Fun In The Piedmont
Lake Norman Offers Great Family Fun
Lake Norman, North Carolina’s largest manmade lake with more than 520 miles of shoreline, offers fun and entertainment for grown-ups and kids alike. Spend all your time on the water, or towel off and visit some of the attractions on the shore. Lake Norman, also called the “inland sea” glistens on the landscape between Charlotte and Statesville. Residents of the lakefront include plenty of famous names, but you don’t need to be a VIP to have a great time on the lake.
The water beckons, and if you didn’t bring a boat with you, there are plenty of marinas that rent boats and personal watercraft. Ski, kneeboard, wakeboard, fish or just cruise the inland sea. Anglers have their choice of white, largemouth and hybrid striped bass, as well as white crappie, longear sunfish and bluegill. A number of fishing guides work the lake for those who want to get the upper “fin” on Lake Norman fishing. If you prefer to paddle, Lake Norman State Park in Troutman rents canoes, rowboats and paddleboats.
Relax and cruise on the Catawba Queen or Catawba Belle, two paddle-wheelers that make daily trips from their Mooresville-area port. While at the Queens Landing dock, check out the entertainment center with its two mini-golf courses, tennis courts, restaurant and bar.
While you’re on the water keep a lookout for Normie, the Lake Norman monster. While there is no solid proof that he exists, many people have reported strange sightings of everything from human-sized catfish to a giant snake with fins.
From the water to the air – several companies offer hot air balloon rides in the Charlotte and Lake Norman area. This is a great way to view the splendor of the state’s largest manmade lake.
NASCAR fans visiting Lake Norman will find they have landed in a racing fan’s paradise. Mooresville, nicknamed “Race City, USA,” is home to more than 60 NASCAR teams. It also is the site of the North Carolina Auto Racing Hall of Fame. You can even race your own remote controlled 1/10 scale car at Mooresville’s Race City Motor Speedway.
And Lake Norman offers plenty of entertainment that’s free or nearly free. Duke Power’s Energy Explorium is a free, hands-on way to learn about electricity and protecting the Lake Norman environment. Latta Plantation Park on nearby Mountain Island Lake is another good example of inexpensive fun. Mecklenburg County’s largest nature preserve features a restored antebellum plantation home as well as the Raptor Center, which rehabilitates birds of prey. There are hiking trails to explore, and you also can rent canoes and paddle boats.
Take a safari through the Lazy 5 Ranch in Mooresville. Home of over 750 animals from 6 continents, the ranch lets you take a 3 ½ mile safari route either in your car or by horse-drawn wagon. Meet camels, giraffe, reindeer, zebra and more.
Whether you take to the water or stay ashore, the Lake Norman area has the right ingredients for a memorable family outing.
added: January 6, 2009
updated: January 7, 2009