With picturesque Lake Norman, it’s no surprise that there are many nature related attractions in Cornelius, Davidson, and Huntersville. Each town presents something very unique to each of its visitors, so whether you're looking for a small town feel, or a lakeside stroll, come and visit Lake Norman.
Experience the beauty of Lake Norman by exploring historic attractions and enjoying a day at the beach, followed by an outdoor shopping and dining excursion.
Visit a nature preserve and conservation center, then take stand up paddleboard lessons and shop for local goods at a farm store before dinner.
We suggest beginning your day with breakfast at Café 100, one of the local favorites set in a quaint little house in downtown Huntersville. With an extensive breakfast menu, you’ll be sure to find something delicious that will leave you energized for the day ahead. It will be worth the wait for any house special like the shrimp n’ sausage omelet creation with their tasty home fries or try the peanut butter and banana stuffed French toast with fresh fruit.
Spend your morning exploring the grounds of Rural Hill. Now a county park, the land was once owned and farmed by several generations of the Davidson family, dating back to the mid-1700s. Its 265 acres include beautiful nature trails, Scottish cows, and an endless lineup of events year-round. For lunch, grab some eastern NC style barbecue pork and brisket from Lancaster's BBQ before heading to your next stop. Everything is made fresh from scratch and your meal will come with a warm basket of hush puppies.
Beat the heat at Ramsey Creek Park. The beach is now open to swimmers from Wednesday to Sunday until Labor Day with hours of 11 am to 7 pm. With picnic shelters, a concession stand, and half an acre of clean, sandy beach, it’s the perfect spot to enjoy the beauty of the lake.
To end your day, visit Birkdale Village and enjoy a great combination of shopping and dining. With bubbling fountains and colorful gardens, you are sure to enjoy strolling through the village to the various stores lining the main street.
Then dine at one of its many mouthwatering restaurants such as eeZ Fusion & Sushi, Red Rocks Café, or Dressler’s Restaurant. You will love eeZ Fusion & Sushi’s colorful plates with favorite appetizers like the crab Rangoon dip and avocado and tuna tini. The Birkdale Roll is a meal in itself with ebi shrimp, kani, cream cheese, tempura asparagus, topped with premium tuna and avocado.
After that, enjoy a nice dessert at Buttermilk Sky Pies or Kilwins, two of the best places to get a sweet treat. The Sky Pie Shop offers some delicious pies including apple pie, chocolate chip pie, and many others. While Kilwins has some fantastic chocolates and tasty ice cream as well, and if you find yourself going there, you'll want to bring home some of the fudge as well.
After you grab a breakfast feast of pancakes, omelets or French toast at Famous Toastery in Huntersville, start the day off with a hike around the Latta Nature Preserve. Take in scenic views of the forest, streams, and Mountain Island Lake on 16 miles of beautiful trails. The preserve also includes the Carolina Raptor Center and the newly opened Quest Center. The Raptor Center is a living museum dedicated to the conservation of birds of prey. Discover eagles, falcons, owls, hawks, and other raptors. You can walk on the nature trail, watch Bald Eagles nesting, and learn about raptor rehabilitation, research, and conservation.
Next, stop by Crafty Burg’r in Cornelius to dine in or to pick up the burger of your dreams with mac n’ cheese, egg, double spicy or all of the above to bring it for the perfect waterfront lunch picnic at Blythe Landing or Jetton Park. With playgrounds, sand volleyball courts, tennis courts, floating piers, and beautiful views, both are great places to stop and enjoy a pleasant spot by the water.
You can’t leave Lake Norman without checking out Aloha Paddle Sports one of Lake Norman’s most loved paddleboard companies. Book an introductory stand up paddleboard lesson with one of their experienced staff members, or rent a kayak and admire plant and animal life as you paddle around the water’s edge. The lake is one of the best places to be during a North Carolina sunset, and Aloha allows people to take their boards out and get a great glimpse of the natural beauty of our area.
Finally, have a special treat at Barrel and Fork or Kindred Restaurant. Both are farm-to- table restaurants specializing in cuisine featuring fresh, local ingredients. The menu changes with the seasons and the year-round favorites won’t disappoint. At Kindred, you can order plates to share with your table to try a bit of everything. Include staple items starting with milk bread and the squid ink conchiglie plate favored by bon appetite and chef Joe Kindred, James Beard award nominee. Finish your meal with a piece of the chocolate birthday cake with sweet cream ice cream and sprinkles.