Imagine sitting on the shores of a deep blue lake, your fishing line bobbing in the water, as bald eagles soar overhead. Or picture your tent pitched next to a roaring campfire, smoke drifting on a cool fall breeze, as you gather around with friends and family. These are just a few of the scenes that could define your next Jordan Lake camping experience.
Jordan Lake State Recreation Area (SRA) is a 14,000-acre reservoir with 180 miles of shoreline, seven swim beaches, and more than 14 miles of hiking trails. The SRA is less than an hour’s drive from North Carolina’s Research Triangle of Chapel Hill, Durham and Raleigh. With more than 1,000 campsites around the lake, there’s something for everyone, whether you prefer an RV spot, tent pad, or primitive backcountry site.
Water activities are the name of the game at Jordan Lake. There are nine boat launches for putting in your watercraft, as well as several beach areas for swimming or launching your kayaks and SUPS. If you’re not bringing your own craft, the Crosswinds Boating Center rents kayaks and pontoon boats. Anglers are invited to cast for bass, crappie, catfish, and pan fish. Or perhaps you’d rather watch the local wildlife do the fishing. Jordan Lake is home to the largest community of bald eagles in the eastern U.S. Watch them from the lakeshore, or along any of the park’s hiking trails. However you like to relax or play on the water, Jordan Lake should be your next outdoors destination in North Carolina.
Do It All On The Water At These 5 Jordan Lake Camping Spots
To help you pick your next Jordan Lake camping spot, we’ve rounded up the best advice from campers about their favorite Jordan Lake campgrounds.
1. Poplar Point
Offering a whopping 579 tent and RV campsites in seven separate loops, Poplar Point is the largest campground in the Jordan Lake SRA. It is located just 1 mile southeast of Wilsonville. More than half of the sites provide water and electrical hookups, and each has a picnic table, grill, and lantern holder. Some sites are ADA accessible. Each loop has restrooms, showers, trash and recycling receptacles; dump stations are located near the campground entrance. Some sites are right on the lake, so don’t forget to pack your kayak, water toys, and sunscreen. Additional features include a kids playground, swim beach, boat launch, amphitheater, and a hiking trail that connects all the loops. Campsite rates are $19–$62/night.
“If you think you’ll run out of things to do camping by a lake surrounded by big cities, think again. You can be out on the water in motorized boats and jet skis, you can go kayaking, fishing, hiking and swimming in the designated spots by most campsites.” —The Dyrt camper Zach W.
With four camping loops offering 250 RV and tent campsites, Parkers Creek offers quintessential Jordan Lake camping—directly on the water. This site is located on a peninsula on the west side of the lake, approximately 2.5 miles west of Wilsonville. A group camp is located at the top of the peninsula, and some sites are ADA accessible. Each campsite comes with a picnic table, grill and lantern holder, and showers and restrooms are conveniently located nearby; a dump station is located near Loop 1. This campground features several picnic shelters, hiking trails—including a short kids trail—a swim beach, amphitheater, and boat launch. Campsite rates are $19–$62/night.
“This is hands down the best campground at Jordan Lake. There are beachside campsites, hiking trails and a swimming area all within walking distance from any campsite. When the tide is low … you have about ten feet of beach to play on or fish from.” —The Dyrt camper Angel G.
Just 0.5 mile north of Wilsonville, Crosswinds Campground offers 182 tent and RV campsites in three loops. Most have water and electrical hookups, and each site is equipped with a picnic table, grill, and lantern holder. Each loop features restrooms, showers, and at least one ADA accessible site; a dump station is available nearby. A swim beach is located at Loop B. A short hiking trail connects all three loops with the boat launch and amphitheater near Loop A. Campers report that this campground is amply shaded and has great beach access. Campsite rates are $19–$62/night.
“Jordan Lake has so much opportunity—from walking trails to great water activities. You could be camping just yards from the beach and lake!” —The Dyrt camper Daniel P.
4. Vista Point
The smallest of the developed campgrounds at Jordan Lake, Vista Point is perfect for those looking for a little peace and quiet during their Jordan Lake getaway. This campground is located on the west side of Jordan Lake, about 7 miles southwest of Wilsonville. These grounds offer 50 campsites, all with water and electrical hookups, and five group tent campsites. Onsite facilities include restrooms, showers, trash containers and a dump station. While this site is open year-round, water pumps are turned off in winter. This campground also features a picnic shelter, volleyball court, two hiking trails, a swim beach, and two boat launches. Campsite rates are $24–$62/night.
For those looking to sleep off the beaten path, the New Hope Overlook campground has 24 primitive sites in two areas on the southeastern shores of Jordan Lake. This campground is located about 6 miles southwest of Wilsonville, near the B. Everett Jordan Dam. These walk-in sites are located up to a half-mile from the parking lots, so you should be prepared to pack in your gear. Despite their primitive setting, these sites are equipped with picnic tables, grills and lantern holders. Vault toilets and drinking water are located in each camp area. There are several hiking trails in the area, as well as a boat launch. Campsite rates are $12/night.
“The best way to enjoy the full experience at Jordan Lake is to take a boat or a kayak.” —The Dyrt camper Myron C.