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About the Dismal Swamp

If you peer into the still, mirrored waters of the Dismal Swamp Canal, you may see a brief glimpse of the historic Waterway’s colorful past.  Indians, Civil War Soldiers and runaway freedom seekers each have their own story to share. The vast Dismal Swamp, once covering over a million acres, is still a large, complex, beautiful natural area with many reasons to visit.

Today we are able to explore its secrets, without the hardships endured by the early American pioneers that sought to tame it. The Dismal Swamp State Park and Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge are home to one of the largest Black Bear populations on the East Coast, subtropical birds, butterflies, bobcats and white-tailed deer. It is easily understood why this land deserves our protection, offering a wealth of history and lore, flora and fauna. Trails, exhibits, Ranger led programs and interpretive signage will add to your experience.  Let’s begin your journey!

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We Love Our Visitors!

“This is one of my favorite places. They have a ton of info, maps and suggestions on things to do in NC.”

Cristy Lynn Rust

“We’ve been stopping here for years!  The people here are very friendly and helpful!  The Welcome Center has become a staple in our vacation.”

“The hosts are very friendly and welcoming. Great stop by either land or sea.”

Patrick Hentschell

“Very clean and well-maintained facility with exceptional restrooms and lots of informative brochures about local destinations. Also, the canal is nearby and offers an interesting and unique scenic view as the still water holds a perfect mirror image of the opposite canal bank.”

Phil B. Soencksen

“Super welcome center! I recommend that everyone traveling 17S should stop there as they come into NC!”

Dorothy Ansell

“I liked everything about the Dismal Swamp. The people at the Welcome Center were very helpful, nice cozy place to sit & relax. The dock was good. Trails nice. Birding. The Dismal Swamp State Park Visitor Center across the canal was superb.”

Jane Messer Whitten