This 520-acre flood control lake is especially popular with kayakers looking to get in a workout. In part, that’s because motor boats are restricted: nothing bigger than a 5 horsepower motor is allowed, so big wakes aren’t a problem. And, from the dam northwest to the currently blocked passage under Aviation Parkway is more than a mile of open water, ideal for those long pulls.

That blocked passage under Aviation Parkway is a bit of a sore spot, albeit an understandable one. Beyond Aviation Parkway is a vast wetland that expands a half mile or more, depending upon the lake level. Exploring through this maze of reed grass is a blast — or at least it was until wildlife officials discovered a nesting bald eagle and restricted access to the area, for breeding reasons. So, until these nesting eagles kick their young-uns out of the nest, the area is restricted.

The lake is popular with beginners because of its shallow depth — 5 feet on average, 12 feet at its deepest — which is something of a psychological issue for some. It also boasts a big rental fleet of kayaks, canoes and sailboats, with rentals available April through mid-October. You can launch your own paddle boat as well, for $2 from a boat access at the end of the road into the park.

More info

Access: At the end of the park road; $2 car-top fee.


Getting there from downtown Raleigh
Difficulty: Easy
Distance: 20 minutes from downtown Raleigh
Time to complete: 1 to 3 hours
Address: 1400 Aviation Parkway
City: Morrisville
State: N.C.
Zip: 27560
Latitude: 35.50488
Longitude: 78.47616