Falls Lake State Recreation Area, Durham, NC

January 11, 2023

Today, as I dream of getting out on new Airstream adventures in LJ, I’m reminiscing back to one of my first trips of the season last year. I had a goal of exploring more state parks and started searching from some across North Carolina. If you’re looking for a quick camping getaway but still want the convenience of being close to the city then check out Falls Lake State Recreation Area in Durham, NC. The state park is heavily wooded with paved roads and a boat ramp with a waterfront area. You can even rent boats there during the season. 

The views are relaxing and there are some hiking options within the park. I was itching to get out and go camping so bad that I headed out for a week, worked from LJ, the Airstream and finished a book or two. It was perfect because I felt like I was near the mountains (with some hilly hikes) without the long haul of traveling across the state. I loved that the campsites had lots of trees so you felt like you were really secluded in nature. The campsites are not full hook up but there is a dumping site near the entrance. I love the paved roadways, which made my daily walks with Goose so much cleaner. I feel like I’m always sweeping up the floor from the dirt his hair brings in.

I always say I learn something new each time I head out and this time was no exception. There were several campers there for longer stays than me. Since there are no sewage hookups I noticed one campsite with a fifth wheel dumping into a strange device on wheels. Turns out it’s called a honey wagon. I had no idea that you could empty your gray tank with this and hitch it on your tow vehicle to take to the dump station. This comes in handy when camping off grid or in state parks. It’s usually the gray tank that fills up faster because of hand washing, cleaning dishes and taking showers. I was careful all week not to use too much water because I didn’t want to have to hook up and dump and then set my camp back up. I’ll be purchasing one for my cross-country trip because I would like to stay in more state and national parks if possible.

This stop at a state park made me more interested in staying in more state parks. I was a little intimidated before since there are fewer amenities but one of the reasons why I wanted to take solo adventures was to challenge myself. State parks across the United States are really affordable and usually more appealing for a true nature experience.

If you have suggestions for must stay state parks across the United States, please leave a comment so I may check them out. If you would like to see some of my other campground reviews, you may find these blogs helpful:

Harvest Host Misty Morning Ranch

Thousand Trails, Gladys, Virginia

Nickerson Beach at Lido Beach, New York, New York


  • This looks like a looovely and relaxing place to stay. When we visited the US we were really impressed by State Parks. I guess most people head to National Parks, but the State Parks are often just as gorgeous!

    I hope you and goose get loads of similarly fun and relaxing camping trips in 2023. 😀

    • A
      Tessa Travels

      Thanks so much! Goose is ready to get out again. 😉

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