Congaree National Park does not charge entrance fees.
Commercial Filming and Still Photography (Click here to learn more)
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, 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, or public assemblies, etc. Examples of a First-Amendment Activity include: a church service, political event, or Freedom-of-Speech act.
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)
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.
All visitors planning to camp at either the Longleaf or Bluff Campgrounds are required to make reservations via Recreation.gov or by calling 1-877-444-6777. The park does charge the following nominal fees for camping in the park's campgrounds:
- Longleaf Campground: $10 for a regular tent site; $20 for a group site
- Bluff Campground: $5 for a regular tent site
(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 Recreation.gov 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 that. 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 48-hours in advance to guarantee time to process the permit application.
Request a Permit
Wilderness Canoe Tours: Ranger-guided Wilderness Canoe tours can be reserved through Recreation.gov.