Lake Norman is only 1 to 1 ½ hours from most areas of the Triad. It is a perfect day trip for the spring, summer, or even fall! If you own a boat, or know someone who does, it makes the day trip a little less expensive, although I’d like to share a fun idea that my family has done in the past. We rented a pontoon boat for the day. It is very easy to do and a perfect idea for any family with any age children. It’s also a great idea for a day with grandparents.

We rented our pontoon boat from Carolina Boat Rentals, and it was super-easy. We booked the boat ahead of time. When we arrived that day, they went over everything with us, and helped us get off and running. My kids were so excited! The nice thing about a pontoon boat is that even the queasiest of people don’t seem to get sea sick on them. A few other rental agencies I found online are listed below, but I have not used them. If you can send your seal-of-approval on any of the below, please comment at the end of this post!

Other Lake Norman Boat Rental Agencies:

www.lakenormanboatrentals.com/pontoon_rentals.htm
www.lakenorman.com/index.php?action=listing&id=75
www.goplayoutdoors.com/Member/CarolinaBoat/index.htm

Most of the pontoon boat rentals range from $225-$300 for a full day, and you can rent for a half-day for as low as $165. We met two other families, so after splitting the cost, it was fairly inexpensive for an entire day of entertainment. There are many things you can bring along such as rafts, noodles, and tubes so that once you anchor, everyone can get out and swim. Cocktail Cove is a popular family spot to anchor. It’s in a cove by a golf course community called The Point. Jetton Park also has a nice beach if someone would want to toss anchor and wade to shore. They have picnic tables for eating, as well.

This brings me to another point – food! Of course you will want to pack a cooler of drinks and a few snacks for the day. We picked up some KFC on our way there for lunch. If you don’t want to bother bringing a lunch, there are many places to eat by boat. The Rusty Rudder (casual sandwich place) has a great view out onto the lake and is in a nice marina. There is also North Harbor Restaurant, which is a little more expensive and has a very nice outdoor seating area with a beautiful view as well. Marina is another restaurant located in a small cove, but has limited parking by boat. One final idea of a restaurant where you can eat by boat is Midtown Sundries.

If you are wondering how in the world you are going to find these spots to anchor and eat, you have two options. The boat rental agency can provide you with a map of the lake that you can use as a guide. There is also a welcome center located on Catawba Avenue off exit 28 (I-77). If you get off exit 28 coming from the North, take a Right. It’s past the 2nd light on your left in a shopping area. This welcome center is an awesome resource center not only if one is visiting Lake Norman but also for the whole state of NC. In the center they have free maps of Lake Norman. The maps note the Channel Markers to help you locate different spots on and around the lake. The large main channel of the lake is where you find all the numbered markers.

If you are familiar with the Lake Norman area, we’d love to hear your suggestions and ideas for a day of fun in the sun!