Situated in Wake and Durham counties, Falls Lake State Recreation Area is a collection of seven access areas dotting the shoreline of the 12,410-acre Falls Lake. With miles of hiking and biking trails, thousands of acres of boating opportunities, diverse wildlife, and hundreds of campsites to choose from, this North Carolina recreation area has something to offer every kind of visitor, making it the perfect choice for your next RV adventure.
Falls State Recreation Area features a network of mountain biking trails, a stunning section of the Mountains-to-Sea State Trail for hiking, five swim beaches, a separate lake area perfect for paddling, fishing, and swimming, and multiple boating ramps—some reserved for paddlers and non-gasoline powered boats. Beyond these many recreation options, the park is also home to a wide variety of plants and animals sure to entice any wildlife enthusiasts: visitors can look out for tickseed sunflowers, white-tailed deer, bluebirds, goldfinches, red-tailed hawks, great-horned owls, and bald eagles. Falls Lake also serves a vital function for flood and water-quality control and water supply, as the Falls Lake Project was developed by the US Army Corps of Engineers to control destructive floods and to supply a source of water for surrounding communities, with construction of the dam beginning in 1978.
This sprawling North Carolina park offers nearly 300 RV sites spread across two distinct campgrounds, with many of these sites featuring water and electric hookups. Boasting mild winters and hot summers, Falls Lake State Recreation Area is open year-round, though different sections of the park—including loops within the campgrounds—follow different seasonal schedules.
RV Rentals in Falls Lake State Recreation Area
Transportation in Falls Lake State Recreation Area
Located ten miles north of Raleigh and 12 miles east of Durham, Falls Lake State Recreation Area sits in Wake and Durham counties and is easily accessible by RV or car from NC-50 and NC-98. The recreation area features seven individual parks and areas with different addresses, and online directions are not always accurate, so the park encourages visitors to follow the directions provided on its website.
Importantly, the park office is separate from the main park facilities, which have multiple access points, so campers should plan to go directly to their campground rather than to the park office. Parking is available in multiple designated areas throughout the park, with many lots located in the Beaverdam Lake Day Use Area and the Highway 50 Day Use Area. Guests planning to stay the night have plenty of RV sites to choose from, with sites accommodating rigs of up to 120 feet and offering both pull-through and back-in access.
Falls Lake State Recreation Area’s close proximity to Raleigh and Durham means that visitors have plenty of nearby options for food and supplies. Visitors can enjoy a handful of restaurants and shops right outside the Highway 50 park gate, but for a wider range of restaurants, shops, and gas stations, visitors can head to nearby Wake Forest, Durham, or Raleigh—all only a few miles away.
Campgrounds and parking in Falls Lake State Recreation Area
Campsites in Falls Lake State Recreation Area
Holly Point Campground
Falls Lake State Recreation Area offers 273 RV sites spread across two campgrounds: Holly Point and Rolling View. Holly Point is located in the eastern area of the park, and is made up of five loops of sites. The campground offers 158 campsites total, with 89 of those offering water and 30-amp electric hookups. The sites in Holly Point do not have sewer hookups, but guests can make use of the dump station centrally located within the campground, as well as the bathhouses located in each of the five loops. Guests can also enjoy easy access to a hiking trail, playground, picnic areas, a boat ramp, and two swimming areas. All campsites include a picnic table, outdoor grill, and a lantern hook. The campground offers both back-in and pull-through sites, and offers sites that can accommodate rigs of up to 120 feet long. The loops within Holly Point operate on slightly different schedules: Loop 1 is open for summer holiday weeks only, Loop 2 and Loop 4 are open from mid-March through October, Loop 3 is open from April through October, and Loop 5 is open from mid-May to mid-September.
Rolling View Campground
Rolling View is located in the western area of the park and offers 115 campsites total spread across three loops, with 80 sites offering water and 30-amp electric hookups. As with the sites in Holly Point, the Rolling View sites do not have sewer hookups, but guests can make use of the dump station located near the campground entrance. There are bathhouses centrally located in each of the three loops, and all campsites include a picnic table, outdoor grill, and a lantern hook on the tent pad. The sites here offer a mix of back-in and pull-through access, and can accommodate rigs of up to 115 feet. Guests staying in Rolling View can also enjoy access to hiking trails, two fishing piers, multiple picnic areas, a playground, a swimming area, a boat ramp, and Rolling View Marina. Rolling View campground also offers sites that are available year-round, with Loop A open year-round, and Loops B and C open from mid-March through November.
Seasonal activities in Falls Lake State Recreation Area
Visitors have plenty of opportunities to explore Falls Lake State Recreation Area’s 12,410-acre lake by boat, with multiple boat ramps and boating facilities throughout the park. Highway 50, Rolling View, and Beaverdam recreation areas all have boat launching facilities. Beaverdam is open to just non-gasoline engines, while B.W. Wells and Holly Point provide similar services for campers only. Highway 50 features a boat ramp and fishing, and Rolling View features a marina offering boat launching, a snack bar, slips and mooring, equipment rentals, supplies, and gasoline.
Visitors who would prefer to explore Falls Lake State Recreation Area’s chief feature through swimming can escape the North Carolina summer heat and take advantage of the sandy swim beaches at Sandling Beach, Rolling View, and Beaverdam. These swim areas also offer modern bathhouses with restrooms and changing facilities, as well as easy access to other park features, such as playgrounds, hiking trails, and picnic areas. For a more private beach experience, visitors camping in Holly Point can also cool off in the campground’s swim beach, reserved exclusively for campers.
Anglers will meanwhile have plenty to keep them busy at Falls Lake State Recreation Area, which offers multiple prime fishing spots throughout its many acres, both on the water and from the shore. Visitors can try their luck at catching bass, bluegill, catfish, and crappie, which are all abundant in Falls Lake. The recreation area’s artificial reefs and underwater fish shelters help support game and non-game fish, while continuous stocking programs ensure a healthy and sizable fish population.
Hiking & Biking
While Falls Lake offers countless opportunities for recreation on water, there is much more to this North Carolina park than its namesake lake. Falls Lake State Recreation also offers many miles of hiking and biking trails, so hikers and mountain bikers will have plenty to explore on land. Hikers can take advantage of the Falls Lake Trail, which is a portion of the Mountains to Sea Trail that travels the full south shore of Falls Lake. Mountain bikers can meanwhile check out Beaverdam’s 16-mile mountain bike trail, which winds through a mixed pine and hardwood forest.
Visitors looking for a slower-paced activity can enjoy the abundance of birdwatching opportunities throughout Falls Lake State Recreation Area. Birders can look out for bluebirds, goldfinches, and wrens singing in the trees, wood ducks and mallards paddling on the water, and red-tailed hawk, osprey, and bald eagle soaring overhead. Visitors can also listen for the calls of the great-horned owl, barred owl, and screech owl, whose voices fill the night air. Visitors can obtain full plant and animal checklists at the park office, to keep track of their sightings.
Falls Lake State Recreation Area offers a wide range of events and interpretive programs all throughout the year, so visitors hoping to dive deeper into the park’s history, wildlife, and natural features will have plenty of programs to explore. Programs range from ranger-led hikes, to lessons on birding, to hands-on workshops about specific animals within the park. Visitors looking to learn more about the rich natural features that make up this North Carolina park should check the park’s events page for a program that fits their interests.