Permits & Reservations


Congaree National Park does not charge entrance fees.

Commercial Filming and Still Photography

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Special Use Permits

Certain types of activities require a special use permit. These include many types of organized gatherings, distribution of printed material and other public expressions of opinion, spreading ashes, and other activities that are controlled or prohibited. See the following definitions and examples to determine if your use might be included:

A special park use is defined as a short-term activity that takes place in a park area, and that:

1. provides a benefit to an individual, group or organization rather than the public at large;

2. requires written authorization and some degree of management control from the National Park Service (NPS) in order to protect park resources and the public interest;

3. is not prohibited by law or regulation;

4. is not initiated, sponsored, or conducted by the NPS; and is not managed under a concession contract, a recreation activity for which the NPS charges a fee, or a lease.

Examples include: weddings, other ceremonies, public assemblies, spreading ashes etc. Examples of a First-Amendment Activity include: a church service, political event, or Freedom-of-Speech act.

Please see the Superintendent's Compendium for park rules and regulations, and to determine whether a permit is required for a specific activity.

For more information regarding Special Use Permits, or if you have any question as to whether or not one is required for your activity, please call (803) 776-4396, or email - with "Special Use Permits" as the subject.

Application for Special Use Permit (requires Adobe PDF Reader)

Research Permits

A Scientific Research and Collecting Permit is required for most scientific activities pertaining to natural resources or social science studies in National Park System areas that involve fieldwork, specimen collection, and/or have the potential to disturb resources or visitors. When permits are required for scientific activities pertaining solely to cultural resources, including archeology, ethnography, history, cultural museum objects, cultural landscapes, and historic and prehistoric structures, other permit procedures apply. The park's Research Coordinator can provide information regarding permit procedures, or answer questions regarding current research at Congaree National Park. For a list of current research needs, please click here.

How to Apply for a Research Permit at Congaree National Park

The National Park Service manages an internet-based system called the Research Permit and Reporting System (RPRS), which provides the following services if you are interested in obtaining permission to conduct a natural resource or social science study in a unit of the National Park System:

  • Ability to review NPS scientific permit requirements and application procedures

  • Ability to review permit conditions before beginning the permit application process

  • Ability to review previous research conducted in a park before planning a new study

  • Ability to review the types of research specific parks are interested in attracting

  • Ability to complete and submit an application for a scientific research and collecting permit

To access the NPS Research Permit and Reporting System and learn more about the NPS scientific permit application process, please visit the RPRS website.

Commercial Use Authorizations

A commercial use authorization (CUA) allows you to conduct commercial activities and provide specific visitor services within a national park unit. A CUA is required if you provide any goods, activities, services, agreements, or other function for park visitors that take place at least in part on lands managed by the NPS; use park resources; and result in compensation, monetary gain, benefit, or profit to you, when a concession contract is not necessary.

The National Park Service is excited to announce the development of an online CUA system designed to standardize, mordernize, and streamline the CUA applicaiton and reporting process. The system allows potential CUA applicants and CUA holders to view all available CUA opportunities, apply for CUAs, submit required CUA reports, and pay CUA fees. Learn more about the online CUA system on the Applying for a CUA page.


All visitors planning to camp at either the Longleaf or Bluff Campgrounds are required to make reservations via or by calling 1-877-444-6777. The park does charge the following nominal fees for camping in the park's campgrounds:

(Senior and Access Pass holders receive a 50% discount on the above fees)

Picnic Shelter Reservations

The picnic shelter next to Parking Lot #1 at the Harry Hampton Visitor Center is available for reservations via or by calling 1-877-444-6777. Groups looking to hold an event can reserve the picnic shelter for either a half day (4 hours) or a full day (8 hours). Those wishing to reserve the shelter for a full day will need to make a reservation for both available time slots on the reservation page. Available time slots are from 9:00 a.m to 1:00 p.m. and from 1:00 p.m to 5:00 p.m. The following fees are charged for picnic shelter reservations:

  • Half Day (4 hours): $25

  • Full Day (8 hours): $50

If the picnic shelter has not been reserved, it is available for free use to visitors on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Backcountry Camping

Camping in the backcountry is FREE and requires a permit. Those wishing to camp in the backcountry and who would like to request a permit should do so by emailing the park at the link below. Requests should be sent at least 72-hours in advance to guarantee time to process the permit application.
Request a Permit

Wilderness Canoe Tours

Ranger-guided Canoe tours are offered on a limited basis and may be reserved through

Longleaf Pine Habitat
Endangered Red-cockaded Woodpecker Longleaf Pine Habitat.

NPS Photo

Last updated: April 11, 2024

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

100 National Park Road
Hopkins, SC 29061


803 776-4396

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