Camping at Jones Lake State Park

Camping out at Jones Lake State Park

Aww. What a wonderfully awesome 3 days we spent camping out at Jones Lake State Park.

It’s located at 4117 NC Highway 242 North Elizabethtown, NC 28337.

Jones Lake is approximately 8,000 feet long with a diverse plant community. Evergreens, including sweet bay, loblolly bay and red bay are predominant. Sheep laurel, blueberry and fetterbush thrive in the acidic soil.


Fall asleep at night to the sounds of the frogs and toads as they make their music. Spring peeper, southern leopard frog, bullfrog and cricket frog are abundant. Brimley’s chorus frog and the endangered pine barrens tree frog also reside at Jones Lake.


Bird watchers will enjoy the many bird species found in the park. Carolina wren, Chickadees, Black Vultures, Yellow – throated Warbler , White eyed Vireo, Pileated woodpecker, Red tailed hawk and an endangered Cockaded woodpecker also make their homes in the park.


It was surprisingly very soothing at night listening to the creatures make their nightly music.

History Highlights

The park has a rich history. The bay lakes region was settled during colonial times. Jones Lake was known as Woodward’s Lake for Samuel Woodward. The Lake was later renamed for land owner Isaac Jones.

During World War 2, Jones Lake was open only for picnicking and fishing while the area was used by the Anti-Aircraft School from Camp Davis for special training programs.


Jones Lake has Family camping and Group camping.  The Family camping area has 20 wooded campsites and is equipped with a picnic table and fire ring/grill. Drinking water and Bath houses are available. FYI the bathhouses are pretty clean. We still put up our bathroom tent because I like privacy when using the bathroom. Look below for links to the bathroom tent and other camping videos and post.

No reservation is needed, campsites are available on a first come first served basis.


A primitive Group campsite is available for organized groups and is open year round. As with the family camping, it includes picnic tables, fire ring/grill and benches. A bathhouse is located nearby.

Group campsites are available by reservation only and must be made at least 48 hours in advance. No more than 35 people can occupy the site.


There are 50 tables and 15 grills available at the picnic grounds. You can also use the grassy area adjacent to the beach for picnicking. For large gatherings the covered picnic shelter is perfect and can accommodate up to 100 people. The use of the shelter is free unless reservations are requested.


Water area


Jones Lake offers swimming, boating and fishing areas. A fee is charged for swimming from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day with lifeguards are on duty. Swimming is in designated areas only and due to the shallow water, no diving is allowed.



Paddle boats and canoes may be rented at the boathouse from Memorial Day to Labor Day when a lifeguard is on duty.

Fishing is permitted only during park hours. All regulation of the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission apply.  Yellow perch are most abundant. Pier fishing is allowed from lake trail access points.



Hiking Trails


Bay Trail

Bay trail is a four-mile loop around Jones Lake.

Large pond cypress tress line the shore and grow in shallow water.  Several short side trails lead to the lake, some with benches so you can catch your breath and view the lake from the waters edge.



We had a very peaceful weekend. We met some really nice people.

The park rangers were very nice and helpful. We enjoyed a free movie night put on by the rangers.

Park information

Contact information:

Jones Lake State Park

4117 NC Highway 242 North Elizabethtown, NC 28337

(910) 588-4550

Links to previous post and how to videos

Outdoor bathroom tent

How to create a camping a/c

Ultimate guide to camping out

Camping recipes



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