159 Inland Sea Ln., Mooresville
HOURS: Nov.–Feb. daily 8 a.m.–6 p.m.,
Mar.–Apr. and Sept.–Oct. daily 8 a.m.–8 p.m.,
May–Aug. daily 8 a.m.–9 p.m.; closed Christmas day
Lake Norman is one of the major attractions in the region. The man-made lake is the largest body of freshwater in the state, and Lake Norman State Park borders some of the 520 miles of shoreline.
In the summer, the beaches are packed with swimmers trying to beat the heat. The swimming complex (Apr. 1–Oct. 31 daily 10 a.m.–6 p.m., $4 adults, $3 children 3–12) has a sand beach, changing stalls, showers, and lockers. The park also offers paddleboat and canoe rentals ($5 for the first hour; $3 for each additional hour), 13 miles of mountain bike trails on the Itusi Trail, and 5 miles of hiking trails on the Lake Shore Trail.
There is also a separate 33-acre lake for fishing and boating. Picnic areas and campgrounds are spread throughout the park.