From cobalt-blue waters to mirror-like landscapes, North Carolina is home to some of the most amazing freshwater havens in the United States. Wherever is your home base, you will never be far from a lake escape to relax and enjoy the breeze. Surrounded by lots of natural beauty with protected lands, national forests, and state parks, NC also has recreational areas for hiking, whitewater rafting, and waterfall hunting. From summer to spring, whatever the season, there are lots of things to do and discover. So, before planning your trip, take a look at this article on the most gorgeous lakes in North Carolina, USA.
1. Jordan Lake
If you like the sensation of feeling secluded, Jordan Lake is surrounded by 14000 acres (5665.59 hectares). Nearby the capital Raleigh, it features a recreation area with more than 1000 campsites — from primitive tent camping to full RV hookups — with a wide range of outdoor activities, seven swim beaches, and miles of hiking trails. Some of them are quite easy for family outings. A visitor center is available for everyone looking to discover more about the lake’s ecology and its wildlife.
Address: Chatham / Durham counties, North Carolina, United States
Website: Jordan Lake
2. Belews Lake
Located north of Greensboro and Winston-Salem, Belews Lake is the paradise for water sports. Water skiing is one of the most popular activities, so is fishing. Two marinas offer places to eat, get supplies for fishing, or rent a boat. If you bring your tent along, you can stay in one of the many camping spots on the lake’s edge and watch the sunset over the water as much as you can. Knight Brown Nature Preserve is in the same area, with lots of hiking trails and wildlife.
Address: Stokes / Rockingham / Guilford / Forsyth counties, North Carolina, United States
Website: Belews Lake
3. Lake James
In the mountain area of western North Carolina, Lake James has a full menu of recreational activities. Its clear waters are an invitation for boating, swimming, and fishing, while the hiking trails around the lake hide spectacular views of the Appalachian Mountains. Some of them are open to biking. From child-friendly and short walks as Holly Discovery Trail to adventurous paths like Overmountain Victory Trail, there are roads for every kind of traveler. Between one exploring and another, you can make your base in a campsite with lake views.
Address: Lake James State Park, 7321 NC-126, Nebo, NC 28761, United States
Website: Lake James
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4. Lake Fontana
Nestled between the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Nantahala National Forest, is the calm surface waters of Lake Fontana. Surrounded by natural beauties - inlets created by ancient mountains and islands - you will feel connected to nature no matter where you look. A whole new world waits to be explored by boat or fantastic trails in your lake vacation. On clear days, a tower at Clingmans Dome provides stunning views of the entire lake.
Address: Graham / Swain counties, North Carolina, United States
Website: Lake Fontana
5. Lake Norman
Created in 1964, Lake Norman is the largest man-made lake of North Carolina, and it’s located a quick drive north of the pretty city of Charlotte. Its landscape is shaped by two yacht clubs, where you can store your boat if you bring one. There are lots of access points to get on board on the water or hang out to fish. Natural visitors, like birds and other animals, come by often, so keep your eyes peeled for any movement from the bushes along the lake’s edge.
Address: Catawba / Iredell / Lincoln / Mecklenburg counties, North Carolina, United States
Website: Lake Norman
6. Lake Wylie
Between the border of North Carolina and South Carolina, Lake Wylie covers a surface of 13400 acres (5422,78 hectares) and 325 miles (523,03 kilometers) of shoreline. This man-made reservoir is surrounded by a variety of small communities and public boat launches, with docking services to keep your boat in the water during your lake vacation. Summer watersports are popular in this year-round lake. You can watch the sunsets while relaxing in the water.
Website: Lake Wylie
7. Badin Lake
Behind great adventures, you can build unforgettable memories. In a huge green area close to Charlotte, Badin Lake impresses with the stunning sunset view over the water. While you wait for the sun to go down, lots of outdoor activities take place. Golf, hiking, camping, hunting, fishing, and boating are popular things to do in the recreational area of this lake. You can also call your family and friends for a tour in the Stoney Mountain Vineyards or a picnic and swimming with the day-use pass at King’s Mountain Point.
Website: Badin Lake
8. Hyco Lake
Close to the border with Virginia, an area of 3750 acres (1517,57 hectares) was used to create Hyco Lake in the early 1960s. The spot is popular among nature lovers, bird watchers, and golf players. Besides a wide variety of birds and wildlife, you will find an 18-hole golf course free to play in. With 65 campsites, other outdoor activities also take place at Hyco Lake, such as camping, picnicking, boating, and fishing.
Address: Person / Caswell counties, North Carolina, United States
Website: Hyco Lake
9. Lake Glenville
Near the borders with Georgia and South Carolina, Lake Glenville is the highest lake east of the Mississippi, at 3492 feet (1064,36 meters) above seal level. Its clear waters and sandy beaches bring watersport addicts looking for a hot spot to boat, swim, ski, and sail. Highlands and Cashiers are the closest resort towns, always chosen by couples for a weekend getaway. There are 47 campgrounds around and a few short hiking trails throughout the lake’s edge.
Address: Jackson County, North Carolina, United States
Website: Lake Glenville
10. Lake Lure
Did you know that Lake Lure is a popular location for blockbuster movies? One of them is the iconic film Dirty Dancing, with Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey. The mountain getaway vibe and scenic landscape may show why Hollywood likes it and why this could be your next lake destination. There are plenty of lodges, resorts, and campgrounds along the lakeshore, as well as activities in the nearby cities, such as ziplining, horse riding, and a toy museum.
Website: Lake Lure
Create unforgettable memories
When it comes to choosing the most gorgeous lakes, North Carolina doesn’t fall behind. With beautiful lakes all year round, the warmer weather feels inviting for swimming and water sports, while the ice-cold lakes transform all the landscape around (especially when the snow comes). It’s also good to watch the fall colors reflecting on the water, just like smelling the scent of the spring flowers. Enjoy, to the fullest, the most gorgeous lakes in North Carolina, USA!
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