Before European settlement, the Secotan and Pamlico Indians, members of the Tuscarora tribe, occupied the area between Goose Creek and Bath. The Tuscaroras were the dominant tribe during the colonial period, and conflicts arose between the Tuscaroras and settlers along the Pamlico, Neuse and Trent rivers. Well-known inhabitants of the area included several royal governors and the notorious pirate Blackbeard.
In more recent times, life centered around subsistence farming, commercial fishing and timber production. Evidence of these activities exists throughout the park. Abandoned fields, once used for farming, have now returned to forests. Remnants of boat piers and loading docks skirt the river. A trackless railroad bed, used for hauling logs and the charred remains of tar kilns, are reminders of the early days of the timber industry.
Like many other state parks, Goose Creek originated due to the initiative of local citizens. At their appeal, the Division of State Parks investigated potential park sites along the Pamlico River and determined that the Goose Creek area was the most suitable. Negotiations for land acquisition began, and a resolution to the governor expressed local support. With the purchase of 1,208 acres of land, Goose Creek State Park opened in September, 1974.