Camping at Jordan Lake State Park Recreation Area North Carolina

May 17, 2023

My first camping experience this year in LJ, my Airstream, was a weekend trip to Jordan Lake State Park Recreation Area in Apex, North Carolina. One of my goals is to visit more state parks because from my own experience, comparing a state park to an RV park, the state parks are more rustic. If you truly want to decompress, the state parks are the way to go. There are less campsites so you feel more one with nature and you experience more green space between you and your neighbor. But Goose is also happy because he likes to people watch so he’ll quietly sit outside and watch campers walk by.

Jordan Lake is the second largest lake in North Carolina and was absolutely beautiful and peaceful. The Crosswinds Campground, where I stayed, offers a beach at the campground, nice bath houses, tent and RV campsites, dumping station and paved roads, which make biking with the kids easy. I saw lots of campers heading to the vast amount of shoreline to also throw a line in the water to try and catch some fish. Many types of fish are available like largemouth bass, crappie, white perch, catfish and striper.  Nearby are other beaches with boat ramps like the Seaforth Access, which you have to pay for access on the weekends. There are also hiking trails throughout the recreation area, which you can find on All Trails. I hiked the Jordan Lake Track Trail/Seaforth Pond Trail. Goose enjoyed it because it was super shady, but I loved the mixed views between Jordan Lake and the smaller ponds. In one of the ponds, I discovered a Beaver Lodge, which I haven’t seen since I was a teenager growing up in eastern North Carolina. The trails were clearly marked and there were shelters for picnics with bath houses.

I also have a goal to learn something new each time I head out camping and this time was no different. I bought an Instant Pot Duo Plus a few months back that is small enough to put in the camper. I also chose this size because it’s great for cooking for two people (or one with leftovers). Our family eats a lot of jasmine rice (my husband is Thai/Irish) so I needed to have something easy to cook it in. At home, we use an old rice cooker his mom bought us back in 1994 and it still works! I couldn’t possibly take it on the road leaving Andy with no way to make rice so the instant pot was my first choice. I made some chicken thighs in it first and then used the broth to cook the rice. It was amazing and the rice was perfect! I’ll keep trying these recipes as I plan for my cross country trip. If you have Instant Pot Duo Plus recipes, please share those links in the comments below!

Is there a state park that is a must visit? Let me know! I hope to head up to West Virginia in the summer to visit a place I lived at as a child. I also hope to get to fly fish while there. Stay tuned!


  • Linda Pasche

    Can you add me to your blog email? I am friend of Cheryl Smith’s. We bought a Class B RV 1.5 years ago. Lots of great travels. Have have done all the state parks in NC except two. Plan to visit last two in the fall.

    • A
      Tessa Travels

      Hi Linda, Certainly! You can sign up here for my email: You can scroll to the bottom of that home page and there is a way to sign up for my emails. I would love your suggestions on which state parks I should visit!

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