2785 Highway 126
Nebo, NC 28761
Just 90 miles from Charlotte sits a 6,812-acre reservoir with 150 miles of shoreline. At the base of the Linville Gorge sits Lake James, complete with spectacular views of the Appalachian Mountains. The lake is available for boating, water skiing, hiking, fishing and, of course, swimming. There are restrooms, picnic tables and other amenities to make your trip a pleasurable one.
2930 Memorial Highway
Lake Lure, NC 28746
Ninety miles from Charlotte, not far from Chimney Rock, is the lake beach you’ve been dreaming about since you saw “Dirty Dancing” for the first time. The beach at Lake Lure comes complete with sand, water and a fabulous water park. For eight dollars per adult, you can take advantage of all of the resources and relax in the sun. Plus, you can wander the Lake Lure Inn and check out the spot where Baby learned to dance.
159 Inland Sea Lane
Troutman, NC 28166
North Carolina’s largest manmade lake offers all kinds of fishing, boating, swimming and hiking opportunities just half an hour north of Charlotte. At the Lake Norman State Park, you have the opportunity to enjoy some quiet in the oft-bustling lake environment. You can enjoy the tranquility at a beautiful beach as the water laps at your feet.
Related: Best Summer Day Camps
Rabun County Convention & Visitors Bureau
25 Courthouse Square, Suite 137
Clayton, GA 30525
Make this three-hour drive and you’ll find yourself on a mountain lake with 25 miles of shoreline. The rustic town of Clayton is an upscale vacation spot with boating, water skiing and swimming. One of the highlights of the locale is the opportunity to choose from more than a dozen different waterfall spots. The town is home to a fabulous farmers market, a vineyard, fly fishing and an artist retreat.
161 Holcombe Circle
Salem, SC 29676
Hidden away in Salem, South Carolina is the breathtaking Lake Jocassee. It’s an undeveloped, pristine mountain lake retreat only 145 miles from Charlotte. The lake is one of the clearest in the South, and you can watch as birds chase the fish. It’s a scuba diver’s paradise and one of the best trout-fishing spots in the state. Of course, there’s a fabulous beach for swimming and enjoying the cool, crisp water. In the spring, two nature trails offer a glimpse of the endangered Oconee bell wildflower. Even better, this park is a bargain at only $2 per adult.
Lauren J. Walter is a freelance writer covering all things Charlotte. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.