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21 Amazing Recreational Lakes near Raleigh, NC (+ Map)

Raleigh must be the lake capital of the world. Dozens of fantastic recreational reservoirs pepper the landscape here. From small fishing ponds to massive world-class lakes, there is something for everyone here.
ItIsWild.com: Best Lakes near Raleigh, NC

Raleigh must be the lake capital of the world. Numerous reservoirs surround the city and offer all types of recreational opportunities.

There are nation-famous gems like Falls Lake and Kerr Lake, as well as small but charming options where only fishing is allowed. What’s more, most of the reservoirs on the list are within an hour’s drive away. 

Whether you’re into wakeboarding, sailing, kayaking, or simply sunbathing on a beach, there are plenty of opportunities here.

Check out what Raleigh has to offer!

Lakes near Raleigh:

  1. Lake Johnson
  2. Lake Crabtree
  3. Lake Wheeler
  4. Lake Benson
  5. Buckhorn Reservoir
  6. Falls Lake
  7. Tar River Reservoir
  8. Wiggins Mill Reservoir
  9. Lake Wilson
  10. Shearon Harris Reservoir
  11. Jordan Lake
  12. Little River Lake
  13. Lake Michie
  14. Eno Rock Quarry
  15. Cane Creek Reservoir
  16. Kerr Lake
  17. Mayo Lake
  18. Hyco Lake
  19. Lake Gaston
  20. Shelley Lake
  21. William B. Umstead State Park
Comparison Table

1. Lake Johnson

Lake Johnson
Source: flickr/ CC BY-SA 2.0
  • Official Page: Lake Johnson
  • Distance from Raleigh: 5 miles (12 min)
  • Activities: Fishing, Boating (no gas), Kayaking, Canoeing, SUPs, Picnics, Hiking

Lake Johnson is a small reservoir, just 150 acres in size. It’s a highly-rated destination and a popular paddling spot located in Raleigh.

Like Lake Crabtree (below), Lake Johnson is a part of an urban park. However, it doesn’t have the typical playgrounds or sports grounds. Instead, it’s a tranquil natural spot with wooded trails and hammock zones, very zen.

Swimming is prohibited at Lake Johnson, but the park has a seasonal swimming pool for cooling off in summer.

Also, the lake is a popular paddling destination with kayak, canoe, and paddleboard rentals. You can join a paddling group or launch your own craft and explore the shoreline.

Fishing is average here. You can cast from the pier or the main bridge but don’t inflate your expectation; after all, it’s a small urban lake. If you’re serious about catching lunkers, Jordan Lake is a better option.

As a quiet natural spot, Lake Johnson is excellent for escaping the hustle and bustle of the city, but it’s not as versatile as bigger lakes.

2. Lake Crabtree

Lake Crabtree
Source: flickr/ CC BY-SA 4.0
  • Official Page: Lake Crabtree
  • Distance from Raleigh: 13 miles (20 min)
  • Activities: Fishing, Boating (no gas), Kayaking, Canoeing, Picnics, Hiking

Lake Crabtree is a 520-acre reservoir in Raleigh. It’s an urban lake, ideal for day trips, families, and picnics with friends.

The lake is a part of the county park that offers free access and tons of facilities like playgrounds, sports courts, hiking trails, and boat rentals.

Fishing is prevalent here, but the lake scores average reviews for that. Despite its modest size, there are reports of 8lbs+ largemouth bass, and you can also expect catfish, crappie, and carp.

Swimming is prohibited at Lake Crabtree, but the park offers kayak and canoe rentals during the warm season, which is a great way to get out on the water. Alternatively, you can make use of their boat ramp and launch your own. Although note that gas motors are prohibited.

Lake Crabtree won’t win awards for the best lake around, but it’s an essential part of Raleigh and a breath of fresh air. It’s best for half-day family trips and evening fishing expeditions.

3. Lake Wheeler

Lake Wheeler
Source: unsplash
  • Official Page: Lake Wheeler
  • Distance from Raleigh: 9 miles (20 min)
  • Activities: Fishing, Boating, Kayaking, Canoeing, SUPs, Picnics, Water Skiing, Wakeboarding, Tubing

Lake Wheeler is a 650-acre reservoir south of Raleigh. It’s a charming day-use destination with gorgeous sunsets and fantastic paddling opportunities.

The lake is part of a well-kept county park that offers playgrounds, a volleyball court, and boat rentals. You can hire paddleboards, canoes, kayaks and explore the multiple coves. The loop along the shore is about 7 miles and can take over 3 hours to complete.

Swimming is prohibited at Lake Wheeler, but surprisingly, water-contact sports like waterskiing and wakeboarding are allowed, although there are no-wake time restrictions in place.

Fishing isn’t bad here. Despite the lake’s size, there are reports of 7lb+ largemouth bass, but the second most common catch – channel catfish – is relatively small.

It’s an excellent destination for paddling, family get-togethers, and romantic picnics (if you time the sunset right).

4. Lake Benson

Lake Benson
Source: flickr/ CC BY 2.0
  • Official Page: Lake Benson
  • Distance from Raleigh: 12 miles (25 min)
  • Activities: Fishing, Boating, Kayaking, Canoeing, Picnics, Hiking

Lake Benson is 650 acres in size, located south of Garner. It’s an urban destination best suited for family get-togethers and summer picnics.

It’s not as versatile as other destinations on the list, but it’s a pleasant spot where you can rent jon boats, kayaks, and canoes (no personal craft allowed).

Fishing is ok at Lake Benson, and it’s free. It won’t take your breath away, but largemouth bass grows to a decent size here. 

Also, dog owners would love this destination. The park has two dog playgrounds, which is rare. 

Overall, Lake Benson is a family-oriented destination that offers a little bit of everything; it’s an excellent introduction to the lakeside fun.

5. Buckhorn Reservoir

Buckhorn Reservoir
Source: pixabay
  • Official Page: Buckhorn Reservoir 
  • Distance from Raleigh: 42 miles (45 min)
  • Activities: Fishing, Boating, Kayaking, Canoeing, SUPs, Swimming, Wakeboarding, Water Skiing

Buckhorn Reservoir is a 2,300-acre lake near Wilson. It’s a prime boating spot with a lot of space and relatively good fishing.

The best way to access the lake is the boat landing on Rock Ridge Rd. It’s a well-kept facility with a large picnic shelter, grills, and a couple of ramps. It gets busy here during the summer weekends, but other than that, it’s a nice spot.

When it comes to water activities, the lake doesn’t have any restrictions. From swimming to paddling to water skiing, everything goes at Buckhorn Reservoir.

However, on windy days kayaking and even boating can be a challenge due to the lake’s shape; it’s vast and open, with very little wind protection.

There is plenty of fish at the reservoir, but catching requires skill, local knowledge, and a bit of luck. But once you’ve figured it out, the lake yields decent size bass and catfish.

Like Tar River Reservoir (below), Buckhorn is excellent for seasoned boaters and anglers, but it’s not the most family-friendly option.

6. Falls Lake

Falls Lake
Source: flickr/ CC BY 2.0
  • Official Page: Falls Lake
  • Distance from Raleigh: 23 miles (40 min)
  • Activities: Fishing, Boating, Kayaking, Canoeing, Swimming, Water Skiing, Wakeboarding, Jet Skiing, Tubing, Picnics, Camping, RVs, Hiking, MTBs

Falls Lake is a massive 12,000-acre reservoir just 40 minutes from Raleigh. It’s not just the top lake around but one of the best recreational spots in the state.

Unlike many lakes in North Carolina, this reservoir has few private houses and numerous public access areas. 

State Parks organization manages seven different locations, including the most versatile and the nearest to Raleigh – Rolling View. In addition, the reservoir offers four remote boat ramps to avoid crowds. To get a complete picture, check out this map.

Falls Lake has no limits on recreation. Swimming is allowed here, and there are several beaches scattered throughout. 

Beaverdam area is the only no-gas motors zone, making it the best spot for kayaking, canoeing, and quiet fishing. This is where you will find designated MTB trails, too. The rest of the lake is fantastic for fast boating and water sports like wakeboarding and water and jet skiing.

However, when it comes to fishing, Falls Lake isn’t great. Although it holds the state record for white perch (almost 3lb), it scores average reviews as many people complain about overfishing. Still, lucky (or skilled) anglers can expect largemouth bass, channel catfish, and bluegill; it’s there.

Another unique feature of the lake is the 50-mile hiking trail that stretches along the southern shore. This backpacking route has campsites along the way and offers stunning views and undisturbed wilderness.

Beautiful, massive, versatile, and wild, Falls Lake is the top spot. And luckily for Raleigh, it’s less than an hour away.

7. Tar River Reservoir

Tar River Reservoir
Source: unsplash
  • Official Page: none
  • Distance from Raleigh: 52 miles (55 min)
  • Activities: Fishing, Boating, Kayaking, Canoeing, SUPs, Swimming, Sailing, Wakeboarding, Water Skiing

Tar River Reservoir is a 1,860-acre lake near Rocky Mount. It’s a popular fishing and boating spot but is largely undeveloped.

The reservoir has two boat ramps. One is on Bent on the River Rd, and another is on S Old Carriage Rd. Both locations are primitive and don’t have anything else but parking.

Fishing is really good at Tar River Reservoir. There is a wide selection of species, and many fish reach a decent size. Boat or kayak fishing is best, but there is some bank access too. If you are interested in fishing at this lake, here is a useful article.

When it comes to other water recreation, the reservoir has hardly any limits. Swimming, paddling, sailing, and skiing are all possible here.

However, the lake is moody. The water levels aren’t stable, and the clarity varies from very clear to murky, depending on the rain. 

It’s a destination for seasoned anglers and boaters. Plus, you have to bring your own craft to really enjoy it. Still, this keeps crowds away and leaves more fish in the water.

8. Wiggins Mill Reservoir

Wiggins Mill Reservoir
Source: flickr/ CC BY-SA 2.0
  • Official Page: Wiggins Mill Reservoir
  • Distance from Raleigh: 49 miles (45 min)
  • Activities: Fishing, Boating, Kayaking, Canoeing, Paddleboarding

Wiggins Mill Reservoir is a 200-acre lake near Wilson. It’s a very popular paddling and fishing spot with a relaxing atmosphere.

You have two options to access the reservoir. There is a viewing area on Route 301 with water cascades to marvel at and bank access for fishing. And a put-in place for kayaks on Downing Rd marked as ‘boat launch’ on Google maps.

Gas boats are prohibited here, and the lake is relatively shallow with underwater obstacles. However, this makes paddling even more fun, and it feels somewhat remote and wild, too.

Fishing is very popular at Wiggins Mill Reservoir. But the reports suggest that it’s average, and many folks claim that the reservoir is overfished. Still, bass, crappie, and bluegill are typical species here, and 4-pound largemouth is feasible.

Although it’s not versatile, the reservoir is worth the drive, especially for paddlers who love remote lakes.

9. Lake Wilson

Lake Wilson
Source: pixabay
  • Official Page: Lake Wilson
  • Distance from Raleigh: 49 miles (55 min)
  • Activities: Fishing, Boating, Kayaking, Canoeing, Picnics, Hiking, Playgrounds

Lake Wilson is about 80 acres in size. It’s located less than an hour from Raleigh, near Wilson. It’s a highly-rated destination with modern amenities and plenty of things to do.

The lake is part of the park that offers a 2-mile hiking trail, a boat ramp, picnic shelters, and ample parking. 

Paddling is very popular here. Beginners will find the lake’s modest size reassuring, although there is plenty to explore.

Recently, the boating rules changed here. Motorboats aren’t allowed anymore (except with trolling motors), making fishing a lot more peaceful. 

The lake has excellent bank access and scores above average for fishing. And although it doesn’t produce trophy-sized fish, the bite is generally good.

This is a much more developed destination compared to Wiggins Mill or Buckhorn Reservoirs. It’s family-friendly and charming, perfect for day trips.

10. Shearon Harris Reservoir

Shearon Harris Reservoir
Source: flickr/ CC BY 2.0
  • Official Page: Shearon Harris Reservoir
  • Distance from Raleigh: 27 miles (30 min)
  • Activities: Fishing, Boating, Kayaking, Canoeing, Water Skiing, Wakeboarding, Jet Skiing, Hiking, Picnics

Shearon Harris Reservoir, aka Harris Lake, is 4,100 acres in size. It’s located southwest of Raleigh and is known for bass fishing and boating.

You can access the lake by using the two boat ramps, one is at the southern tip, and another is on Bartley Holleman Road. Both ramps are recently renovated (2022) and offer paved access with restrooms and parking.

Another option is to visit Harris Lake County Park, which offers the perfect mix of modern facilities and nature. It has traditional areas like picnic shelters and sports courts, as well as miles of natural trails, fishing piers, and access for paddlers.

Shearon Harris Reservoir is excellent for fishing which is the most popular activity here. Largemouth bass, channel catfish, and black crappie dominate the lake. And although it doesn’t hold any state records, fish gets to a decent size here. For example, 7lb+ largemouth is typical.

There are a few drawbacks to the lake. Unfortunately, swimming isn’t allowed at Harris Lake, although some people wakeboard and water ski. Also, there are no campgrounds here, limiting the lake to day use only.

Still, Shearon Harris Reservoir is an excellent destination that is large enough to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. It’s especially great for fishing.

11. Jordan Lake

Jordan Lake
Source: unsplash
  • Official Page: Jordan Lake
  • Distance from Raleigh: 26 miles (35 min)
  • Activities: Fishing, Boating, Kayaking, Canoeing, Swimming, Water Skiing, Wakeboarding, Jet Skiing, Tubing, Picnics, Camping, RVs, Hiking

Jordan Lake is 14,000 acres in size located west of Raleigh. It’s another fantastic recreational lake open to the public.

Like Falls Lake, Jordan Reservoir is managed by State Parks and has several access areas and remote boat ramps, giving you plenty of choices.

The access areas vary in size and facilities. Some are well-developed with RV parks and marinas, while others are primitive, with just a boat ramp or tent sites. The best way to find a spot for your needs is to check out the lake’s website

When it comes to activities, Jordan Lake has no limits. From swimming and fishing to paddling and water sports, it’s all happening here.

However, unlike Falls Lake, Jordan has many underwater obstacles like stumps and shallows. So take extra care when skiing or wakeboarding; there are markets to aid the navigation.

Still, underwater growth, stumps, and timber create excellent fish habitats, making Jordan Lake an amazing fishing destination. It scores well above average and offers a wide selection of species. The most common catch is largemouth bass which grows to over 10 pounds here.

Also, there are plenty of campgrounds and hiking trails spread around the lake. And you can hire motorboats, kayaks, and SUPs or try sailing. 

Needless to say, Jordan Lake is very versatile. You can come for a buzzing day at the beach or go for a quiet paddling far from the crowds. It has it all!

12. Little River Lake

Little River Lake
Source: unsplash
  • Official Page: Little River Lake
  • Distance from Raleigh: 36 miles (45 min)
  • Activities: Fishing, Boating, Kayaking, Canoeing, Picnics

Little River Lake is a 549-acre reservoir north of Durham. It’s the city’s primary water supply which means strict restrictions are in place, but anglers and paddlers would love this spot.

During the warm period, the lake is open to the public most of the week. It offers bank fishing, a pier, boat rentals, and a couple of picnic tables. It’s a tranquil spot, free from the crowds.

Fishing is quite good. Largemouth, crappie, and bluegill are the most common species, but lunkers are rare.

The use of personal boats or gas motors is prohibited at Littel River Lake, so are swimming and wading. But you can rent jon boats, kayaks, and canoes.

The best thing about this lake is the lack of crowds, so if you want some quiet time fishing or kayaking, this is an excellent spot.

13. Lake Michie

Lake Michie
Source: flickr/ CC BY 2.0
  • Official Page: Lake Michie
  • Distance from Raleigh: 38 miles (45 min)
  • Activities: Fishing, Boating, Kayaking, Canoeing, Picnics

Lake Michie is a 480-acre reservoir near Bahama, some 45 minutes from Raleigh. It’s another tranquil spot without the hustle and bustle of bigger lakes.

Wilking Road Park is right on the lake, and it offers picnic shelters, grills, and fishing. 

However, if you’re planning on boating, Lake Michie Boathouse is the place. This location offers a paved launching ramp, paddleboats rentals, and a couple of picnic tables. 

The official website claims that the reservoir is the finest largemouth bass spot. Yet, the fishing reports are pretty modest. Perhaps, this is a hidden gem that the general public doesn’t know about yet.

Swimming and wading aren’t allowed at Lake Michie. Like many others around Raleigh and Durham, it’s a water supply lake, so the restrictions on body contact apply, although motorboats are permitted.

It won’t win prizes for the most versatile lake, but it’s a stunning tranquil spot, perfect for nature lovers.

14. Eno Rock Quarry

Eno Rock Quarry
Source: flickr/ CC BY 2.0
  • Official Page: Eno Rock Quarry
  • Distance from Raleigh: 31 miles (40 min)
  • Activities: Swimming

Eno Rock Quarry is a 4-acre flooded pit that is a well-known swimming hole near Durham.

It’s located inside the Eno River State Park and requires a mile-long hike to get to. The trailhead parking is Cabelands on Howe St. Spaces are limited, and alternatives are scarce, so arrive early, especially on weekends.

Park rangers don’t recommend swimming at the quarry as the banks are steep and the water is 60 feet deep. But this doesn’t stop dozens of daredevils from enjoying this spot.

Needless to say, it’s not a family-friendly location. In fact, a few people have drowned there over the years. Floats and tubes are highly advisable.

Enjoy at your own risk!

15. Cane Creek Reservoir

Cane Creek Reservoir
Source: pixabay
  • Official Page: Cane Creek Reservoir
  • Distance from Raleigh: 41 miles (55 min)
  • Activities: Fishing, Boating, Kayaking, Canoeing, Picnics

Cane Creek Reservoir is another water supply lake. It’s 540 acres in size and offers only seasonal access.

The reservoir is open for recreation a couple of days a week during the warm season. This means it’s not overfished and provides excellent fishing opportunities.

Swimming and wading are prohibited at Cane Creek Reservoir, and you can’t use gas motors. But paddling is allowed. You can bring your own boats or rent kayaks and canoes on the spot.

This location is great for fishing, paddling, and escaping the hustle and bustle of the city. But if you need more from a lake, then Jordan and Falls are much better options.

16. Kerr Lake

Kerr Lake
Source: flickr/ CC BY 2.0
  • Official Page: Kerr Lake
  • Distance from Raleigh: 55 miles (1h 10min)
  • Activities: Fishing, Boating, Kayaking, Canoeing, Swimming, Water Skiing, Wakeboarding, Jet Skiing, Tubing, Picnics, Camping, RVs, Hiking, Scuba Diving

At 50,000 acres, Kerr Lake is one of the largest and most popular reservoirs in the southeast, let alone the state. And luckily for Raleigh, it’s just over an hour away.

NC State Parks manages seven recreational areas around the lake. All of them are well-developed and offer camping and boating facilities. Check out this map to get a bird’s eye view and compare the areas.

When it comes to activities, there are hardly any restrictions in place. From swimming to paddling and water skiing, the lake has it all. It’s the most versatile destination on the list.

Fishing at Kerr Lake is excellent, too. As you can imagine, a reservoir of this size produces numerous species in large sizes. In fact, it holds two state records in NC – white bass and freshwater drum. And the largest blue catfish caught in the lake was a 143-pound monster.

The lake has busy areas, as well as tranquil spots for solitude seekers and nature lovers. It can accommodate any type of visitor, and it’s the top destination in the southeast.

17. Mayo Lake

Mayo Lake
Source: pexels
  • Official Page: Mayo Lake
  • Distance from Raleigh: 67 miles (1h 25min)
  • Activities: Fishing, Boating, Kayaking, Canoeing, Swimming, Water Skiing, Wakeboarding, Jet Skiing, Tubing, Picnics, Camping, RVs, Hiking

Mayo Lake is a 2,800-acre reservoir near the Virginia border. It’s another fantastic example of a versatile lake with no limits on recreation.

The reservoir is largely undeveloped, and there is just one access area – Mayo Lake Park. It offers various accommodation types, including RV sites, primitive camping, and cabins, making it an easy choice for weekend adventures.

Also, the park has several hiking trails, paddleboat rentals, and a launching ramp, everything you may need for a day on the lake.

Swimming is allowed at Mayo Lake, and the water is relatively clear and gets pretty warm towards the end of the summer.

Water sports enthusiasts can wakeboard and ski at Mayo Lake; there are no restrictions here. And the water levels are more stable than at nearby Hyco Lake.

Perhaps the only drawback to the reservoir is the lack of access areas; you don’t have a choice. But apart from that, it’s the top lake. And it’s especially great for families and first-time visitors. 

18. Hyco Lake

Hyco Lake
Source: pixabay
  • Official Page: Hyco Lake
  • Distance from Raleigh: 69 miles (1h 25min)
  • Activities: Fishing, Boating, Kayaking, Canoeing, Swimming, Water Skiing, Wakeboarding, Jet Skiing, Tubing, Picnics, Camping, RVs, Hiking

Hyco Lake is a 3,750-acre reservoir near Mayo Lake. It’s a fun and versatile destination with hardly any restrictions on recreation.

There are a couple of ways to access the reservoir. If you have your own boat, you can make use of the launching ramp in the northern part. It’s remote but free to access.

Alternatively, there is the Hyco Lake Natural Area on Route 57. It’s a more developed destination with campsites, a hiking trail, and a shop. Also, across the bridge from there, you can hire pontoon boats.

Swimming is allowed at Hyco Lake, and so are wakeboarding and water and jet skiing. In fact, it’s one of the go-to lakes for water sports around. 

Fishing is excellent at Hyco Lake, too. The reviews are great, and anglers rarely walk away without a catch. You are almost guaranteed to bring home dinner, usually largemouth bass.

The only drawback to the lake is that it gets relatively busy during the summer weekends. Despite its size, there are just two access areas.

Still, it’s a highly versatile and charming spot. And thanks to its campground, it’s great for multi-day trips, too.

19. Lake Gaston

Lake Gaston
Source: flickr/ CC BY 2.0
  • Official Page: Lake Gaston
  • Distance from Raleigh: 74 miles (1h 35min)
  • Activities: Fishing, Boating, Kayaking, Canoeing, SUPs, Swimming, Wakeboarding, Water Skiing, Jet Skiing, Tubing, Camping

Lake Gaston is a massive 20,000-acre reservoir near the Virginia border. It’s a classic recreational lake with dozens of access points and plenty of things to do.

Choosing the spot will depend on your circumstances and how much you are prepared to drive, but the lake has it all. Hotels, marinas, lodges, RV parks, and day-use beaches are spread throughout the 350-mile shoreline.

And when it comes to activities, there are absolutely no limits here. Swimming, paddling, boating, wakeboarding, and camping are just a few to mention. 

Perhaps where the lake is laking are hiking trails. There are a few options, but they aren’t common.

Fishing is terrific at Lake Gaston. The reviews are through the roof, the selection of species is great, and the lake holds two state records, one of which is a 121-pound monster catfish (blue). 

If it’s your first time fishing here, hiring a guide is an excellent idea. There are many of them, and you will quickly learn local tricks.

Overall, Lake Gaston is one of the best recreational lakes in the state, maybe even the whole southeast. It’s worth the drive.

20. Shelley Lake

Shelley Lake
Source: flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0
  • Official Page: Shelley Lake
  • Distance from Raleigh: 7 miles (15 min)
  • Activities: Fishing, Hiking, Playgrounds

Shelley Lake is a small reservoir hidden in Raleigh’s northern suburbs. It’s a popular and highly-rated destination for morning workouts and afternoon strolls, but as recreational lakes go, it’s unexciting.

The only water activity here is fishing. If you don’t want to drive far, this is the perfect spot for casting a line and relaxing. Fishing is only allowed from docks and piers and not from the shore.

The most popular catch at Shelley Lake is catfish, followed by largemouth bass and bluegill, but there are many more species here, although the sizes are unimpressive.

Swimming, paddling, or boating are prohibited at this small urban lake, but if you enjoy running, biking, or strolling, you’d love the 2.2-mile Shelley Lake Loop that offers gorgeous views over the water.

In a nutshell, it’s an excellent urban spot that’s treasured by the locals. Great for satisfying the anglers’ itch but not as versatile as other options on the list.

21. William B. Umstead State Park

William B. Umstead State Park
Source: flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0
  • Official Page: William B. Umstead State Park
  • Distance from Raleigh: 11 miles (20 min)
  • Activities: Fishing, Boating (no gas), Kayaking, Canoeing, SUPs, Hiking, Biking, Camping

William B. Umstead State Park is situated between Raleigh and Durham and provides a welcome patch of wilderness in the otherwise urban setting.

The park has three ponds for fishing, kayaking, and canoeing, giving you plenty of options. However, unlike many state parks, Umstead doesn’t offer boat rentals, so you have to bring your own. 

On the bright side, paddleboarding is allowed, but gas motors are prohibited, providing a relaxing setting for anglers and paddlers.

Talking about fishing, the park’s ponds are rated average but considering the proximity to the city and excellent fishing docks and piers, it’s hard to beat. You can aim for channel and blue catfish, largemouth bass, bluegill, and crappie.

On land, there are over 20 miles of hiking and biking trails and a small campground with tent sites. 

If you are short on time but still want to experience paddling, fishing, and hiking, William B. Umstead State Park is an excellent local option. Not many cities have a state park on their doorstep.

Map of Lakes near Raleigh:

More Lakes in North Carolina:

Beaches in North Carolina:

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