Parks & Recreation

General Information

The protection of life and property goes hand in hand with enjoyment of Kerr Reservoir. Adhering to a few Corps' regulations and applying good common sense will assure a safer and happier visit. The Corps wants you and your family to return with pleasant memories.

Water safety is of prime importance since the uninformed boat operator may find the distances and shoreline of Kerr Reservoir to be deceiving. Sudden wind changes and large waves are not unusual. A number of safety measures have been instituted, and visitors should contact a Corps ranger for advice and copies of rules and regulations. The rangers enforce the regulations found in CFR Title 36, Chapter III. The Uniform Waterway Marker System has been installed for boating convenience and safety. Corps rangers and game wardens patrol the lake regularly.

Camping and Picnicking

"Leave the area just as clean as you'd want to find it" that's the watchword for camping and picnic areas. Subsequent campers and picnickers are entitled to a well-kept area, and you'll be expected to take every precaution against the spread of fire, damage to trees and other vegetation, unsanitary conditions and vandalism.

Camping equipment is not to be abandoned and you are requested to insure that areas are clean before you depart. No alcoholic beverages are permitted on Corps of Engineers facilities.

Camper stays are limited to 14 days within a 30-consecutive-day period. Camping fees are collected from April through October in areas designated by signs. Comparable rules are applied at State- operated camping areas.

The U.S. Cost Guard Auxiliary provides boating assistance and Virginia and North Carolina Game Wardens enforce state boating laws.

**Winter Camping Notice**

Winter camping is not available at North Bend Park from November 1, 2023 through March 31, 2024. Please visit the News & Notices tab on the main John H. Kerr website page for more information.


Fishing and Hunting

The Corps of Engineers, and North Carolina and Virginia Fish and Game Agencies coordinate activities to improve fish and wildlife habitat on the entire project. Twenty-two wildlife management areas are developed on the project, consisting of over 10,000 acres of land on which intensive wildlife management techniques are employed. All project lands are open to hunting with appropriate state license, except developed recreation areas, or unless otherwise posted. 

Resident and non-resident fishing licenses from Virginia or North Carolina will be recognized on all reservoir waters, and extended up the Staunton past Difficult Creek to the 360 Bridge. The tailwaters of John H. Kerr Reservoir, along with the entire Gaston Lake are also covered under this reciprocal license agreement. 

Rules and Regulations

ALCOHOL is prohibited in all recreation areas. 


  • No pets, fires, tents, or vehicles allowed in designated swim areas and beaches.
  • Pets on leashes may utilize shoreline areas behind campsite but outside designated swim areas.


  • To receive 50% discount Golden Age/Access, America the Beautiful Senior/Access Pass the holder must be present at check-in, must show photo ID and Pass together, and must occupy the discounted site for the duration.  Otherwise, full price will be charged.
  • Check out time is 2: 00 PM. Site must be cleared of all equipment and occupants. Drop camping pass at gate house and notify attendant.
  • 14 day camping limit within a 30-consecutive-day period.
  • Quiet Hours are 10 PM to 6 AM.
  • Camping Equipment including tents, must be kept on designated site pad.
  • Maximum number of campers per site is six (6); twelve (12) on designated double sites.
  • Gate Codes are to be given out by Attendants and Rangers only.
  • Do not remove Back Flow Preventers from campsite spigots.
  • After Check-Out, campers must pay $7 to utilize Day Use Facilities.


  • Fires allowed in campsite fire rings only; DO NOT remove rip-rap from banks to build fire rings.
  • Campers must extinguish all fires prior to departure from site. Do not leave fires unattended.
  • Collecting downed wood is permitted; no power saw use is allowed.


  • Pets must be kept on a leash (6-foot maximum) during entire stay.
  • All animals and pets are prohibited in designated swimming areas and restrooms. 
  • Dogs shall not be left unattended at any time. Owner is responsible for barking and disturbances caused by dogs.
  • Owner must clean up and dispose of pet waste.


  • It is illegal to ride in trailered boats, on tailgates or truck rails.
  • Children under 13 must wear life jackets while on boats; Federal law.
  • Bicycles must burn headlights sundown to sunup.
  • No Battery Charging at or in Restrooms.


  • Discharge or disposal of gray water or sewage onto the ground is prohibited.
  • NO SMOKING and NO PETS in restrooms and shower houses.
  • Campers must remove all trash from their campsite and fire ring on or before check-out time; deposit trash into campground dumpsters.


  • Campsites with more than two vehicles (except camping unit) will be charged an extra vehicle fee of $5 per vehicle per night.
  • Vehicles must be parked in designated gravel or paved parking areas, unless otherwise directed.
  • Golf Carts, motorized trail bikes, mini-bikes, go-carts, scooters (gas, battery or electric-powered) are prohibited.
  • Moped drivers must be age 16 or older. Mopeds must be equal to or less than 50 cc.


  • 7 AM to 10 PM. Valid pass must be displayed on rear-view mirror.
  • Visitors must depart park by 10 PM and turn in red visitor pass upon departure.
  • The maximum number of visitors PLUS campers per site is twelve (12) per single site and sixteen (16) per double site.