Jones Lake State Park

Quick Facts

Jones Lake State Park

North Carolina

(910) 588-4550

Map Directions

Things To Do


Venture to Jones Lake State Park and view one of the greatest geological mysteries of the eastern United States: the phenomenon of the Carolina bays. Adjacent to the Bladen Lakes State Forest and home of two natural lakes, Jones and Salters lakes, the 2,208-acre park is a nature lover's delight. Peaceful surroundings and a variety of facilities, including a trail with several outlooks that circles Jones Lake, make this state park a favorite for hiking, picnicking, swimming, fishing and camping. Concentrated in the coastal plain of the southeastern United States is a series of elliptical or oval depressions. These depressions are called bays, so named for the sweet bay, loblolly bay and red bay trees found growing around them. There are about 500,000 bays in the southeast. Most are small; few are more than 500 feet in length. The Jones Lake bay, however, is approximately 8,000 feet long. The lake comprises 224 acres and nearby Salters Lake is 315 acres. Scientists have long wondered about the origin of the Carolina bays. Many hypotheses have been proposed, including underground springs, wind and wave action, dissolution of subsurface minerals and meteor showers. So far, no single explanation has gained universal acceptance. Come and visit this unique ecosystem!

Map of Jones Lake (NC)

Latitude, Longitude: 34.677780, -78.614772



  • Boating

    Boating is a popular pastimes at Jones Lake. A road to the lake for small craft is located at the west side of the picnic area. The access road ends at the lakeshore, and only motors that are 10 horsepower and under are allowed on the lake. Canoes and paddleboats may be rented from Memorial Day through Labor Day at the boathouse adjacent to the pier.

  • Bicycling

    In all parks, bicycles are permitted only on those trails or other park areas specifically designated for their use.

  • Camping

    Jones Lake State Park has 20 campsites for family camping. Each wooded site is equipped with a picnic table and grill. Drinking water and restrooms with showers are located nearby. Group sites are also available by reservation.

  • Climbing

    Many rare plants live on thin soils and wet rocks, and are vulnerable to damage from climbing, trampling and scraping.

  • Fishing

    Fishing is a popular pastimes at Jones Lake. However, few fish species are present due to the water's acidity. Yellow perch are the most abundant; chain pickerel, catfish, chub suckers and blue-spotted sunfish also occupy the lakes. Pier fishing is allowed only from the lake trail access points.

  • Hiking

    Bay Trail is a five-mile loop around Jones Lake, offering an excellent chance to experience the habitats of a Carolina bay. Wander through dense vegetation and over boggy soil to view lovely lakeside flora. Large pond cypress trees, draped with Spanish moss, line the shore and grow in the shallow water. The park also has a one-mile nature trail. The Cedar Loop Trail journeys through both the bay forest and sand ridge communities.

  • Historic Sites

    Rangers hold regularly scheduled educational and interpretive programs about Jones Lake State Park.

  • Off Highway Vehicles

    Motorized vehicles are permitted only in designated areas and not permitted on park trails.

  • Picnicking

    A picnic is a great way to enjoy a day out-of-doors. More than 50 tables and eight grills are available at the picnic grounds. A grassy area, also available for picnicking, is adjacent to the beach where the shade of pine and cypress trees promises respite from the sun. The large covered picnic shelter, perfect for a large gathering, will accommodate up to 100 people.

  • RVing

    One site has electrical and water hookups and is available for both tents and recreational vehicles. However, the park does not offer a dump station for recreational vehicles.

  • Water Sports

    Take advantage of the aquatic activities offered by this cool, tea-colored lake. The sandy beach of Jones Lake is ideal for sunbathing, and the shallow water is a swimmer's delight. A fee is charged for swimming from Memorial Day through Labor Day. A concession stand and bathhouse are located nearby. A pier provides access for canoe and paddle boat rental.



Jones Lake State Park is located in Bladen County, four miles north of Elizabethtown on Highway 242. To reach the park from Wilmington, drive west on US 74/76. Turn right onto NC 87 and travel north toward Elizabethtown. Turn right onto NC 87 Business. At the second light, turn right onto US 701. Travel north for one mile and take a left onto NC 53. Take an immediate right onto NC 242. Drive north for two miles. The park entrance, indicated by a large sign, will be on the left.

To arrive at Jones Lake from Fayetteville, drive east on NC 53 for approximately 40 miles, take a left onto NC 242 and travel north. The park entrance, marked with a large sign, is two miles on the left.

Phone Numbers


(910) 588-4550

Campground reservations

(877) 722-6762