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Roughly 45 minutes from Fayetteville, North Carolina, and a little over an hour from Wilmington, North Carolina, is one of Bladen County’s finest parks, Jones Lake State Park. It’s located in a quaint town in eastern North Carolina, Elizabethtown. The park is unique in that it contains two of the remarkable Carolina bays. If you’re looking for a quiet spot where you can relax and recharge, this is the park for you. You can go for a swim in Jones Lake or look out over the bays from the picnic areas or sandy lakeshores.
The land surrounding the bays was originally farmland. The federal government purchased Jones Lake after the Great Depression. At this time, several of the park’s features that still exist today were built. The park was handed over to the state in 1954. Jones Lake has been used for special military training programs and astronomy as well as the recreational activities that continue to attract visitors to the park today. Be sure to book an RV in Bladen County so you can experience everything the park has to offer.
If you’re camping at Jones Lake State Park during the summer, you can rent a canoe or paddle boat from the park’s boathouse. Kayaking is another popular water sport that Jones Lake State Park campers enjoy. The shallow waters of Jones Lake are perfect for swimming. However, if you prefer to stay on dry land, you can sunbathe on the lake’s sandy shores.
Campers can access Jones Lake without a permit, but will need a permit from the park staff if they want to access the second lake, Salters Lake. If you’re planning to take your boat out on the water, keep in mind that only motorized watercraft with ten horsepower or below are allowed. A boat ramp near the picnic area and a fishing pier are available for use.
For those interested in hiking, the park offers a four-mile loop trail, the Bay Trail, which takes hikers around the circumference of the lake. The trail is rated moderately difficult. You’ll have the chance to view native plant life up close, including the elegant Leatherwood plants, which are also known as titi. You’ll find Spanish moss hanging from pond cypress trees, which grow in and along the water. If you want to venture into the Bay forest, use the short one-mile Cedar Loop Trail. To access Salters Lake, use the short trail with which it shares its name, the Salters Lake Trail.
The park offers 18 campsites without electricity or water hookups. However, there is one campsite with a 30-amp electricity hookup and water hookup at the Jones Lake Family Campground. The campsite can accommodate an RV up to 45 feet long. Amenities available to Jones Lake campers include a fire ring with a grill, a picnic table, and a bathhouse near the campground. Unfortunately, the park doesn't provide a dump station, but there are four drinking water stations.
Reservations are not required but are encouraged to ensure that a campsite is available for your camper rental. You can book a campsite online or over the phone. You can even bring your pet with you to join you during your stay at the park!
Once you’ve experienced everything the park has to offer, venture into Elizabethtown, North Carolina. Visitors and local residents alike will enjoy the downtown district. A marker indicates the site of the Battle of Elizabethtown, which took place in 1781 during the Revolutionary War. The Tory Hole Park, which once served as a battleground, now provides recreation and contains an amphitheater and playground.
If you’re in search of good food, live music, or wine tastings, look no further than Elizabethtown’s vineyards. The town is also famous for its Carolina-style hot dogs and hamburgers. Before you continue on your adventure, stop at one of the gas stations or convenience stores along Broad or Poplar Street to fill up your rental RV and grab a snack for the road.
Drive your motorhome rental roughly 45 minutes northwest to the city of Fayetteville, North Carolina. Fayetteville is home to a variety of cultural events and museums, including the Airborne and Special Operations Museum. At this museum, you can learn about airborne and special operations soldiers from World War II to the present on a self-guided tour. If need an escape from the big city, check out the Cape Fear Botanical Garden on the Cape Fear River. Here, you'll discover more of the area’s unique plant life and the wildlife that it attracts. Spend some time exploring the city of Fayetteville before continuing on with your journey.