North Carolina

Lake vacations provide a refreshing and relaxing break from the day-to-day grind. It’s in lakes that we can find our true selves, uncluttered by the distractions of everyday life. Lakes offer so many recreational activities for people of all ages: swimming, boating, fishing, hiking or just sitting on your boat watching nature go by at sunset with friends and family. Whether you’re looking for a quick weekend getaway to a lake or traveling out of state looking for a long vacation on one of North Carolina lakes – there is something here for everyone!

This site has compiled a massive list of lakes in North Carolina to help you plan your next getaway. Regardless of what you’re looking for in your next North Carolina lake vacation, our listings are sure to help you find the right body of water for your next trip. We’ll help you find:

  • A perfect swimming hole. Want to enjoy a day on the beach? We’ll help you find the best North Carolina lakes for swimming.
  • A water sports getaway. If you love tearing it up out on the water, we’ll help you find the best lakes for boating in North Carolina. Water skiers, wake boarders, tubers, and jet skiers have plenty of opportunities in North Carolina. Find a lake that offers boat rentals, or find one that has a boat launch if you’ve got your own watercraft.
  • The best spot for a fishing getaway with your buddies. If you love to fish, North Carolina has a laundry list of lakes that offer all kinds of options for making your next trophy catch!
  • A room with a view. Want to check out the hiking trails across the state and come home to a glorious waterfront view? Vacation rentals abound, and you’re sure to find one perfect for a weekend getaway.
  • A combination trip with both water activities on a lake with perhaps biking, golf or hiking.

Find North Carolina Lakes Near You

There are endless opportunities for fun when you visit the many lakes in North Carolina. Honestly, there are destinations that are perfect for a romantic weekend, a getaway with friends, or a family vacation. You want to loaf around on the beach? That’s fine. Want to stay on the water while visiting the many exciting activities around the state? That’s also on the menu. Let’s take a look at some of our favorite destinations.

The best lakes to visit in North Carolina

Here are our top lakes in North Carolina.

Jordan Lake

Fishing, boating, waterskiing, wakeboarding, and jet-skiing are all popular here along with swimming and sunbathing on the beaches. There are plenty of great campgrounds to choose from near the lake including the Jordan Lake State Recreation Area where you can fish, go swimming or go hiking. This lake is a larger, less developed 14,000 acre man-made reservoir.

Lake Norman

Lake Norman has 520 miles of shoreline and covers 50 square miles making it the largest lake by surface area in North Carolina. Many popular sports take place on this lake including skiing, boarding, fishing and sailing among many others. Several small towns are on the lake, making it suitable for a combined trip with lake use as well as shopping and fine dining. There are pontoon boat rentals and plenty of picnic spots as well.

Lake Waccamaw

At Lake Waccamaw you can take advantage of many outdoor activities for the outdoor enthusiast that likes more primitive and quiet lake experiences. Lake Waccamaw State Park provides many wildlife and bird watching opportunities. There are more than 7 miles of trails at the state park. There are also many spots to fish, including a 700 foot boardwalk. The town of Lake Wacccamaw is nearby as well.

High Rock Lake

This lake has 360 miles of shoreline making it one of the longest lakes along with being one of the deepest lakes in North Carolina – reaching depths up to 59 feet. The reservoir is quite large at 15,180 acres. The lake was created in 1926 by the Tallasse Power Company. Lake goers can fish, swim or go sport boating. The lake is located near High Rock Mountain, the tallest mountain in the Uwharrie Mountains.

Lake Mattamuskeet

Lake Mattamuskeet boasts the claim of the largest natural lake in North Carolina. The lake is shallow and is 18 miles long. This is a very popular lake for bird watching. This lake is also home to the Mattamuskeet National Wildlife Refuge. This refuge is located just west of the popular Outer Banks of North Carolina.

Lake Phelps

Lake Phelps is the 2nd largest natural lake in North Carolina. Lake Phelps is perfect for fishing or even just relaxing lakeside. Nearby is the Pettigrew State Park, which does offer a small campground. Lake Phelps is quite large at 16,000 acres, averaging 4.5 feet in depth. There is also ancient Native American dugout canoes that can be viewed through the clear water.

Lake Lure

One of the most famous lakes in North Carolina is 720 acres and nestled into the Blue Ridge Mountains. The town of Lake Lure is a very popular tourist destination with shops and dining. The town was also the scene for the filming of the 1980s hit “Dirty Dancing” and there is a film festival annually with that theme. Visitors can scale Chimney rock Park and view Lake Lure from the top lookout.

If you’re looking for lakes to visit in North Carolina, the ones mentioned above are some of our favorites. The lakes have a variety of activities available and scenic views that will make your trip memorable! Whether you are looking for quite, rustic camping, or hotels in lake side towns, you can plan your North Carolina lake trip here!