The beaches and parks are officially open! It’s been almost a week now since the state began letting businesses and government-operated recreational facilities open up again and families are starting to take advantage of finally being able to get out of the house! Have you gotten out yet? Are you worried or vigilant about staying safe and following the necessary precautions for utilizing parks and beaches? We’ve detailed what the regulations are for getting out to your favorite locations in the area. So, get your picnics packed and start your adventure!
North Carolina State Parks are open but still operating with specific phases for opening. The website is very detailed regarding what is and isn’t accessible and the safety measures that families must follow in order to safely utilize the park system. In general:
- Guests can only park in the designated lots. If the lot is full then, unfortunately, the park is at capacity. This is to continue to limit the number of guests at any given time in order to further encourage social distancing.
- All trails are OPEN!
- All rental facilities such as, such as picnic shelters, are unavailable. This also goes for all recreation centers and conference areas.
- Trails and restrooms are all accessible.
- Camping is prohibited. It’s expected that camping will once again be allowed by May 22nd. However, group camping will not be allowed until at least the end of June.
- All parks are now open but have specific restrictions. Check the state park page or the park-specific page for details.
- Swim beaches are CLOSED. They are projected to begin opening on May 22nd but will be limited. It is unknown when all of the beaches will once again be open.
- Boat Ramps – the ramps at Carolina Beach, Falls Lake State Recreation Area, Jordan Lake, half of Kerr Lake, Lake James, Lake Norman, Lake Waccamaw, Lumber River, Mayo River, Merchants Millpond, Morrow Mountain and Pettigrew are open. The rest of the boat ramps are expected to open by May 22nd.
- It is unknown when events and special occasions will begin to take place again.
- It has yet to be announced when Phase 3 will take place but snack bars, auditoriums, classrooms, visitor centers, and museums are all expected to reopen once Phase 3 begins.
Are you impatiently waiting to make the drive to the beach? While they might not be in our backyard like some of the state parks, they’re certainly worth the drive and the ocean might be just what we all need to start feeling like things are getting back to normal. And with schools still closed, we have the extra time, right? Here are the guidelines for the beaches, now that they’ve reopened.
- While they have opened back up, all beaches are insisting that guests follow social distancing guidelines. This means staying 6 feet apart from anyone that you didn’t make the trip with.
- All restaurants and bars will remain closed for inside dining and operate for pickup and delivery only, so plan accordingly! Call ahead of time if you’re hoping to bring your go-to meal with you to the beach.
- PLAN AHEAD. While some beaches are fully open, most still have regulations such as closed restrooms. The restrooms at Kure, Topsail, Wrightsville, Emerald Isle, and Holden beaches are all closed to the public until further notice. Some, but not all, will have temporary bathrooms placed around the beaches.
- Public parking is limited at many of the beaches. Beaches such as Wrightsville are currently not allowing public street parking.
- Remember to check the individual sites for the beach you’re heading to before going! Every beach has different rules regarding face masks, capacity, etc. Also, given the current situation, regulations are fluid and still a work in progress.
We hope you’re able to get out of the house and soak up that fresh air in a public place! Remember that, even though they’re now open, any special or annual event that is typically held at the state parks or beaches is canceled until further notice. We’ll keep you up to date with future cancelations or postponements of events. For now, enjoy the perfect temperatures with your family and remember that there’s still plenty of time to get those house projects finished!