It doesn’t get much better than summertime at Lake Norman. With June temperatures averaging in the mid-70s, it’s the perfect time to get outside and enjoy all the area has to offer, both on and off the water. To help you get started, we’ve put together a list of 10 great activities from the tranquil and relaxing to the exciting and adventurous. So grab your friends and family, a bottle of suntan lotion, and get going!
Wakeboard CampsWhether you’re a beginner or a seasoned rider, you’re sure to improve your skills and have a blast at IcyWakes’s summer wakeboard camps. The Cornelius-based IcyWakes supplies the boat, rope, wakeboard, and instruction. All you need to bring is a lifejacket and a desire to have fun. Both morning (9 a.m.-noon) and afternoon (1-4 p.m.) sessions are available Tuesday – Friday. Details: www.icywakessurfshop.com
Disc GolfWhile disc golf started as a fringe college activity in the 1960s, it has grown into a popular sport for both young and old. Less costly and time consuming than golf, players toss discs similar to Frisbees into wire or plastic baskets, typically along a course situated at a scenic park. Lake Norman boasts several great disc golf courses, including at Beatty’s Ford Park in Denver, Bradford Park in Huntersville, Cornelius Road Park in Mooresville, and Bailey Road Park in Cornelius, which has hosted both amateur and world competitions. You can find discs at local retailers like Omega Sports and Dick’s Sporting Goods.
Learn to PaddleboardWith Lake Norman’s calm, scenic waters and numerous little coves to explore, it’s no wonder standup paddelboarding has become one of the hottest new sports around. If you haven’t yet tried this fun new activity that’s also a great workout, Moose Paddleboard Company is a great way to get started. It offers training and guided tours for up to six people, as well as four- and eight-hour SUP rentals for more experienced riders. Details: www.moosepaddleboardcompany.com
Hit the LinksIf you prefer the real thing to the disc and basket version, Lake Norman has plenty of great public/daily fee golf courses that offer a variety of layouts, conditions, and vistas. Below are some of the top options.Birkdale Golf Club
Huntersvillewww.birkdale.comThis Arnold Palmer-designed course was voted one of the top five public courses in the state and is known for its tight fairways and fast greens.
Fox DenStatesvillewww.foxdencc.comThe unique layout at this course offers mountain-, coastal- and sandhills-style holes all in a compact design.
Mooresville Golf Coursewww.mooresvillegolfcourse.comA hidden gem, Mooresville’s layout features a front nine that were designed by Donald Ross.
Verdict Ridge Country ClubDenverwww.verdictridge.comWith some of the finest greens in the region, Verdict Ridge is a true shot maker’s course on the west side of Lake Norman.
Hope ParkThanks to the giving spirit of hundreds of local volunteers along with Lowe’s YMCA and the town of Mooresville, Lake Norman has one of the most elaborate and fun parks in the state. Hope Park, which is located near the Lowe’s YMCA, opened in 2010 and features an impressive array of swings, slides, towers, play houses, tunnels, rock wall, and interactive splash pad. While the kids jump, crawl, play, and cool off in the water, there are plenty of shady and comfortable benches for parents to watch and take a breather. Details: 170 Joe Knox Ave., Mooresville
Fishing with Capt. Gus Gus Gustafson, a well-known local fishing guide with more than 50 years of experience, can show you the best spots and techniques for landing everything from bass and catfish to crappie. For your guided trip, you can choose between a 23-foot center console boat or a luxury 25-foot pontoon, equipped with a VHF radio, GPS, and depth finder. Trips range from three to eight hours, and Capt. Gus can accommodate up to six anglers.Details: www.fishingwithgus.com
Lake Norman State ParkOne of the area’s greatest outdoor resources, Lake Norman State Park in Troutman has 13 miles of shoreline, along with boating access, a public beach area with swimming, miles of hiking and biking trails, picnic areas and campgrounds. It’s like a mini-vacation destination right here at home, where you can spend the entire afternoon relaxing under a shady tree or exploring the wilderness and water.Details: www.ncparks.gov/Visit/parks/lano/main.php
Take a Walk on the Wild SideExperience a safari without ever leaving Lake Norman. Zootastic in Troutman has hundreds of exotic animals and fun activities like pony rides, a petting zoo, and summer camps. Lazy 5 Ranch in Mooresville, which opened two decades ago, has more than 750 animals from six continents. Families have the option of either viewing these beautiful creatures from a horse-drawn wagon or from the comfort of their car. And don’t forget to purchase a feed bucket for just $3 to ensure an even close encounter with an exotic animal—not to mention a great photo opportunity!Zootastic: www.zootasticpark.comLazy 5 Ranch: www.lazy5ranch.com
Get into the SwingThe Lake Norman Tennis Association really served up an ace when it landed the USTA’s League Adult State Championships taking place this month. It’s just one more example of how the local tennis community continues to thrive. If you’re looking to get into the game, the LNTA (www.lnta.org) is a great resource for meeting others and getting involved in league play. Moreover, in addition to nearly a dozen private tennis clubs, Lake Norman is also blessed with plenty of free public courts, including the ones below.
Jetton Park 19000 Jetton Park Road, CorneliusCourts: 8
North Mecklenburg Park16131 Old Statesville Road, HuntersvilleCourts: 6
Cornelius Road Park247 Cornelius Road, MooresvilleCourts: 6
Bailey Road Park11536 Bailey Road, CorneliusCourts: 3
Holbrook Park100 Sherwood Drive , Huntersville Courts: 6
Set SailSailing versus operating a motorboat is a lot like choosing between driving an automatic or a stick shift. While the automatic may be more convenient, it doesn’t compare to the thrilling, hands-on driving experience. At NC Community Sailing and Rowing Center, based at Huntersville’s Blythe Landing, people of all ages can master the skill of operating a sailboat on beautiful Lake Norman. Moreover, the center has a sizeable fleet of boats to choose from, including the popular Sunfish. Details: www.nccsailrow.org