If you live on Lake Wylie, you know not to call it the “lake.”
It’s the “river.”
Lake Wylie, much of which is located southwest of Charlotte and weaves for 25 miles in and out of both North and South Carolina, is one of 11 lakes that help make up the Catawba and Wateree rivers. It never gets too wide, thus the “river” moniker to locals.
Things probably move more slowly and aren’t developing as quickly around Lake Wylie than they are on its northern neighbor, Lake Norman.
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But the Lake Wylie area features plenty of Charlotte suburbs that are much closer to uptown than Lake Norman, including Belmont in Gaston County and the S.C. communities of Tega Cay and Lake Wylie. Charlotte’s Steele Creek area, the Palisades, River Hills and Baxter, a neighborhood in Fort Mill, S.C., are also nearby. Rock Hill’s new Riverwalk development sits on the banks of the “river.”
Water sports, of course, are the main draw of living on or near Lake Wylie, which is always dotted with kayaks, pontoon, sail and ski boats – as well as jet skis – on warm days.
Several marinas are available, including two large ones (Lake Wylie Marina and Pier 49 Marina) on either side of the Buster Boyd Bridge, which spans the river at the town of Lake Wylie.
There are also water sports to watch from the banks of Lake Wylie. The Tega Cay-based Carolina Show Ski Team holds exhibitions on selected Fridays during the summer at Windjammer Park. Last September, the USA Kayak Polo Nationals were held on Tega Cay’s Nivens Creek.
Of course, not everything revolves around the lake. Carowinds continues to be one of the Charlotte area’s top tourist attractions.
The area has plenty of shopping options, so driving to Charlotte’s malls isn’t always necessary. Staying on the area’s two major thoroughfares of South Tryon Street (N.C. and S.C. 49) and Steele Creek Road (N.C. and S.C. 160) will get you to Steele Creek’s Rivergate shopping center, the town of Lake Wylie or Baxter’s Town Center.
And spots like Fort Mill’s Anne Springs Close Greenway, Steele Creek’s McDowell Nature Preserve and Belmont’s Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden are perfect if you want to stay outside.
It’s all part of life on the “river.”
David, an Observer sports reporter, has lived in the Lake Wylie area for six years.
Ride the rides at Carowinds: The region’s biggest amusement park, straddles the N.C.-S.C. border and features Fury 325, the world’s tallest and fastest giga coaster.
Survey the gardens: Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden in nearby Belmont has 380 acres on the shores of Lake Wylie and offers gardens, fountains and a conservatory featuring tropical plants and orchids.
Fun in the sun: Windjammer Park, which sits on a point in Tega Cay overlooking Lake Wylie, has a playground and beach and – during early summer months – offers exhibitions by the Tega Cay-based Carolina Show Ski Team.
Know your history: Steele Creek Presbyterian Church, founded in 1760s, was one of the first seven churches in Mecklenburg County established by Scots-Irish settlers.