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Lake Norman, North Carolina

Updated on February 1, 2014

Fun for All Ages

Lake Norman, North Carolina has a variety of activities for all age groups including: camping, fishing, boating, and hiking. Lake Norman is not just a lake, as of 1962 it was also made into a state park when Duke Power company donated over a thousand acres for development of a park.

Lake Norman was developed to generate electrical energy to the area when Duke Power Company built the Cowens Ford Dam across the Catawba River. Today the lake is enjoyed by people from all over North Carolina and surrounding areas.

Family or group camping is available with the family campground opening each year in March, and the group campground opening in April. Both campgrounds stay open through November. Camping rules and regulations can be found online.


Private crafts can load and unload from the boat launch area free of charge. No parked cars are allowed in the lot past park closing time. Pontoon boats and jet skis and can also access Lake Norman from this launch area. For those who don't own their own water recreation vehicle, canoes or pedal boats are available for rent during business hours. 

Fishing at Lake Norman

Lake Norman is a popular area for game fishing with a variety of fish including: largemouth, striped, and white bass, yellow perch, crappie, and bluegill. For fishing rules and regulations check the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission guide.

Water sports and recreation aren't the only adventures to find at Lake Norman, North Carolina. The land around the lake has a variety of hiking and biking trails for guests to enjoy.Hikers can choose from different trails to explore the land around Lake Norman. Alder Trail is only about a mile long and is an easy course for those who cannot tolerate strenuous hikes. This hiking trail runs along the edge of the lake and across the picnic area.

Lake Shore Trail is a five mile walk past the boat launch and through the campgrounds. This trail also circles around a swimming area. The Itusi Trail is a thirteen mile mountain bike riding trail. Hikers are allowed on the trail, but must yield to mountain bikers.

Family Outings

Lake Norman, North Carolina is a great place for a family outing, so be sure to bring your picnic basket. Three public picnic areas are available with access to picnic tables, grills, and restrooms.

Not only is swimming in the lake an option, there is also a swimming area complete with its own 125 yard "sandy beach". This area comes complete with concessions, showers, lockers, and restrooms. A complete annual schedule of rules, regulations, and season dates can be found online.

Lake Norman, North Carolina is not just a place for fishing and ski boats, but with the many available options, Lake Norman is sure to have something for each outdoor lover or water enthusiast.

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