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Local Lakes in the Raleigh-Durham Metro Area

One of the many benefits of living in the Triangle is access to amazing outdoor recreation areas. Several of these parks feature a serene lake, which is a great way to either unwind on a long weekend or take a short stroll. Here are some of the best lakes in the region to check out.

Lake Johnson

Lake Johnson sits at the southwestern corner of Raleigh in Lake Johnson Park, with 300 acres of land around the 150-acre lake. The waterfront center offers canoe, kayak, paddle board, and paddle boat rentals, along with an on-site boat launch. There are also fishing areas, hiking trails, greenway access, concessions, and picnic areas for anyone who wants to stay on dry land. The lake is great for fishing, with a vast assortment of fish breeds. 

Jordan Lake

Nestled in the Jordan Lake State Recreation Center, Jordan Lake is located west of Cary and south of Durham, and is a collective of nine access areas that are scattered over the shoreline of the 14,000-acre shoreline. If you enjoy camping, there are 1,000 camping sites, with a wide range of experiences from bare essentials tenting to RV hook-ups. There are seven swimming beaches and a number of boating ramps to help beat the heat. If you prefer to stay on land, there are 14 miles of hiking trails to discover that are very family-friendly.

Eagle Overlook Jordan Lake NC 713 licensed by CC BY-SA 2.0

Falls Lake Dam 

Falls Lake Dam sits within the Falls Lake State Recreational Area in Wake Forest, one of the largest recreation areas in the state of North Carolina. This area is a collection of seven access areas placed throughout the shores of the 12,000-acre reservoir. There are more than 300 campsites, along with five swimming beaches, several boat ramps, and mountain biking trails. 

Falls Lake at sunset taken on approach to RDU runway 23R licensed by CC BY-SA 4.0

Shelly Lake

For someone looking for a leisurely stroll around the lake, Shelly Lake is the perfect place for a jaunt around the 144.58-acre lake in North Raleigh. While this lake is not your local swimming hole or great for boating, it’s a great escape from the everyday grind. The 2.2-mile trail loops around the lake, which also has spots for fishing and picnicking. The Sertoma Arts Center is located in the park, which offers classes throughout the year. There are also two playgrounds and basketball courts. 

Lake Lynn

Another urban oasis, Lake Lynn is a popular spot to take a short walk and enjoy the wildlife. The 2.2-mile trail around Lake Lynn offers scenic views of the lake and plenty of opportunities to view wildlife, such as snapping turtles, blue herons, and ducks. There is also a community center and playground located just off of the trail. 

Lake Crabtree

Lake Crabtree is located on the border of Cary and Morrisville, in very close proximity to the Raleigh-Durham International Airport. Lake Crabtree County Park surrounds the lake, and has a multitude of amenities, including a 6-mile loop hiking trail, mountain biking trails, a picnic shelter, fishing, boat rentals, and boat launching. 

Bond Lake

Located in Cary’s Bond Park, Bond Lake is nestled among pine trees and offers plenty of opportunities for water-related activities. There are boat rentals offered at the boathouse, along with boat launching and fishing areas. Within the park there are also hiking trails, playgrounds , athletic fields, and an amphitheatre. 

Fred G. Bond Park waterfront in Cary, North Carolina, USA licensed by CC BY-SA 4.0

Lake Benson

Located in Garner, Lake Benson is situated in Lake Benson Park, a 64-acre park with tons of open space for a wide variety of activities. The park includes a dog park, fishing, picnic shelters, playgrounds, and a pier with access for small watercraft. 

Bass Lake 

Bass Lake in Holly Springs is a great spot for boating and fishing. The park offers great fishing opportunities, along with hiking/bike trails, picnic areas, a nature center, and rentals of canoes, jon boats and Gheenoe boats from Memorial Day to Labor Day. 

Bass Lake, NC licensed by CC by 3.0

The Raleigh-Durham area has a large number of lakes that are available for use by the public, which adds to the quality of life of the residents. The lakes are a great source of outdoor for the whole family and offer a large selection of outdoor activities that are perfect for a relaxing weekend. 

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