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Destination: Family fun at Lake Norman
Lake Norman celebrates its 50th birthday this weekend
Published Friday, June 21, 2013
by Michaela L. Duckett

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The best way to see the lake is by boat. Stop by Queens Landing and go sightseeing aboard the Catawba Queen or the Lady of the Lake.

With 520 miles of shoreline and 32,510 acres of recreation, it’s easy to see why Lake Norman is a popular summer destination for those seeking adventure and family fun in the sun.

Lake Norman, the largest man-made lake in North Carolina, was created in 1963 to provide energy for the fast-growing region just north of Charlotte that extends over four counties – Mecklenburg, Iredell, Catawba and Lincoln.

Known as a place where “even the fish have personality,” Lake Norman has something for everyone whether you want to dine by the beautiful waterfront, go fishing, learn the latest craze in watersports, indulge in some retail therapy, explore the great outdoors or enjoy a sunset dinner aboard a luxury yacht.

So grab the sunscreen and head north on I-77 to North Carolina’s “inland sea” where excitement abounds.

Happy 50th Birthday LKN!

Lake Norman is celebrating its 50th birthday with a festival at Queens Landing in Mooresville June 22. Presented by Duke Energy, Lake Norman Wildlife Conservationists and Save Our Lake Organization, the festival is expected to attract thousands.

There will be live music, plenty of food and drinks, children’s activities and educational booths to raise awareness about lake preservation. Admission is free.

Festivalgoers can enjoy live Christian music from 2-6 p.m. and a “Live Blues” music showcase from 7-11 p.m. with live broadcast from radio station 91.7 FM, WSGE. The music lineup includes Sunny Skyyz and the Rainmakers, Donna Duncan Band, and Red Dirt Revelators.

Boat loads of fun

Of course the best way to see the lake is by boat. Board the Catawba Queen, a Mississippi-style boat, at Queens Landing for a scenic tour. Tickets are $13 for adults and lunch is included. Or later in the evening, board the Lady of the Lake, a large yacht, and feast on a prime rib dinner while touring the lake. Prices are $58 for adults. Both boats have a cash bar.

Up for a little adventure, take the family-friendly Lake Norman Monster Cruise and enjoy a special sightseeing tour of the lake while having fun searching for “Normie,” the Lake Norman Monster. The cruise highlights hot spots for Normie sightings while teaching children about conservation and the lake area environment.

There are plenty of other private and public charter cruises to choose from during your visit in addition to places to rent a boat and chart your own course.

Gone fishing

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Anglers from all over the world are attracted to Lake Norman for it's bountiful supply of fish and wildlife.

Known for its bountiful supply of bass, Lake Norman provides a wonderful array of fish that attracts anglers from all over come world. The area hosts several national tournaments and championships each year.

Hoping to catch your own record-winning catfish, yellow and white perch, crappie, large mouth bass or striped bass? Pick up a fishing license at the local Wal-Mart or Dick’s Sporting Goods and try your luck with one of the many fishing guides and tours available year round.

Get wild

Wildlife abounds on Lake Norman – not just fish but also an abundance of birds ranging from the great blue heron to several species of songbirds, ducks and geese. Check out the Raptor Center’s “Birds of Prey” to see these flying animals in action.

Lake Norman offers several other attractions where you can learn about wildlife and the lake’s natural history. The Latta Preserve is Mecklenburg County’s largest. It forms a green peninsula that protects a natural heritage site and several plants federally classified as endangered including the Schweinitz’s sunflower and Michaux’s sumac.

Retail therapy

Put the finishing touches on your summer wardrobe at one of the many upscale retailers, boutiques, antique, resale and consignment shops in the area.

Locals love Birkdale Village. The large pedestrian-friendly outdoor village features a mix of locally owned shops and mainstream retailers, such as Victoria’s Secret, Barnes & Noble and Pier One Imports.

Looking to take home some fresh, regional organic produce, foods and gifts, check out The Bradford Store, which also features an antique shop and onsite blacksmith.

Searching for a good deal, venture over to Huntersville Square, where you will find a number of consignment and discount stores.

Cocktail hour

Ready to wind down with a cocktail by the waterfront. Stop by North Harbor Club Restaurant and Bar and request a patio table with an umbrella. Try the Island Water – a concoction of house-infused pineapple vodka, Malibu rum, fresh limejuice and simple syrup.

There are also a number of places to enjoy a good brew like The Floating Bar at Queens Landing or a beer tasting at Davidson Beverage Company, which features more than 300 selections.

Where to find it:


North Harbor Club


100 N. Harbor Place

Davidson, NC

The Rusty Rudder


20210 Henderson Rd.

Cornelius, NC

Epic Chophouse


104 S. Main St.

Mooresville, NC

Davidson Beverage Company

432 South Main St.

Davidson, NC 28036

(704) 255-6232


Blythe Landing

15901 NC Highway 73

Cornelius, NC 28031

(704) 896-9808

Jetton Park

19000 Jetton Park Rd.

Cornelius, NC

Lake Norman Monster Cruises
18665 Harborside Dr.

Cornelius, NC 28031
(704) 905-1495


Queens Landing


1459 River Hwy

Mooresville, NC 28117

(704) 663-2628

Carolina Raptor Center

6000 Sample Rd.

Huntersville, NC 28078

Duke Energy Exploratorium

13339 Hagers Ferry Rd.

Huntersville, NC 28078


Birkdale Village

8712 Lindholm Dr.

Huntersville, NC 28078

(704) 895-8744

Northcross Shopping Center

Corner of Sam Furr Rd. (Hwy.73) and N. Statesville Road

Huntersville, NC 28078

(704) 295-4000

Huntersville Square

Corner of Gilead Road and N. Statesville Road

Huntersville, NC 28078


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