Here, in the upper reaches you can paddle through reedy wetlands where, depending upon recent rainfall and the lake level, you may be able to paddle 100 yards, you may only make it 10. It’s that exploratory nature of the lake that makes it a worthy destination, especially for nearby residents who may not have time to drive to an outlying location.
Beginners like the late because of the inexpensive rentals. Canoes and kayaks are available April through October for $5 an hour, Sunfish sailboats, too, for $10. (Pedalboats and jonboats are available year-round.) There are no rentals on days when the combined air and water temperature fails to top 100.
Boat access: Put-in/take-out at boathouse off Avent Ferry Road (see address above).
Getting there from downtown Raleigh
Distance: 12 minutes from downtown
Time to complete: 1 to 3 hours
Address: 4601 Avent Ferry Rd.