8 Best Lakes in North Carolina For A Wonderful Vacation (2024)
Lakes are the backbone of North Carolina and are virtually in every part of the state. While most natural freshwater lakes are located in the state’s eastern region, artificial and private ones are scattered in the other directions. North Carolina’s mountain range does its part in providing the local lakes with fresh and clean water. The Blue Ridge Mountains have inspired movies and books to spread the word about how beautiful the lake water bodies in North Carolina are. The natural landscapes that accompany the lakes are equally appealing and breathtaking as the centerpiece.
The State of North Carolina would be home to over a hundred named and unnamed lakes. Over the last century, these lakes have transformed the rustic recreational and tourism quotient to another level. Whether you are into boating, fishing, swimming, lakeside strolling, or camping, North Carolina lakes offer an array of fun options to indulge in.
8 Best Lakes in North Carolina For A Wonderful Vacation
There are certainly endless options, but we recommend you to check out the below 8. Have a look:
1. Lake Norman
The largest human-made freshwater lake in North Carolina, Lake Norman, is a must-visit. Boasting over 500 miles of shoreline, it makes for excellent family trips. Lake Norman has conveniently located a 45-minute drive away from Charlotte and boasts Cornelius, Davidson, and Huntersville on its shoreline. There’s one designated area in Lake Norman State Park for swimmers, and it remains open year-round. The lake also hosts numerous events throughout the year, including the Asian Festival and the NC Brewers and music festival. Lake Norman is also famous and has countless public ramps. Other popular activities at the lake include paddle boarding, yachting, fishing, golfing, and hiking. Numerous vocational rentals around the lake allow guests to stay overnight.
2. Bass Lake
Bass Lake is one of the best lakes to enjoy your North Carolina Vacation. Renowned for its warm water, the lake is surrounded by a mile-long trail with multiple mature trees. Some convenient beaches throughout the trails allow individuals to access the lake for multiple recreational activities. For instance, visitors can enjoy waterboarding, watersports, and hiking. However, the activity that draws maximum visitors at Bass Lake is fishing. The lake is stocked up every month with 1,500 pounds of fish, whereas Largemouth Bass naturally occur here. The lake’s natural trail also boasts a glimpse of local animal and plant life. There are multiple picnic areas and nicely maintained restrooms nearby for added options.
3. Price Lake
Price Lake is the centerpiece of Julian Price Memorial Park and another tourism masterpiece in North Carolina. The lake sits at the foot of Grandfather Mountain and boasts of a winter wonderland. Price Lake starts freezing as the temperature begins dropping down, providing opportunities for cross-country skiing and ice skaters. The best time to try the sport here is during January when the ice layer comes at its thickest and safest. Price Lake boasts row boating, canoeing, kayaking, and paddleboarding during the spring and summer seasons. Visitors can also try their hands on fishing, though only with a North Carolina or Virginia fishing license. There are a few camping sites surrounding the lake for camping on the shores.
4. Fontana Lake
Fontana Lake is the deepest lake in North Carolina, with an average depth of 135 feet and a maximum depth of 440 feet. Fontana is an artificial lake that was made back in the 1940s during World War II. Earlier it was used for supplying electricity to locals who were hard at work for war. However, today Lake Fontana boasts as one of the major tourist destinations in North Carolina. It also boasts the tallest dam in the eastern United States. Fontana Lake covers over 10,000 acres and has a reputation of around 400 houseboats. Even the remote Fontana Village Resort attracts travelers from far across. Activities like swimming and hiking are popular timepass around Fontana Lake. There are over 39 miles of trails, including a part of the Appalachian Trail as well.
5. Falls Lake
Falls Lake is a popular recreational area in North Carolina. It was built by the army corp of engineers and is a big-time adventure ground for boaters. The lake has ample nooks and corners for exploration, and it offers many locations to launch from. It is popular amongst swimming enthusiasts and has five designated swimming areas. The recreational area around Falls Lake also boasts 14 miles of single-track mountain biking trails. The track is divided into three loops ideal for intermediate and advanced bikers. Besides that, it is surrounded by seven different recreational zones, including Highway 50, B.W. Wells, Beaverdam, Sandling Beach, Rolling View, Shinleaf, and Holly Point.
6. Nantahala Lake
Nantahala Lake is a part of the namesake national forest and is in the middle of the action. It, too, was once a part of America’s World War II efforts but today acts as a tourism and recreational ground. Nantahala lake is just 30 miles east of Murphy and boasts 42 miles of shoreline and extraordinarily clear water. Since it sits at a high elevation, Nantahala Lake’s water is quite cold as well. The lake, though, has currents, but as its empties down into the Nantahala river, it calms down instantly. Some popular activities available here include fishing, boating, swimming, skiing, and whitewater rafting. Surrounding the lakes are scattered cottages and camping options for those who want to stay back.
7. Lake Toxaway
Lake Toxaway is solely a recreational destination and one popular lake in North Carolina. Dozens of free-flowing streams feed this pristine freshwater mountain lake, and therefore it boasts clean and cold water. It flows out at the Toxaway Falls, where one can find some of the region’s best views. Lake Toxaway offers some unsurpassed recreational opportunities, including boating, swimming, and fishing. However, what it is popular for are the gorgeous vistas and the lake stay. The lake houses offer luxury amenities, recreational opportunities, and a privileged lifestyle. The abundant living experiences here are growing year after year and are a delight to learn about. Lake Toxaway also has an active fish stocking program and is quite a fascinating draw for interested individuals.
8. Lake Lure
Lake Lure is a beautiful artificial lake and a prime location for some of the world’s most iconic films. The 720 acres of Lake Lure are full of natural beauty, and the best views are available from Chimney Rock Park. However, for added views and real-time adventure, one must access the lake. The lake boasts a flowering bridge, a swimming beach, and a waterpark. There’s even a toy train museum and some extraordinary culinary restaurants nearby. Lake Lure’s clear waters and rural beauty are to be seen in movies like Thunder Road, Dirty Dancing, A Breed Apart, The Last of the Mohicans, and Firestarter. Once done with the lake, head towards Chimney Rock for an additional view.