Some people say living at Lake Norman is like living in a resort with golf courses, tennis courts and a lake for water-play almost in your backyard.
Others enjoy the restaurants, schools, churches, shopping and other aspects of living without a thought for the largest, man-made body of freshwater located in North Carolina.
Whatever your outlook, living in the Lake Norman region has a lot to offer. Visitors are welcome, too.
Probably the most popular recreational activity on Lake Norman is boating. You can rent a boat or personal watercraft, join a boat club or rent a charter boat.
With your dog
Lake Norman defines pet-friendly. There are plenty of places that welcome pets, as long as they’re well-behaved and up-to-date on vaccinations.
Restaurants with dog-friendly patios include Alton’s Kitchen and Cocktails, Lake Town Tavern, Mac’s Speed Shop, Galway Hooker Irish Pub, Sangam Indian Cuisine, and Charlie’s Coffeehouse in Cornelius. In Mooresville, bring Fido to Tony’s Pizza or Blue Parrot Grill. Campania Café and Trattoria in Davidson welcomes dogs, as do the Fox and Hound and Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar in Huntersville. Dogs are welcome indoors and out at Crafty Beer Guys in Huntersville.
The sidewalk seating at restaurants and wine bars in Birkdale Village is a nice break if you’ve walked along the nearby greenway or through the retail center.
Miniature golf, paired with another activity such as lunch at Birkdale Village with a cool-off on the splash pad or a movie, is fun for families. Lake Norman Miniature Golf in Cornelius is the closest to Birkdale in Huntersville.
Paddleboarding is a fun way to explore some of the lake’s 32,510 acres and get some exercise, too. My Aloha Paddle and Surf in Cornelius has a waterfront location and offers paddleboard and kayak rentals, paddleboarding lessons and tours and fitness classes, including yoga on the water.
If you prefer to cruise the lake, check out Queen’s Landing in Mooresville, which hosts lunch and dinner sightseeing and holiday cruises on two boats, the Lady of the Lake and the Catawba Queen, a paddleboat. Queen’s Landing also has carpet golf, lakeside dining and live music.
Another cool option is Discovery Place Kids in Huntersville, where children can learn by running a miniature store or restaurant, working the two-story pulley system at the brick factory or experimenting with floatation at the water tables.
Historic Latta Plantation in Huntersville is a historical cotton plantation and living history farm within the Latta Plantation Nature Preserve. Learn old-fashioned farming and cooking techniques or take a guided tour of the circa-1800 house museum. The property is also home to a nature center, equestrian center and the Carolina Raptor Center.
Nearby Rural Hill is the Davidson family home place where tourists can hike, explore original farm buildings and a one-room school house, and learn about blacksmithing, wood-oven baking, and other historical occupations. Rural Hill also hosts festivals.
Many of the NASCAR drivers live on the lake. You might see some in stores and restaurants, but don’t plan a trip on that expectation. Dale Earnhardt Racing in Mooresville and Joe Gibbs Racing in Huntersville are the more well-known shops to visit.
Mooresville has the Memory Lane Motorsports and Historical Automotive Museum and the North Carolina Auto Racing Hall of Fame – a museum focused on all types of racing, from dragsters to stock cars.
There are numerous golf courses throughout the Lake Norman area, some of them private.
If you’re a serious golfer, consider membership at private courses: Cowan’s Ford Country Club in Denver, NorthStone Country Club in Huntersville, The Peninsula Club in Cornelius, River Run Country Club in Davidson and Trump National Golf Club Charlotte in Mooresville.
Observer archives contributed.
Tracy, the Charlotte Observer’s Living Here Lake Norman editor, has lived at Lake Norman since 1997.
Did you know?
Lake Norman was created by Duke Energy in 1959-1964 as part of building the Cowans Ford Dam.
The lake was named for Norman Atwater Cocke, former president of Duke Power.
The average depth is 33 1/5 feet.
The lake’s capacity is 3.4 trillion gallons of water.
The shoreline length 520 miles.