Falls Lake Camping Review

One great thing about living in the Raleigh-Durham area is the proximity to great state parks. From my location in east Durham, there are at least 4 great camping/hiking recreation areas within a short 20 minute drive: Umstead State Park, Eno River State Park, Jordan Lake State Recreation Area, and Falls Lake State Recreation Area. Here, I’ll give a quick review of a recent tent camping trip at Falls Lake. Falls Lake is located about 10 miles north of Raleigh.

Details:

I stayed in Loop B of the family campsites area of the Rolling View campground on a Friday evening in April. I had no trouble finding a walk-up campsite, though the sites with lake views were all occupied so I ended up more internal. The site was nice but small, with barely enough room for a couple of 2-man tents. Each site has a picnic table and a fire pit. They sell wood at the entrance station for a ludicrous $4 per bundle, so get some from craigslist before you go if you want a fire. The tent sites in this area were too close together, so there wasn’t much feeling of privacy. Most annoying to me was that at least 2 other visitors decided it was appropriate to play music loud enough for the rest of us to hear. This went on until curfew at around 10 pm, when things quieted down a bit. One other thing is that this park is in a flight path. I noticed the planes, but didn’t find them too bothersome since they didn’t come by very often.

There are some short trails nearby that are easy to find on the map. I hiked down to check out a couple of swim beaches, which seemed very nice and were amazingly empty. The lake water wasn’t too cold, so I was surprised that such a nice place wasn’t overcrowded with swimmers.  I also found a “community building” near the “boat beach” that could apparently be leased for larger group get-togethers. This facility seemed nice, with a large room, attached kitchen, and ample supply of folding chairs. There’s also a group campsite nearby, which was completely empty the night I was there. I did have some difficulty finding flat areas to pitch tents, though. I encountered a few others on the trails but mostly the place was pretty quiet.

The bottom line:

  • Campsites in Rolling View were small and noisy.
  • The park itself is very nice and not too crowded in April.
  • It would be worth it to check out other camping areas, including group camping.
  • It’s definitely a great place for day hikes, swimming, or boating.

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