Looking for the best lakes in NC for vacation?
Well, then you are at the right place. Our staff has compiled the ultimate list of the best lakes in NC for vacation! PLUS we include the one thing you have to do when visiting that lake, as well as the lake airbnbs in NC you should rent at each lake. Lastly, we include where to eat in those lake areas so all you culinary enthusiasts can get the most out of your holiday! You’ll find plenty of options to choose from throughout the state, even the very best lakes in North Carolina mountains. Whether you’re looking for a quiet spot to relax or a place to enjoy some water sports, there’s always a place you can check out! In this post, we’re going to be talking about ten lakes you can visit for the perfect lake vacation in North Carolina!
Hyco Lake is a great option for those who want to get away from it all. With over 3,750 acres of water to explore. With 25 billion gallons of water in the lake overall you can spend your days swimming, fishing, or just enjoying the scenery and still have more waters to explore!
- The one must-do thing you have to do: Take a break from the lake for some wine tasting at Tunnel Creek Vineyards
- Airbnb to stay at: The Modern Treehouse – one of the most unique lake Airbnbs in NC
- Where to eat: Head to Yanceyville for Brigg’s Bar-B-Que
Lake Norman – One of our favorite pics for best lakes in NC for vacation because we live here!!!
If you’re looking for a little more action, Lake Norman, just north of Charlotte, is the place for you. With over 520 miles of shoreline, it’s perfect for a day of boating or jet skiing. And when you’re ready to relax, there are plenty of restaurants and shops to enjoy.
- The one must-do thing you have to do: Cruise to Lake Norman State Park
- Airbnb to stay at: The Loft On Lakeshore
- Where to eat: Eat At Hello, Sailor in Cornelius, NC
For a truly unique experience, head to Lake Wylie. This 7,316 acre lake is located on the border of North and South Carolina, so you can explore both states during your vacation.
- The one must-do thing you have to do: McDowell Nature Center and Preserve
- Airbnb to stay at: Terminal K
- Where to eat: Bagel Boat
Looking for a lake with stunning views? Lake James is surrounded by cliffs, forests, and waterfalls from the mountains of Western North Carolina. It’s the perfect place to go for a hike or a swim. The views here on the water of the Linville Gorge make it one of the best lakes in NC for vacation. This area in general is up and coming! New restaurants and breweries are giving lake goers some added cultural experiences too. So no matter what activity your family enjoys, you’ll have fun here!
- The one must-do thing you have to do: Lake James State Park
- Airbnb to stay at: The Gigi Mermaid House Boat
- Where to eat: Fonta Flora
If you’re looking for a lake with a little bit of everything, Lake Hickory is a great choice. With over 105 miles of shoreline, it’s perfect for swimming, fishing, and boating. And if you’re feeling adventurous, you can even go tubing down the river.
- The one must-do thing you have to do: Treetop Adventures
- Airbnb to stay at: La Peninsula one of the few lake Airbnbs in NC that comes with your own island/peninsula!
- Where to eat: Copper Penny Grill
Fontana Lake – The mountains have easily the most picturesque and best lakes in NC for vacation
Those around the Great Smoky Mountains can head over to Fontana Lake. This 27 km reservoir offers stunning views and plenty of opportunities to enjoy the outdoors. There are hiking trails, fishing spots, and camping sites all around the lake. This along with Lake Lure and Lake James get our staff’s vote for best lakes in North Carolina mountains. If you get bored being on the lake…highly unlikely as it is… there are a ton of beautiful trails Near Asheville and Western North Carolina to explore.
- The one must-do thing you have to do: Hazel Creek Trail
- Airbnb to stay at: Tiny Tuck – one of the coolest lake Airbnbs in NC
- Where to eat: Mountview Bistro
Badin Lake is located in the Piedmont region of North Carolina, is a great spot for swimming, fishing, and kayaking because it covers 5,350 acres with 115 miles of shoreline. There are also several picnic areas and playgrounds nearby, making it the perfect spot for a family day out even if you don’t want to take a dip in the water!
- The one must-do thing you have to do: Morrow Mountain State Park
- Airbnb to stay at: Cozy A Frame Chalet
- Where to eat: Scallywag’s
Lake Tillery is in the heart of Uwharrie National Forest. The 5,000 acres with 104 miles of shoreline is perfect for those who love to fish and boat. There are also several hiking trails and camping sites in the area for those that are looking for more of a weekend getaway!
- The one must-do thing you have to do: Uwharrie National Forest
- Airbnb to stay at: A-Frame on beautiful Lake Tillery
- Where to eat: The Boat House on Lake Tillery
High Rock Lake – One of the best lakes in NC for vacation if you’re looking for a laid back weekend on the water!
If you’re in the Piedmont region of North Carolina, head over the High Rock Lake. This is a relatively small, 19-acre lake. However, it’s a great spot for fishing, swimming, and kayaking. You can also set up a quiet picnic near the shoreline and have fun outside of the water too.
- The one must-do thing you have to do: Morgan Ridge Vineyards
- Airbnb to stay at: Cozy Waterfront Cottage
- Where to eat: Lexington Barbecue
No matter the season these lakes in North Carolina offer the very best type of getaway. One that involves peace and quiet on the shores of some of the prettiest water in the south! With so many great lakes to choose from, North Carolina is the perfect place to spend a day on the water. Whether you’re looking for a place to fish, swim, or just enjoy the outdoors, you’ll find it here easily!