Parks And Recreation: Top 10 Things To Do At Lake Norman, North Carolina

Parks And Recreation: Top 10 Things To Do At Lake Norman, North Carolina
Rica
Rica
Updated

Spacious parks, rich forests, and exciting water activities await visitors at Lake Norman in the USA’s North Carolina. It has a surface area of 50.8 square meters (546.8 square feet), making it the largest manmade body of water in the state. The reservoir is surrounded by several towns, including Cornelius, Davidson and Huntersville.

To give you an idea of what the Lake Norman towns have to offer, and why you should visit, check out this list of fun activities:

1. Cornelius

Spanning a total of 104 acres (42 hectares), Jetton Park is a family-friendly recreational area located on the lakefront. Its main features include picnic sites, tennis courts, playgrounds, and a gazebo, as well as restrooms and concession areas. If you’re into outdoor activities, you can make use of the 1.5-mile (2.4-kilometer) walking trail or 1.3-mile (2.1-kilometer) bike trail inside the park. Although swimming is not allowed, the beach is a nice place to relax, top up your suntan, or to hold a celebration for the family. In fact, it can accommodate birthday parties, reunions, and weddings.

2. Play sports at Robbins Park

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

For sporty travelers, the 66-acre (163-hectare) Robbins Park offers facilities for various physical activities. It has a baseball field, basketball court, batting cage, disc-golf course, football field, soccer field, and tennis court. It is ideal for families or groups of friends planning to spend a day doing sports. Otherwise, it is a nice setting for a picnic, since the park is also equipped with grills and picnic shelters. During the summer, various community concerts and events are also held within the park’s grounds.

3. Davidson

parks and recreation: top 10 things to do at lake norman, north carolina | davidson
Source: Pixabay

Built in 1829, the Beaver Dam Plantation House is a federal-style dwelling owned by Major William Lee Davidson II and his wife. After undergoing renovation in the 1970s, it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in the United States. At present, it serves both as a tourist attraction and an events venue where business meetings, dinners, parties, and weddings are held. The house’s main features include a gable roof, brick exteriors, and a one-story roof porch. It also has a wide lawn filled with magnolias, ideal for a quiet and leisurely stroll.

4. Have a sip of wine at Lake Norman Cottage

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

With a nice location on the waterside, Lake Norman Cottage is a haven for food lovers and wine enthusiasts. The shop has an old-fashioned homey feel, where guests can have a sample of their delicious concoctions and cooked treats. On Friday and Saturday evenings, guests can join a special wine-tasting session for a chance to have a sip of unique wines and enjoy tasty food. The sessions run from 6 pm until late, and cost 25 USD per person. Don’t forget to partner your wine with the house special called baked brie, a popular winter snack with French cheese as the main ingredient. If you can’t get enough of Lake Norman Cottage’s wines, you can even buy a custom gift basket to take home to your family and friends.

5. Buy locally grown food items at Davidson Farmer’s Market

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

More than just a marketplace, Davidson Farmer’s Market aims to be a lively gathering place for families and friends. It showcases locally grown food and agricultural practices, while also educating the public about the importance of proper nutrition. To attract more visitors, the market has live musical entertainment, as well as special events and cooking demonstrations. Some of the items you will find here include fresh fruits and vegetables, organic cheeses, breads, and honey. There are also non-edible items, such as flowers and soaps. In case you get hungry while you’re at the market, some stalls sell pasta dishes and other ready-to-eat meals.

6. Huntersville

parks and recreation: top 10 things to do at lake norman, north carolina | huntersville
Source: Pixabay

Designated as a protected natural area, Cowan’s Ford Wildlife Refuge sits on an 850-acre (344-hectare) peninsula, including four miles (6.4 kilometers) of shoreline, seven manmade features, and a diverse range of natural communities. There are no public trails inside the park, which means people who wish to explore the area in detail have to join a group program conducted by the Division of Natural Resources. Some of the natural attractions you will find here are hardwood forests, grasslands, and manmade ponds. Depending on the season, you might get to see wintering waterfowls and migratory songbirds. If you don’t want to join a tour it is possible to drive along the main track that runs through the park, and visit one well-marked viewing point.

7. Tour around Latta Plantation

parks and recreation: top 10 things to do at lake norman, north carolina | tour around latta plantation
Source: Pixabay

Combining an outdoor experience and a glimpse of history, the 1,351-acre (547-hectare) Latta Plantation Nature Center and Preserve is an ideal destination for the whole family. For active visitors, there are facilities such as hiking trails, horseback riding tours, fishing boats, and kayak rentals. Just a stone’s throw away from the preserve is the Latta Plantation, a cotton plantation dating back to the 1800s. It has a house with a 19th-century federal-style design, which was restored and preserved for everyone to see. Guided house tours and living history events are conducted here. The regular tour costs 8 USD for adults, 7 USD for students and seniors, and children under the age of 5 are free. For greater insights, the Tarheel Tour costs 12 USD, with no charge for children below the age of 5. Advance reservation is needed for the in-depth Tarheel Tour.

8. Meet birds of prey at Carolina Raptor Center

Located within Latta Plantation Nature Center, Carolina Raptor Center is a facility dedicated to the rehabilitation of various birds of prey. It was founded in 1975, but only transferred to its current location in 1984. Visitors can join various programs at the center throughout the year. There is a Raptor Meet and Greet every weekend, while the Talons Flight Show happens during the summer. Other things to look forward to include trail exhibits, featuring photographs and information regarding the efforts of Carolina Raptor Center. There’s A Day in the Life of a Raptor Hospital, for instance, as well as Raptors of the Silver Screen and Vulture Culture.

9. Lake activities

parks and recreation: top 10 things to do at lake norman, north carolina | lake activities
Source: Pixabay

Lake Norman offers a variety of activities for all ages. From water skiing and wakeboarding to fishing and sailing, it is one of the best watersport playgrounds in North Carolina. The best way to see the lake is by boat, which you can rent from Lake Norman Marina. It is a family-owned business, in operation since 1974, and it offers boat launches, boat slips, boat rentals, and boat repairs. They also have the largest indoor waterfront showroom, which contains a total of 40 used and brand new boats.

10. Swim at Lake Norman State Park

Latta Plantation, Huntersville, North Carolina
Source: Photo by user Carol M. Highsmith used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

Lake Norman is known as the largest manmade reservoir in North Carolina. It is a part of the Lake Norman State Park, a 1,934-acre (782.6-hectare) nature reserve founded in 1962. It offers swimming opportunities, including at the beach that spans 125 yards (114 meters) and a bathhouse complex. Another thing to look forward to is the park’s mountain biking network, featuring a 30.5-mile (49-kilometer) single-track trail. For campers, come here during the warm months and enjoy a 32-site campground. Camping facilities include kitchens, restrooms, and fireplaces.

Best time to visit Lake Norman

If you are planning to visit the parks, spring (March to May) is the best time to visit Lake Norman. During this season, the weather is just starting to warm up in the area, while the flowers start to bloom. Meanwhile, if you want a trip concentrated on water activities, come during the summer (June to August) and have fun under the sun. Do note that the seasons vary across the large state of North Carolina. Plan your trip to Lake Norman and have a ball!

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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Rica is a young freelance worker from the Philippines. She writes for a living, but more importantly, she lives to write. Travel is one of her favorite writing topics, alongside love and...Read more

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