A Local’s Guide to Lake Norman

Lake Norman, North Carolina’s largest manmade lake with more than 520 miles of shoreline, offers fun and entertainment for the entire family. Spend an enjoyable afternoon on the lake then come to shore for some amazing attractions.

The lake offers so much to see and do. If you don’t own a boat, rent one from a marina or a boat rental company. Most marinas and boat rental companies also rent water skis, kneeboards, tubes and wakeboards. Pack a cooler or stop by one of the many waterfront restaurants.

NASCAR fans visiting the lake will find a race lover’s paradise. Mooresville, aka Race City, USA is home to over 60 NASCAR teams. You will also find the North Carolina Auto Racing Hall of Fame in Mooresville.

Whether you spend time on the lake or are a land lover, the lake has something for every member of your family.

Lake Norman, created in 1963 as part of the construction of the Cowans Ford Dam by Duke Power, is the largest manmade body of fresh water in North Carolina. It is fed by the Catawba River. It was named after former Duke Power president Norman Cocke. Sometimes referred to as the “inland sea”; it offers 520 miles of shoreline and a surface area of more than 50 square miles. Full pond elevation at Lake Norman is 760 feet.

This mighty lake provides electricity to the Piedmont region of the Carolinas. It powers the generators at the hydroelectric station at Cowans Ford and is used by Marshall Steam Station and McGuire Nuclear Station to cool the steam that drives their turbines. The lake supplies water to Lincoln County, Mooresville, Charlotte (and other towns in Mecklenburg County, particularly Davidson and Huntersville.)

Duke Power partnered with the state of North Carolina to establish Lake Norman State Park. It has also built two bank fishing areas and eight public boating access areas along the shoreline. One site is leased to Mecklenburg County and one to Iredell County. Popular game fish in the lake include catfish, crappie, bluegill and yellow perch, as well as striped, largemouth, and white bass.

The lake has done much to contribute to the area’s economy; many communities have sprung up on the lake’s shores, with vacation and primary residences bringing many people into the area. Many farming communities have turned to chic residential neighborhoods, including, on the south end of the lake, the upper-reaches of the Charlotte suburban zone.

LKN is also the location for one of the International Jet Sport Boats Association (IJSBA) tour stops. Team Tweek, a race team headquartered in Mooresville, helps promote and coordinate the annual event.


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