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North Carolina State Parks Reservations System - Tips for Planning Your Visit

There are a few things you should know before your visit to a North Carolina state park or state recreation area. Rules and regulations are posted in all the parks, but some of the important ones are also noted below as well as specifics about campsites, vacation cabins and picnic shelters. Bear in mind that there are some rules specific to certain parks.

Also, take the time to learn about a park's geography, history, facilities and activities elsewhere on this site. Look for the 'Find a Park' dropdown box on the left to get started.

About campsites...

• Park gates are closed/locked at posted closing times for your protection. (In case of emergency, contact park ranger or camp host at the posted phone number or dial 911).

• Alcoholic beverages and fireworks are prohibited in all North Carolina state parks. Firearms and other weapons are prohibited except that those with a proper permit may possess a concealed handgun in permitted areas and under the requirements of North Carolina G.S. 14-415.11. All firearms and weapons are prohibited in state park visitor centers and park offices. (EXCEPTION: Federal law (36 C.F.R. § 327.13) prohibits loaded firearms or ammunition on those lands and waters at Falls Lake, Jordan Lake and Kerr Lake state recreation areas managed by the state parks system and owned by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.)

• No more than six people are allowed on each site, one of whom must be at least 18 years old.

• Campsites must be occupied during entire reservation.

• Camping permits cannot be reassigned or transferred.

• Posted quiet hours are enforced.

• Pets are allowed, but must be kept on a leash no longer than six feet and must remain in control at all times.

• Before leaving a campsite, occupants should clean it and properly dispose of waste.

• Firewood is available for sale at some parks; downed wood can be collected at some parks; and campfires are not permitted at a few parks. Always check with the park beforehand if you're unfamiliar with its policies. To limit the spread of invasive insects that can severely damage our forests, please do not bring firewood from outside North Carolina or leave firewood at your campsite when you check out.

• State parks in North Carolina do not operate camp stores. Be sure to bring everything you'll need.

About vacation cabins...

• Vacation cabins are available only at Hanging Rock and Morrow Mountain state parks. Both offer accessible cabins.

• Maximum capacity is six persons.

• Cabins are furnished with four single beds, sleeper sofa (or futon), tables, chairs, electric stove, refrigerator and other necessary furniture. Also provided are: pillows, blankets, dishes, silverware, glassware and cooking utensils.

• Beds are not available for children too small to sleep in single beds.

• Occupants are expected to clean cabin upon leaving and properly dispose of waste.

• Charges will be made for any broken or missing items, for any damage to furnishings or equipment or if excessive cleaning is required.

• Pets are not allowed in cabins or cabin areas at any time.

• Smoking is not allowed in cabins.

About picnic shelters...

• Picnic shelters are generally very popular, so reservations are suggested. Use of a shelter is free if it has not been reserved.

• Alcoholic beverages and amplified music are prohibited.

• All groups must leave the park prior to posted closing time.

• Posting signs in the parks is not allowed.

• A damage fee may be charged after inspection of the shelter by park staff.

• Any tables that are moved must be returned to original position.

• Some shelters have fireplaces. It's best to bring firewood if you plan to use the fireplaces. Collecting firewood is restricted or prohibited in some parks.

• Sufficient parking is not guaranteed with the reservation of a picnic shelter. Some parks - especially state recreation areas - may fill parking lots to capacity early on warm-weather weekends and especially on holidays. If planning an event at a shelter, encourage your guests to arrive early.

• Some events - such as weddings, athletic contests, company parties, etc. - may require a Special Activity Permit ($35 fee). If you're unsure whether such a permit is necessary for your event, ask when making a reservation or call the park office beforehand.