Your guide to the perfect lake day

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Presented by Bojangles’

When the Queen City heats up, there’s one place that locals can count on to help cool them off.

The lake.

Technically, there are two big lakes – Lake Norman & Lake Wylie. Both of them are about a 30 min. drive from the city, making each a go-to summer retreat.

If you’re planning a lake day with friends or family, you want to make sure it’s epic. That’s why we’re breaking down everything from boat rentals to what to pack in your cooler (hint: there is sweet tea involved):

Lake Norman Boat Club Photo via Facebook

Don’t have a boat or a jet ski? No problem. There are plenty of rental companies you can take advantage of. Here are some places to check out, if you’re in need of lake transportation:

Lake Norman

Morningstar Marina
Address: 18020 Kings Point Drive, Cornelius, NC 28031
The deal: You can rent a double decker pontoon (with a SLIDE) for 4 hours starting at $350
Best way to book: Online

Westport Marina
Address: 7879 Water Oaks Drive, Denver, NC 28037
The deal: Rent a pontoon from $275 for the day
Best way to book: Online

Lake Norman Marina
Address: 6965 NC Hwy 150, Sherrills Ford, NC 28673
The deal: Weekend rental rates start at $339 for a full day
Best way to book: By phone 704-483-5546

Lake Effects
Address: 8693 NC Hwy 150, Terrell, NC 28682
The deal: Weekend pontoon rental rates start at $319 for a full day
Best way to book: Online

Lake Wylie

Lake Wylie Boat Rentals
Address: 1500 River Drive, Belmont, NC 28012
The deal: Weekend pontoon rental rates start at $375 for a full day
Best way to book: Online

Tega Cay Marina
Address: 1 Marina Drive, Tega Cay, SC 29708
The deal: Full day pontoon rentals start at $325
Best way to book: By phone 803-548-3715

Pier 88 Yacht Club
Address: 165 Heritage Drive, Lake Wylie, SC 29710
The deal: Weekend pontoon rental rates start at $325
Best way to book: By phone 803-831-0088

The Food

When it comes to lake day food, nothing works better than a tailgate box from Bojangles’. You can pick it up on the way and it comes with everything you need. Plus, it’s a steal for the amount of food you get.

Here’s a breakdown of the of the tailgate box options:

8-piece Tailgate Special

  • 8 pieces of chicken
  • two picnic fixin’s
  • Four biscuits
  • Half a gallon of tea

12-piece Super Tailgate

  • 12 pieces of chicken
  • 3 picnic fixin’s
  • 6 biscuits
  • Half a gallon of tea

20-piece Jumbo Tailgate

  • 20 pieces of chicken
  • 4 picnic fixin’s
  • 10 biscuits
  • Gallon of tea

The drinks: Mix up your sweet tea

Everyone has their go-to summer drinks, and we are definitely team sweet tea. It’s classic. It’s refreshing. And it’s surprisingly versatile.

Arnold Palmer with a twist
Half lemonade, half tea. It’s the best of both worlds. Take it to another level by adding some fresh herbs like lavender or thyme. It’s easy and everyone will be impressed.

Slice up some citrus
Citrus sweet tea is the perfect lake day drink. We loaded up a pitcher with oranges, lemons and limes. A very simple way to add some punch to your tea.

Add raspberries and mint
Raspberries are the perfect complement to sweet tea. They aren’t overly sweet and they give it a fruity flavor. We added a little mint to our version and it was delish.

The Fun

Make the most of your day at the lake. Hint: you can still have an epic lake day without owning or renting a boat.

Take a cruise
Queens Landing offers sightseeing tours and dinner cruises on Lake Norman. Opt for a ride on the vintage, Catawba Queen or climb aboard Lady of the Lake and get the luxury yacht experience. Check the cruise schedules here.

Have a beach day at the lake
Longing for the beach but don’t want to make the drive? Lake Norman’s Ramsey Creek Park offers a public beach perfect for laying out or taking a swim. Pack a towel, a beach chair, a Bo Box and some SPF.

Go kayaking
Explore the lake in a different way by renting a kayak or stand-up paddle board. You’ll get up close views of local wildlife. Plus, it’s great exercise.

Lake Norman

Long Island Access Area – 8628 Long Island Road, Catawba NC 28609. Boat ramp, parking.

Stumpy Creek Access Area – Stumpy Creek Road, Davidson NC 28117. Boat ramp, parking.

McCrary Creek Access Area – River Highway, Mooresville NC 28117. Boat ramp, parking.

Pinnacle Access Area – River Highway, Mooresville NC 28117. Boat ramp, parking.

Hager Creek Access Area – Mooresville NC 28117. I-77 north to exit 33. Go left on Williamson Road, left on Brawley School Road, right on McKendree Road. Boat ramp, parking.

Little Creek Access Area – Trails End Road, Catawba Springs NC 28037. Boat ramp, parking.

Beatties Ford Access Area – Shipley Lane at Unity Road Church, Denver NC 28037. Boat ramp, parking.

Lake Norman State Park – 759 State Park Road, Troutman NC 28166. Swimming, boat ramp, camping, parking.

Jetton Road County Park – 1900 Jetton Road, Cornelius NC 28031. Fishing access, hiking, parking, swimming.

Ramsey Creek Park – 18441 Nantz Road in Cornelius NC 28031. Boat ramp, fishing access, hiking, parking.

Blythe Landing Park – off NC 73 Highway, Huntersville NC 28078. Map to nearby Lake Norman Community Sailing at 15901 NC 73 Hwy. Boat ramp, fishing access, parking.

Copperhead Island Boat Launch – 15200 Solider Road. Boat ramp, fishing access, camping, parking.

McDowell Nature Preserve – 15222 York Road. Fishing access, camping, parking.

Buster Boyd Access Area – next to T Bones at 3990 Charlotte Highway, Lake Wylie SC 29710. Boat ramp, parking.

Allison Creek Access – Viesta Road. Boat ramp, fishing access, parking.

Nivens Creek Landing – Nivens Landing Drive. Boat ramp, parking.

Catawba River Access Fort Mill Dam – Boat ramp, parking.

Now, pack up the car, pick up a Bo Box and get lakeside ASAP.

(This content was co-created with Bojangles’.)

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