Lake Norman State Park, on the largest manmade lake in North Carolina, boasts one of the region’s more popular mountain biking network, offering 30.5 miles of single-track trail. Nearby are a 125-yard-long swim beach and bathhouse complex as well as a boat ramp and opportunities for fishing from spots along park trails. A family campground with 32-sites and a group campground are available during warm-weather months, and a community building with kitchen facilities, restrooms and fireplace can be rented for family and group events year round. Free interpretive programs are complemented by educational exhibits throughout the visitor center and along the child-friendly Dragonfly Trail.
Tent and trailer camping
Tent pads, picnic tables and grills are available at 33 sites. Occupancy is limited to one family or six people per site.
Some campsites can accommodate RVs. There are no hookups, but a dump station is provided.
Quiet hours are between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. Generator use, amplified music, intrusive noises and driving through the campground are not allowed during quiet hours.
All visitors who are not registered campers and are not spending the night need to leave the campground prior to closing time.
Walk-in group campsites may be reserved by organized groups for a fee. Campers without reservations must confirm site availability with park staff before occupying a site.
No less than 7 or more than 25 people are permitted on each site.
Drinking water and restrooms are available nearby; picnic tables and a fire ring are provided at each site. The group campground is open from April through November. There is no vehicle access to group sites.
Hiking and Biking
With 30.5 miles of hiking/mountain bike and about 7.5 of hiking-only trails, the park is a great place for a hike or bike ride!
Pedal boats, kayaks, paddle boards, and canoes are available for rent at the visitor center on Park Lake. Contact the visitor center for days and hours of operations. Privately owned boats and watercraft may access Lake Norman from the public boat launch area located at the south end of the park, on Boat Launch Drive. Use of the boat launch is free.
Popular fish in Lake Norman include crappie, bluegill and perch, catfish, as well as striped, largemouth and spotted bass. The smaller park lake also has some choice fishing spots. Regulations of the NC Wildlife Resources Commission apply for both lakes.
There are three picnic areas at Lake Norman. One is located near the swimming area and accessible fishing pier, one is next to the visitor center, and another is located on Shortleaf Drive. All have restrooms, tables and grills.
Use of picnic tables is free of charge and they cannot be reserved. Unreserved picnic shelters are available free of charge on a first-come, first-served basis. However, the shelters are very popular, so reservations are strongly suggested.
A swim area is located in the south area of the park at the end of State Park Road near an accessible fishing pier and the pier picnic area. The complex includes a 125-yard-long sand beach, parking area and bathhouse with concession stand, restrooms, changing stalls, warm showers and lockers. Lifeguard service and locker rooms are only offered from 10am to 5:30pm from Memorial Day weekend until Labor Day. The concession stand is also open daily from Memorial Day weekend until Labor Day as staffing allows. The concession stand offers drinks, ice cream and snacks. The park charges a fee to swim only when lifeguards are on duty.