Lake Norman State Park is located on the northern shore of its namesake lake in Troutman, North Carolina. Lake Norman vacation rentals put you just a few minutes away from the lake and all the amenities of the state park, making this a great vacation spot for active families who enjoy the outdoors. Fishing, swimming, boating, and nature exploring are just a handful of activities that Lake Norman has to offer.This top nine list of family-friendly things to do in the area can help you get started on your itinerary.

1. Go Fishing

Lake Norman State Park is home to Lake Norman, where you’ll find an abundance of perch, bass, and catfish. Rent a fishing boat from Morningstar Marinas and spend the day angling on the waters, or pack a picnic and do a little fishing from the docks or Lake Norman shoreline. When you’ve reached your fish capacity for the day, bring your catches home and have a family cookout.

2. Take a Dip in the Lake

With Lake Norman in close proximity to your vacation rental, it’s easy to head down to the shoreline and hop in for a refreshing swim. The lake is bordered by a sandy beach, so you can also lay down a few beach towels and soak up some rays, enjoy a picnic, or build sandcastles with the kids.

3. Go On a Family Hike or Bike Ride

In addition to a gorgeous lake and amazing scenic views, Lake Norman State Park also offers a 4.8-mile loop trail that’s perfect for family hikes. Pack some water and a few snacks for energy, and hike along the trail, taking in the sights and sounds. Bring a camera along to snap photos of the lush greenery, birds, and forest animals you spot along your route. The park is also home to 30.5 miles of a single-track bike trail that winds through the trees and scenery, so you can also rent some bikes from The Cycle Path and explore the area on wheels.

4. Visit the Animals at Zootastic Park

For a fun day with the animals, head over to Zootastic Park, located in Troutman just a few miles outside of Lake Norman State Park. Open 365 days a year, Zootastic Park offers interactive tours, a petting zoo, and a special Kids’ Corral where your little ones can enjoy fun animal-themed activities. Take a tour of the zoo and view the tigers, lions, llamas, and zebras up close, then stop by the General Store gift shop at the end of the day and pick up a plush animal toy, hiking sticks, or a piece of unique jewelry as a souvenir.

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5. Visit the Latta Plantation Nature Center

If you’re looking for a fun way to teach your kids about nature, take a tour of the Latta Plantation Nature Center. Walk along the green marsh that extends into Mountain Island Lake, then tour over 1,000 acres of land to observe foxes, turkeys, and a variety of birds in their natural habitats. The preserve also serves as a home to an abundance of plants and flowers, including the endangered Schweinitz’s sunflower.

6. Have a Family Kayaking Adventure

For some fun on the water, rent some kayaks from My Aloha Paddle and Surf and go exploring on Lake Norman. Rent single kayaks for each family member, or consider a tandem kayak if your little ones aren’t ready to brave the water alone. Tandem kayaks hold up to 400 pounds, and paddles and life jackets are provided with each rental.

7. Hang With the Reptiles at the Reptile Zoo and Science Center

If your kids are into all things creepy and crawly, they’re sure to enjoy a day at the Reptile Zoo and Science Center in Troutman. Sign the little ones up for an interactive science course where they can come face to face with reptiles such as snakes and lizards, as well as learn about fossils, minerals, and chemistry. The zoo houses over 100 reptile species, insects, and even small mammals, and the “Cold Blooded Encounters” exhibit is sure to excite your young scientists.

8. Go Butterfly Watching at Fisher Farm

For a beautiful day in nature, stop by Fisher Farm Park, a 200-acre natural land area located just a few miles away from Lake Norman in neighboring Davidson. Pack a picnic basket for an al fresco lunch on the sweeping lawn, then walk through the meadows and take in the abundance of beautiful flowers and magical butterflies. In addition to butterflies, you may also spot grasshoppers, beetles, moths, and other insects buzzing happily around in the tall grass and greenery.

9. Play Tennis at Jetton Park

Jetton Park sits along Lake Norman, offering 104 acres of trees and greenery, along with a swimming beach and tennis courts. Bring your rackets and balls down to the court for a friendly family tennis match, then cool off with a dip in the lake or a walk along the shoreline. The park also has a covered picnic area if you want to take a lunch break or fuel up before your tennis game.

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