Wave hello to spring at Kerr Lake State Recreation Area

For one of North Carolina’s best spots for boating and camping, set sail for the Kerr Lake State Recreation Area in the state’s northeastern Piedmont.


Kerr Lake covers a large area in Vance County, northeast of Durham. The several recreation areas are about 175 to 185 miles from Charlotte. Plan on a three-hour drive.

To see and do

Between 1946 and 1952, the John H. Kerr dam was constructed across the Roanoke River in Virginia, a few miles above the North Carolina line, to help prevent flooding downriver. The resulting Kerr Lake reservoir, named for the Tar Heel congressman who played a key role in its development, has since provided North Carolinians with recreational activities galore. The lake extends north-to-south from the state line through a sizable portion of Vance County.

Raw numbers tell a lot about Kerr Lake State Recreation Area. The lake covers 50,000 acres and has more than 800 miles of shoreline. North Carolina Division of Parks and Recreation maintains seven distinct recreational areas: Bullocksville, Henderson Point, Hibernia, Nutbush Bridg, and Satterwhite Point in Vance County; County Line and Kimball Point in Warren County.

Camping is king at Kerr Lake, with 652 tent or trailer campsites for weekly rental. Each site has a picnic table, fire pit and tent pad. Situated along the lake shore, these facilities are among the most picturesque and inviting campsites in the state. Slightly more than half of them have electric hookups. Restrooms, hot showers, playgrounds and dump stations are conveniently located near each campground area.

Activities at Kerr Lake’s recreation areas naturally center on the water. Satterwhite Point has a designated swimming area with changing rooms and restrooms. Personal flotation devices are loaned at Satterwhite Point, Henderson Point, Hibernia and Kimball Point. All areas except County Line have at least one boat ramp. Two commercial marinas, including one at Satterwhite Point, offer mooring, slips, service and supplies. Conditions for sailing are ideal at Kerr Lake. Short nature trails are found at Bullocksville, Hibernia, and Satterwhite Point. Even if you’re not camping, there are plenty of picnic facilities available for family and group outings.

Fishing is another popular activity. Common catches include striped bass, largemouth bass, white perch and crappie.