To know: You don’t have to go all the way to the coast to relax on the beach. Created when Duke Energy dammed the Catawba River in 1963, Lake Norman is the largest man-made lake in the state and one of two lakes in Charlotte area. (The other is Lake Wylie.) The lake has spurred tremendous growth in neighboring towns like Mooresville, Huntersville, Cornelius, Denver and Davidson.
To eat: At the top of every foodie’s list is Kindred in Davidson, which was named one of the 10 top restaurants in 2015 by Bon Appetit. And the brains behind Kindred opened a new spot on the water just in time for 2018 called Hello, Sailor — it’s ideal for a tiki-style cocktail paired with seafood. Want some fresh produce to cook up yourself? Check out the Davidson Farmers Market, Josh’s Farmers Market in Mooresville, or the Huntersville Growers’ Market. For some of the best pizza and burgers you’ll find in the Charlotte area, head to Merino Mill in Mooresville and dine at Alino Pizzeria, and Barcelona Burger and Beer Garden. Vegans and vegetarians can flock to Davidson Ice House for plenty of proteins, veggies and house-made sauce options.
To drink: From a cup of Joe and a pastry in the morning to a glass of wine with music at night, Summit Coffee in Davidson has it all. For local craft brews, stop by Primal Brewery in Huntersville, or head to Cornelius to check out D9 Brewing, Ass Clown Brewing Company and Eleven Lakes Brewing Co. The latest addition to the lake-area brewery scene is King Canary Brewing Company in Mooresville.
To do: For fun with the family, hike and picnic at Lake Norman State Park, or head to Carrigan Farms outside Mooresville, where you can do everything from fruit picking in the summer to hayrides in the fall. For a lakeside toes-in-the-sand experience, post up at Ramsey Creek Park Beach. Craving adrenaline, fun, and excitement? Visit GoPro Motorplex and rent a go-kart that can reach speeds of up to 55 mph.