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Camden TDA/Dismal Swamp Canal Welcome Center


Basic Marina Information:

Phone: (252) 771-8333
Statute Mile: 28
Lat/Lon: Near 36 30.325 North / 76 21.316 West
Location: along the eastern banks of the Dismal Swamp Canal
Depths: 6 ft.
Address: 2356 US-17
South Mills NC  27976

Service Details:

Transient dockage: Available
Transient dockage rate: Free
Type of dockage: fixed wooden pier
Live Aboards Allowed: no
Total number of slips/berths: 4 + rafting permitted
Dock. Fresh Water Connections: Available
Wi-Fi Internet Access: Available
Navigational Detail: Read Details


Reviews from the Cruisers' Net Community (16)

  1. Capt. David Grimes -  June 23, 2014 - 3:33 pm

    We traveled southbound in August, 2012, at < 6 knots with two of us on the flybridge looking for debris in the water. We hit no fewer than 5 submerged objects. Fortunately, our hull sustained no damage, but we will not venture into the Dismal Swamp Canal again. We saw numerous floating logs tied to brush along the bank with flimsy rope. Capt. David Grimes

  2. Jim and Sandy Davis -  December 2, 2013 - 9:55 am

    Thank you for all you have done. This applies to all your staff as well. It has always been one of our favorite stops.
    Jim and Sandy Davis
    S/V Isa Lei

  3. Ginger Thompson -  November 30, 2013 - 8:08 pm

    The Welcome Center has provided so much needed respite over the years while cruising. The staff certainly are always very informative, and encouraging no matter what time of the day we have visited. Its great to have ‘the Dismal Swamp’ available to us; such a blessful experience – its like riding down a country lane viewing nature in its natural sitting. For me its a ‘slice’ of America, kinda like Yellowstone (a piece of history that I wish everyone could experience). My husband as well as fellow cruisers we know, are praying that tax dollars don’t ever allow it to go away. We encourage everyone to try it – along with a stop by to talk with Robert Peak & say “Hello” to his pal, “U-Turn”; since he’s an extremely sweet pet, you might wish to have a doggie treat ready.

  4. Jean Thomason -  November 30, 2013 - 11:08 am

    Absolutely agree with the comments above. Add that a visit with Robert Peak, lockmaster at Deep Creek is one of the pleasures of the trip. For a small adventure, take the dinghy, canoe or kayak up the feeder ditch, use the marine railway to get it to lake level and enjoy the almost perfect roundness and natural beauty of Lake Drummond (just be sure to note a landmark so you can find your way back off the lake).
    If you visit the state park and walk or bicycle on the trails, take seriously the warning about Lyme disease carrying deer ticks. We didn’t and had multiple tick bites resulting in a round of antibiotics when we reached home a few days later.
    Jean Thomason

  5. Sarah Weeks -  November 30, 2013 - 4:57 am

    The winter schedule at the Dismal Swamp Canal Welcome Center starting Dec. 1st is as follows:
    Monday – Saturday 9am- 5pm
    Closed Sundays
    Sarah M. Weeks

  6. Penny Leary-Smith -  November 29, 2013 - 9:19 pm

    I have now been retired 3 years, after 23 years as Director of the Dismal Swamp Welcome Center. I want to thank each and everyone who choose to travel the Dismal Swamp Canal. I realize the dockage is small but most the time it will meet your needs. It is the only place where you can witness nature at its best and learn of its history. Bike rides are available, clean restrooms and grounds. Try it once and I promise you will return……..”Happy Cruising”

  7. Lee Haefele -  November 16, 2013 - 3:06 pm

    Just a note about Dismal Swamp Canal…. Not only do you need to watch the depth, with a sailboat, you need to watch the trees overhead too. When calculating your speed, the shallow depth limits your boat speed, ask the lock tender what daily distance to expect. There is also not room to pass slower boats, unless they agree to pull off to the side. Still a very nice, pretty route and Elizabeth City is wonderful.
    Lee Haefele

  8. Cathryn and Bob -  May 2, 2012 - 2:18 pm

    We spent one night at the free dock at the Visitors Center. The next morning we rode our bikes along the adjacent bike path, then moved 6 more miles up the Canal and spent a second night tied up at a free Corps of Engineers dock (only 20 feet long, so we took up more than the entire dock but would have let others raft to us). After we tied up there, we took our
    dinghy 3 miles up the Dismal Swamp Canal Feeder Ditch, right across from the dock, to Lake Drummond, which provides the water they use to keep the Swamp at constant level. It was a beautiful trip, and at the canal-lake junction, there is a tiny rail “trolley” you operate yourself to take your dinghy around the dam and into Lake Drummond, which was beautiful and no other boats were there. Great adventure!
    Cathryn and Bob
    aboard “Next to Me”,
    42′ Jefferson Sundeck

  9. Bill & Laura Bender -  July 30, 2009 - 10:20 am

    We cruised the Dismal Swamp for 2 days last week spending a night at the Visitor’s Center. The 5 women in there were wonderful!!! We used their book exchange. Their nature center has been open only a year and it is very well done. Wish I knew the ranger’s name at the bridge that crosses the canal to the center, but he was born for that job. He has so much information, can answer all questions, and obviously has a love for what he does.
    Bill & Laura Bender
    M/VKindred Spirit III

  10. Clif & Peta Lewis -  July 28, 2009 - 11:01 am

    The welcome center was a pleasant overnight stop. We arrived late in the afternoon. The lady at the desk was kind enough to give us a ride up the road to get pizza if we wanted. We declined because we had food on board. We signed the cruisers log they have there
    Clif & Peta Lewis
    s/v Immanuel

    • Gennaro D'Urso -  December 22, 2016 - 5:26 pm

      Can you please provide my contact details to Clif and Peta Lewis, I would like to ask them a question regarding their catamaran. Much appreciated. Feel free to give them my phone as well if you have their contact info,


  11. Pat Kenefick -  July 27, 2009 - 2:53 pm

    We stopped and tied up at the rest area for the night on our early June cruise up to Norfolk. We were quite fortunate in that we were able to get into the last open slot along the bulkhead; if I recall there was a total of 4 boats and that’s all. Unfortunately this night was definitely one of the hottest nights so far this summer, so without being able to use the air it was not a great night. The grounds were well kept and clean; rest rooms the same. For one night it is ok and thank goodness it is there as we were exhausted when we reached that point coming from Elizabeth City. Don’t know what we would have done if it had not been there quite frankly
    Pat Kenefick

  12. Arnold Parkinson -  July 27, 2009 - 8:49 am

    I was a tad dissapointed with the Visitors Center – perhaps expecting too much. But they really don’t have much but a far too small dock and toilets. I spent one night rafted up to another boat which I don’t really like doing but left first thing in the morning. Maybe if they had fuel and water and a small store……..
    Best wishes
    Arnold Parkinson
    The British Club Worldwide

  13. Capt Jock -  July 23, 2009 - 10:33 am

    The welcome center is rarely crowded and a pleasant and convenient stop…a nice place to meet other folks who are taking a break from the wake-makers!
    Capt Jock, formerly of DREAM MAKER, presently of HOME AT LAST

  14. Wayne Thomas -  July 23, 2009 - 9:55 am

    Enjoyed our overnight stop here very much after the stress of so many bumps along the way. We needed the rest.
    Wayne Thomas

  15. Ted Jones -  July 23, 2009 - 9:51 am

    The Welcome Center is even better than ever as there is a new Dismal Swamp museum located on the opposite canal bank. Access is provided by an interesting (and clearly very expensive) hydraulically retracted floating bridge. The museum itself is relatively small but provides a comprehensive history of the canal with many illustrative examples. When one views the panel about birds, the sounds of their varied and colorful songs emerge unobtrusively from the background. We stayed one night at the Welcome Center and were happy to become reacquainted with our friend Penny Leary-Smith who has run the the facility from its inception. We are always delighted to stop there whether by car or by boat, and always do.
    Our half-dozen sailboats were joined at the welcome center by a 45 foot multi decked power boat. This is unusual, as most power cruisers prefer the Virginia Cut route where they are not limited to 6 knots and where the risk of hitting debris with their screws is less, or so it is believed.
    Ted Jones


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