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Things to do in Lake Norman State Park

Lake Norman State Park is an expansive 1,934-acre park nestled on the northern shores of Lake Norman, the largest manmade lake in North Carolina. Originally known as Duke Power State Park, the park is open year-round, and is a popular destination for a myriad of recreational activities including camping, biking, boating, kayaking, swimming, fishing, and water skiing.

Lake Norman State Park was formed in September 1962, after Duke Power Company donated more than 1,300 acres of land on Lake Norman’s northeastern shore for use as a state park.

If you’re planning a trip to this scenic outdoor haven, here are a few fun activities for you to enjoy:

Camping

Lake Norman State Park is home to more than 30 campsites with features such as picnic tables, grills, tent pads, and restrooms. Use of campsites require a fee, and are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Those using the campsites may not vacate the premises before the 8am opening or after closing, except during emergencies.

Closing hours change throughout the year – the park closes at 6pm from November to February, 8pm from March to April and September to October, and 9pm from May to August.

Large groups not exceeding 35 persons may use group camping facilities within the park by reserving in advance.

Biking

Lake Norman State Park is a very popular spot for bikers, as it features one of the best mountain biking networks in the region. The park is home to the Itusi Trail, a 30.5-mile trail meandering through dense woodlands, rolling terrain, and along the serene shores of Lake Norman. The trail is specifically designed for mountain biking, and is maintained by the Tar Heel Trailblazers, a mountain biking club based in Charlotte.

Other trail systems within the park are the 0.8-mile Alder Trail and the 5-mile Lake Shore Trail, which features captivating views of Lake Norman.

Boating

Enjoy a relaxing day on the waters of Lake Norman. Stop by the visitor center, which offers canoes, paddle boards, pedal boats, and kayaks for rent. Visitors with their own boats and watercraft can access Lake Norman from Boat Launch Drive at the south end of the park, where you can find a public boat launch.

You can view Lake Norman’s levels and get other information by visiting the Duke Energy website.

Fishing

Anglers can enjoy a relaxing day of fishing at Lake Norman, which is home to a variety of species such as striped, spotted, and largemouth bass, catfish, crappie, perch, and bluegill. There’s also a smaller lake within the park that features several choice fishing spots.

Swimming

The southern section of Lake Norman State Park has a swimming area, as well as a picnic area and a fishing pier. The swimming area features a 125 yard sand beach, complete with a concession stand, bathhouse, restrooms, changing stalls, lockers, and a parking area.

The beach is open from April to October, 10am to 5:30pm.

For more activities and information on Lake Norman State Park, visit the NCParks.gov website here.