Top 15 Beautiful Lakes in and Near Charlotte North Carolina
Charlotte is a beautiful city with a lot to offer. It has a rich history and amazing hospitality.
You’ll also find some of Charlotte’s best bed and breakfasts and trendy Airbnbs in stunning nature. The city is also blessed with natural and artificial lakes.
Many of these lakes are protected by various conservation agencies that ensure their beauty and their natural resources are preserved for future generations.
Another factor that makes these lakes attractive is that they are conveniently located in beautiful forests, mountains, grasslands, and rivers, among other amenities.
The water is relatively calm and clear, with conditions that attract a wide range of fun activities such as fishing, swimming, snorkeling, and boating.
To better understand how these lakes compare and differ in their attractions, check out our list of the gorgeous lakes in and near Charlotte, NC.
- Willie Lake
Lake Wylie is a large artificial lake just 22.4 km (13.9 mi) from the most populous city in North Carolina, Charlotte. Lake Wylie and its surrounding beauty present a perfect escape from city life’s daily hustle and bustle.
One way you can explore Lake Wiley is through its exquisite boat charters, just a few miles from the many cabins for rent in Charlotte.
These action-packed trips include fishing, tubing, and sunset dinners aboard luxurious cruise ships. The lake also has shallow bays where you can stop for more fun with swimming and various water sports.
Mountain Island Lake
If you still find yourself searching for “small lakes near me,” look no further – although Mountain Island Lake’s primary role is to provide fresh drinking water and electricity to the residents surrounding this small artificial lake, the areas are also a famous entertainment destination in Charlotte.
Major attractions in the area are the lake itself and the historic Rural Hill Farm. The waters in Mountain Island Lake are relatively clear and calm, allowing visitors to dive into various exhilarating adventures such as stand-up paddleboarding, fishing, swimming, and boating.
On the shore of the lake is a 485-acre (196-ha) nature reserve called the Rural Hill Nature Preserve.
If you fancy an adventure, Rural Hill boasts excellent hiking trails, excursion sites, and a corn maze that guarantees fun for guests of all ages.
Another gorgeous area worth visiting, one of the lakes near Charlotte, NC, is the largest artificial lake in the state.
Lake Norman, located just a short drive from Uptown Charlotte, is blessed with a mild climate, making it the ultimate year-round tourist destination.
Lake Norman is home to various aquatic and wildlife, making it an ideal place for nature enthusiasts. A trip to the lake guarantees stunning sightings of a variety of fish, including blue catfish, bluegill, crappie, and sauger.
Plus, all around the lake, you’ll meet beautiful turtles, frogs, and water snakes, most of which are harmless, so don’t be alarmed.
- High Rock Lake
High Rock Lake began as a hydroelectric project in the late 1920s, but over the years, the entire area has been transformed into a major recreation destination.
This beautiful lake near Charlotte comes from the nearby High Rock Mountain, an absolute beauty with stunning cliffs, thick canopies, and lush vegetation – inhabited by an impressive array of wildlife.
High Rock Lake offers excellent boating opportunities for those wanting to explore the vast waters with a bass boat, jet ski, powerboat, kayak, or canoe. If you don’t have a vessel or equipment, don’t worry, as there are plenty of rentals here.
Badin Lake is situated next to the beautiful Uvarri National Forest, an idyllic recreation spot offering a perfect mix of fun, nature, and water.
The best time to explore the water is when it is warm in the summer. You’ll have a great time swimming, fishing, and cruising with the various vessels available on-site for rent.
The best way to experience all the fun in and around Badin Lake is by camping at the nearby Uvarri State Park.
That way, you’ll have plenty of time to explore the beautiful hiking trails around the lake and bond with nature in complete peace.
- James Lake
James Lake is a little gem located in the heart of the picturesque Pisgah National Forest and just a short drive from the beautiful hiking and camping sites of the Linville Gorge Wilderness.
You won’t be charged anything to access the lake, but a small fee is charged for activities like swimming, paddling, and boating. Fishing is also allowed in Lake James, but only for those with licenses.
The most common fish you can expect to catch here is Largemouth Bass. In addition to its clear and calm waters, Lake James also has hiking trails that cross beautiful meadows and mountain ranges that are well worth exploring by hikers, bikers, and outdoor lovers.
Bellows Lake is a spectacular recreation destination located in the foothills of the famous Blue Ridge. There are many things to do and see in Lake Bellows.
Here you can go swimming, boating, fishing, or exploring the beautiful forests, parks, and hiking trails surrounding the lake.
A beautiful phenomenon to witness while visiting Lake Bellows is the early morning phenomenon when the steam from the nearby power plant forms a picturesque veil above the water’s surface.
If you’re passionate about underwater exploration, the lake has clear water, ideal for scuba diving and other forms of water adventure.
Jordan Lake is an excellent place for a nature trip. The area offers spectacular views of the surrounding mountains, forests, and nature reserves inhabited by thousands of spectacular animal and plant species.
In addition to the scenery, Jordan Lake offers a range of activities for visitors of all ages. For example, the water is relatively calm, which makes it one of the best swimming lakes near Charlotte, NC.
It is also well-suited for various water activities, such as paddle boarding and snorkeling. Camping is another major activity at Jordan Lake, so you can expect to interact with some campers while exploring the area.
Whatever you choose to do in Jordan Lake, whether camping or hiking, it is bound to give you beautiful views and long-lasting memories.
As the name suggests, Lake Lure is a beautiful area that attracts visitors from different parts of the world.
Lake Lure draws its allure from world-class museums, parks, and pristine beaches that boast excellent sunbathing and star-watching sites.
This is one of the top day trips from Charlotte. One place of beauty worth seeing here is the scenic overlook at Chimney Rock Park, located on the Broad River, a tributary of Lake Lure.
Chimney Rock is an ancient monolith in the park that is a favorite among thousands of hikers who brave these heights to enjoy panoramic views of Hickory Nut Gorge, Lake Lure, and Charlotte’s beautiful countryside.
Lake Haikou is a recreational hub with everything you need for a perfect getaway. You can stay in beautiful cabin rentals or camp by the lake.
Either way, you will have a great time fishing, admiring nature, and indulging in various fun-filled activities. On-site camping reduces travel time, leaving you more time for adventure.
Bird-watching has also become a daily recreational activity at Lake Haikou due to the many hummingbirds, speckled sandpipers, and rock swallowers in the lake area.
Lake Glenville is a gorgeous lake located 12 km (8 mi) from Cashier, Jackson County, NC. It is perfect for those who want to spend an adventurous weekend outdoors.
You can enjoy various water sports like water skiing, tubing, and paddle boarding. Of course, swimming and fishing are also allowed. Another interesting aspect of this lake is its three waterfalls.
Go boating, picnic on its shores, take pictures, and watch beautiful North Carolina sunsets. Discover the charm of this reservoir with friends and family – everyone is sure to have a wonderful and memorable time at Glenville Lake.
Nantahala Lake is a gorgeous body of water located in Macon County, North Carolina. Its calm waters are ideal for kayaking and boating and are connected to Fontana Lake by the Nantahala River to the north – a challenging rafting experience with rapids and waterfalls.
Picturesque green forests, flora, and wild flowers surround the lake. Fishing for bass or trout is a popular activity, and there are plenty of vacation rentals and campsites in the area.
Those seeking a change of pace can also explore the surrounding scenic Smoky Mountains and Nantahala River Gorge, ensuring plenty of fun for the whole family.
Charlotte’s Pristine Waters
While Charlotte offers amazing shopping and nightlife activities, the beauty and tranquility of the lakes in and around the city make it an ideal destination for those looking to relax and unwind in the lap of nature.
So if you’re researching your next adventure in North Carolina, consider our list of gorgeous lakes in Charlotte. This package guarantees a fun and exciting adventure for the whole family.
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