use, but in 1904 the property was purchased for timbering.

Lumber companies produced cypress shingles and shipped them by boat across Lake Waccamaw for transport by mule to the nearby train station. Logging and shingle transportation eventually became rail-based, and a line was laid along the west side of the lake. Remnants of the railway bridge crossing can still be seen today.

State government interest in the bay lakes emerged in the early 1800s when legislation blocked further private claims on land covered by lake waters. Later, the General Assembly declared that any lake of 500 acres or more in Bladen, Columbus or Cumberland counties shall remain the property of the state.

In October of 1964, the Board of Conservation and Development tried to obtain land on the lakeshore to establish a state park. But it wasn't until May of 1976 that a state park was formed on the lake when a 273-acre tract of land was purchased by the N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation. Additional land purchases for the park in the mid-1980s, including acreage formerly belonging to the Federal Paper Company and Georgia-Pacific Corporation, helped bring the park to its present size of 2,176 acres.