Lake Norman is one of North Carolina’s most beautiful attractions, as this man-made lake is the largest in the state, and sits just 25 miles north of Uptown Charlotte. With 520 miles of shoreline along the towns of Cornelius, Davidson, and Huntersville, staying in a Lake Norman vacation rental offers a nice variety of plenty of activities for the entire family to enjoy. If you’re looking for some family-friendly fun during your holiday, this list of the 10 best family activities in the Lake Norman area will help you get off to a great start.

1. GoPro Motorplex

Go-Karts

For the junior and grown-up NASCAR fans in the family, GoPro Motorplex offers a less intense but just as the fun experience with Go-Karts. All karts reach speeds of up to 55 miles per hour and feature adjustable seats to accommodate all shapes and sizes. Best of all, drivers have the option of renting GoPro-equipped helmets to create real-time videos of each ride. Take a few laps around the track, then pop into the gift shop for a cool souvenir. Just remember to keep your adrenaline rush at the track – on the way back to your vacation rental, make sure to stay under the speed limit.

2. Historic Latta Plantation

Historic Latta Plantation
Source: Flickr/Ame Rainey

If you’ve chosen a vacation rental in the Huntersville area, take a trip back in time and experience a real-time history lesson at the Historic Latta Plantation. With everything from civil war reenactments to self-guided tours of the grounds, this can’t-miss attraction has something for everyone. Take a self-guided tour of the grounds and visit the living museum buildings dating back to the 1800s, or take an educational tour and learn about farm and plantation life.

3. Queen’s Landing Sightseeing Cruise

Cruise

For an up-close and personal view of beautiful Lake Norman, sign the gang up for a Queen’s Landing sightseeing cruise. The cruises take place on the famous “Catawba Queen” riverboat, where guests enjoy riding around the largest man-made lake in North Carolina with a tour guide pointing out all the best sights. The boat offers kitchen box lunches and a full bar, so there’s no need to nosh at your vacation rental prior to your journey.

4. Carolina Thread Trails

Carolina Thread Trails
Source: Flickr/ITRE Bicycle and Pedestrian Program

When you need a little exercise after lounging around in your vacation rental, head over to the Carolina Thread Trails. These trails span through 15 counties and two states, with bike paths, hiking trails, nature preserves throughout. Rent some bikes or take a nature hike along the banks of Little Sugar Creek, or sign up for a kayak lesson in the Catawba River.

5. Carowinds Theme Park

Carowinds Theme Park
Source: Flickr/Martin Lewison

For a fun day away from your vacation rental that the whole family is bound to enjoy, pay a visit to the world-famous Carowinds Theme Park. Take a chance on a thrill ride such as the “Southern Star” or the “Scream Weaver,” or cool off by splashing around in North Carolina’s largest water park, which resides on the Carowinds grounds. When all that fun works up your appetite and you need to refuel, visit any of the numbers of restaurants located throughout the park.

6. Charlotte Historic Trolley Museum

 Trolley
Source: Charlotte Historic Trolley Museum

Before cars and buses filled the streets of Charlotte, the trolley was responsible for helping residents travel around town for business and pleasure. For a fun history lesson and a genuine trolley ride, spend the day at the Charlotte Historic Trolley Museum. Located in Charlotte about 25 miles from the vacation rental spots in the Lake Norman area, this museum offers fun exhibits that feature photos and old-fashioned memorabilia, as well as non-running trolley trains from all over the country.

7. My Aloha Paddle and Surf

 Boating at Lake Norman

If you’re looking for a way to bring the family together during your Lake Norman vacation that involves a little more than a movie night at your vacation rental home, consider a family paddle lesson at My Aloha. Group lessons are an hour long, and take place right on Lake Norman. Once you all learn how to stand up on your boards, sign up for a sunset tour or a full moon tour for the full paddle board experience.

8. 77 Watersports

Jet Skiing

For a fun-packed, water-soaked day just steps away from your vacation rental on Lake Norman, look no further than 77 Watersports. This amazing company provides jet-ski rentals with the added bonus of location delivery. Instead of heading out to the marina, just give 77 Watersports a buzz and they’ll deliver jet-skis, life jackets and waterproof cases for your devices directly to your location.

9. Carolina Raptor Center

 Screech Owl
Source: Flickr/guyblade

Birds are everywhere at the Carolina Raptor Center, a local nature conservatory that specializes in saving and protecting birds of prey. A perfect day out for travelers with vacation rental homes in Huntersville, this conservatory offers visitors a truly hands-on experience.Take a nature walk down the Raptor Trail and visit with hawks, vultures, and eagles, or participate in the “Keeper for a Day” experience and learn how to train, feed, and care for wild and endangered birds.

10. Lake Norman Mini Golf

Mini Golf
Source: Lake Norman Mini Golf

If you’re staying in a vacation rental in Cornelius and itching to get out on the golf course, opt for some family fun at Lake Norman Mini Golf. Featuring an 18-hole course complete with waterfalls, green space, tricky obstacles, and bridges, this unique family-owned spot is all about having a good time.