Look no further for the best things to do in Lake Norman. Whether you want a date night, fun for the whole family, a kid-friendly adventure or just an escape to the shores, here are the top things to do, see, and eat along the towns and beaches of Lake Norman.
Lake Norman, the largest man-made lake in the state with its 500 miles of shoreline, is home to the bustling towns of Denver, Cornelius, Davidson, and Huntersville.
If you want a cool escape not far from the city to any one of these quaint Carolina towns, these are the top things to do for the whole family.
The Best Things to Do And See in Lake Norman
Lake Norman State Park
Located at 759 State Park Rd in Troutman, this large state park offers miles of mountain biking trails and swimming beaches as well as a boathouse complex complete with a boat ramp for anglers and cruisers. There are 32 campgrounds with kitchen facilities, restrooms and outdoor fire pits, plus pedal boats, kayaks, paddleboards and canoes.
Jetton, located at 19000 Jetton Rd, offers lake views, walking trails, a playground, picnic and event areas, and a scenic sandy beach.
Ramsey Creek Park
Ramsey Creek, located at 18441 Nantz Rd, has a boat launch and lake access, a dog park, picnic and event areas, and paths for biking and walking.
Bailey Road Park
With 66 acres, this park at 11536 Bailey Rd, provides a variety of recreational opportunities and site amenities including a brand new playground and three picnic areas.
These custom-made, Coast Guard certified, eco-friendly boats with a high-top galley bar is lined with 5 pedal stations on each side to fit 10 people pedaling, and it also has a 5 person bench seat without pedals for rest or relaxation. Cycleboats offers private and party cruises around Lake Norman. All cruises are two hours and depart from our private docks at North Harbor in Davidson.
Lake Norman’s largest yacht, a 100-foot luxury boat featuring two bars, four bathrooms, administrative offices and space to accommodate from 10 to 150 guests. It includes a catering kitchen and a bridal suite for weddings. Carolina Grace is available for private parties, corporate functions and charity events, and yes, you can swim off the back.
Carolina Raptor Center
Home to birds of prey like eagles, vultures, hawks and falcons, Carolina Raptor Center is an educational family-friendly destination featuring outdoor trails with live raptors, flight shows, and indoor exhibits.
Discovery Place Kids in Huntersville
This Huntersville outpost of the Discovery Place is a fun, interactive museum where kids of all ages can explore science, art and literacy while enjoying hands-on exhibits and events. The interactive exhibits change frequently.
Best Places to Eat & Drink in Lake Norman
This fish camp-style restaurant from James Beard-recognized chef Joe Kindred and restaurateur Katy Kindred (a husband-and-wife duo) sits lakeside in Cornelius. Hello, Sailor features burgers and sandwiches, fried flounder, tartare, and homemade soft-serve. You can also enjoy cocktails at the outdoor tiki bar, and if you come by boat enjoy free docking while you eat.
This waterside spot on Sherrills Ford road serves up seafood, pub grub and pizzas, and houses a festive outdoor tiki bar. It’s great for family lunches or nighttime gatherings, and allows you to dock your boat for the day.
Also owned by the Kindreds, this charming spot on Main Street in downtown Davidson is a critical darling, serving Joe’s handmade pastas and their signature milk bread. Kindred also features a stellar bar program. It is one of the best restaurants in Davidson, and regularly considered a top Charlotte restaurant, too.
Port City Club
Another waterfront restaurant for Cornelius, Port City Club is beloved by boat-going locals. They use only the best, fresh ingredients and make their pasta and bread fresh daily. Local farm vegetables are used in season, and the Club uses local specialty beers and local wines, too. Enjoy the covered deck and patio for lake views.
Alton’s Bar & Grill in Cornelius offers a comfortable atmosphere, innovative drinks, upscale American fare. The string-light lit patio is a charming place to wind down your day spent outside or on the lake.
This casual spot is family owned, and has been serving Lake Norman the best pizzas, freshest salads, and delicious Italian dishes since 1998. Order to-go or dine in.
Brickhouse is an American restaurant offering an extensive menu of classic dishes, bold flavors and over 70 beer selections located in downtown Davidson. It’s a buzzing local hub, so be sure to call ahead on weekends.
Now with multiple locations, the original 131 MAIN restaurant is in Cornelius. It has a distinctive lowcountry vibe with gas lamps, plank siding, an outdoor dining veranda, fire pit and a full view of the open kitchen and hickory wood fire grill. Expect New-American fare with options for any type of tastebuds.
Flatiron in Davidson is a lively local spot with eclectic New American fare with local sourcing, including wood-smoked meats, and a wide selection of beers and wines.
Davidson Wine Co.
Nestled in the historic business district, this warm and inviting urban winery is for enjoying wine while spending time with friends and family. Join for happy hour bites, wine tasting, wine drinking, and bottling parties.
The Blue Parrot Grill
Looking to relax and enjoy the lake scenery by boat or by land? Pull up a bar stool at The Blue Parrot Grill, located at the end of Pinnacle Lane in Mooresville.
North Harbor Club
This lakeside regatta-themed New American fine-dining destination has a waterfront patio and nine boat slips for guests.