Congaree National Park Fees & Reservations

Old Growth Forest in Congaree Nat'l Park

Old Growth Forest in Congaree Nat’l Park (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Congaree National Park – entrance is FREE! Yep, there’s absolutely no charge for entering the park, and there are no tour fees either. Life really doesn’t get much better than that – or much cheaper!

Tours of Congaree National Park

There are plenty of free tours to enjoy at Congaree National Park. Tagging onto a Ranger or volunteer guided tour really does help you to understand exactly what you’re looking at, the significance of the place and not miss out on anything important. A couple of the tours do need advance reservation, otherwise it’s not necessary.

  • Amazing Adaptations – a 2 and a half mile stroll around the Boardwalk, find out about the amazing adaptability of some of the animals and plants which survive here.
  • Big Tree Hike – yep, there are plenty of big trees at Congaree National Park and on this six mile hike you’ll encounter some of the biggest.
  • Birds and Branches – don’t forget your binoculars.
  • Christmas Bird Count – this is not like the Thanksgiving bird count . . . quick, only 3 turkeys left . . . it’s all about being a citizen scientist and bird watching throughout the park, helping to assess how healthy the bird populations are.
  • Flat Hat Chats – 15 minute talks on lots of different Congaree National Park topics – owls, fire, the creation of the park.
  • Guided Canoe Tour – you’re gonna’ need a snack, water to drink and a change of clothing for this one. You do need to make a reservation to join this tour.
  • Nature Discovery Hike – Explore the forest of Congaree National Park and try to spot (or hear) some of the many animals who call it home.
  • Owl Prowl – this guided night hike through the forest is always popular, which is why you need to make a reservation to join in. Call 803 776 4396
  • Skins and Bones – great for the kids, little kids, bigger kids and those who just haven’t grown up yet. Have fun looking at the skulls and the furs of the animals who live in Congaree National Park.
  • Tree Trek – back to the trees again, there are lots of trees at Congaree National Park.
  • Weston Lake Wilderness Hike – a 4.5 mile hike along the Weston Lake trail.
  • Who Came Before – join a ranger on this enjoyable and interesting hike through time, who explored and lived in Congaree National Park before it was Congaree National Park?

Camping at Congaree National Park

Congaree National Park is a great place for a camping trip, and just like entrance fees and guided tours, there is no charge to camp at Congaree National Park, you will, however, need to stop by at Harry Hampton Visitor Center and pick up a free overnight camping permit.

  • Longleaf Campground – is a primitive campground open all year round. There are 8 sites which each have porta-johns, picnic tables and fire rings with grills. Campsites are limited to a maximum of 8 people and 2 tents.
  • Bluff Campsite – is a group campground with 6 sites capable of accommodating up to 30 campers. Once again this is a primitive campground with no facilities except picnic tables and fire rings.
  • Back country Camping – Congaree National Park is a great place to enjoy the real adventure of back country camping. You can reach the wilderness by canoe or hiking. You must set up camp at least 200 feet from any back country trails or water, and 500 feet from the boardwalk and park buildings.


Congaree National Park Camping Regulations

Camping is free at Congaree National Park, all you need to do is to pick up a free camping permit from the Harry Hampton Visitor Center. Whilst you’re there, however, you need to pick up a copy of the camping regulations. Here’s a quick look at some of the camping regulations you need to stick to when camping at Congaree National Park.

  • You’ll need some state or government i.d. to get your free camping permit from the Harry Hampton Visitor Center – you can’t reservea permit, they are handed out on a first come, first served basis.
  • You’re allowed to camp in Congaree National Park for a maximum of 14 consecutive nights, with no more than 28 days over any period of 6 months.
  • There is no hunting allowed in Congaree National Park, it is strictly prohibited.
  • Pets are welcome just so long as they are kept on a leash at all times, of no more than 6 feet in length.
  • You must leave everything as you find it – no digging, destroying, removing, defacing or disturbing any of the cultural, archaeological or natural resources in the park.
  • Take out whatever you brought in with you – leave no trace.
  • The restrooms at Harry Hampton Visitor Center are open throughout the day and night, there are also portable toilets in the campgrounds.
  • There is potable water available at the spigot which is on the south side of the visitor center. You can get a spigot key from a ranger.
  • Fires are only permitted within the fire rings provided, campfires are not permitted in the back country.
  • Don’t bring any wood into the park from outside. You may use dead or down wood from Congaree National Park for the fire.
  • There are no glass bottles or kegs allowed in Congaree National Park.
  • If you have a valid camping permit you may camp with your pop-up trailer, RV or car.

Why so fast . . . slow down and enjoy the trip!