The largest manmade lake in the state at 32,510 acres (with a main channel 34 miles long), Lake Norman attracts a goodly number of motorboats. But because of that size and because of the vast number of watery fingers snaking off the main channel, there are opportunities for peaceful paddling. Plus, 33-acre Park Lake, which is exclusive to the park, offers speedboat-free passage. Add to that 6 miles of hiking-exclusive trail and 13 miles of mountain bike trail (also open to hiking) and you have a weekend full of recreational escape.

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Getting there from downtown Charlotte:,-80.895424&spn=0.164613,0.220757
Address: 159 Inland Sea Lane
City: Troutman
Zip: 28166
Distance: 50 minutes from downtown
Latitude: 35.3969
Longitude: 80.5665
No. of campsites: 33
No. with hookups: None
No. without hookups: 33
Primitive sites: None
Reservations? Yes. 877-722-6762
Cost: $20
Year-round? No. Campground is open March 15-Nov. 30
Gate hours: Open daily at 8 a.m., closes at 6 p.m. November-February; 8 p.m. March, April, September and October; 9 p.m. May-August.
Stuff to do nearby: Paddling, fishing, hiking, mountain biking, swimming (seasonal)