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11 Beautiful Recreational Lakes near Greensboro, NC

Greensboro has a wide selection of lakes ideally suited for fishing and paddling. Also, some lakes offer camping and boating activities like wakeboarding, skiing, and tubing.
ItIsWild.com: Lakes near Greensboro

Most of the lakes around Greensboro are fantastic for fishing and paddling. However, because they are used for water supply, none allow swimming. And only a few permit pleasure boating like wakeboarding, water skiing, and jets.

Also, there are just two options if you want to go camping on the lake – Oak Hollow Lake and Lake Reidsville.

Still, the selection of lakes around the city is excellent. And the list below will help you choose the right option for your trip, be it a fishing expedition or a nature escape. 

Lakes near Greensboro:

  1. Lake Townsend
  2. Lake Brandt
  3. Lake Higgins
  4. Salem Lake
  5. Lake Thom-A-Lex
  6. Oak Hollow Lake
  7. High Point Lake
  8. Randleman Lake
  9. Lake Mackintosh
  10. Graham-Mebane Lake
  11. Lake Reidsville
Lakes near Greensboro North Carolina Comparison Table

1. Lake Townsend

Lake Townsend
  • Official Page: Lake Townsend
  • Distance from Greensboro: 12 miles (15 min)
  • Activities: Fishing, Boating, Kayaking, Canoeing, Sailing, Birding, Hiking

Lake Townsend is a 1,500-acre reservoir north of Greensboro. It is best known for boating and sailing and has a developed marina with launching and storage facilities.

The best way to enjoy the reservoir is to visit Lake Townsend Park on the eastern shore. It boasts picnic areas, a fishing pier, and a boat rental shop.

Fishing is prevalent here, and you can expect to catch warm water species like bass, catfish, and crappie.

However, what makes Lake Townsend unique is the highly-rated hiking and biking trails that surround the reservoir. 

The best options are Osprey and Blue Heron trails that can be accessed from Yanceyville Road and looped together into a 9-mile adventure.

Although it’s a highly-rated destination, Lake Townsend has a few drawbacks. One, swimming isn’t allowed anywhere on the lake. And two, there is just one recreation area and no campgrounds, limiting recreation choices.

Still, Lake Townsend is a stunning destination, perfect for unwinding or enjoying water activities. And, it’s just 15 minutes drive from Greensboro.

Related: 15 Stunning Lakes near Asheville, NC

2. Lake Brandt

Lake Brandt
  • Official Page: Lake Brandt
  • Distance from Greensboro: 8 miles (15 min)
  • Activities: Fishing, Boating, Kayaking, Canoeing, SUPs, Sailing, Birding, Hiking

Lake Brandt is a popular water recreation spot near Greensboro. At 816 acres, it is a smaller neighbor to Lake Townsend, also located north of the city.

The reservoir has two recreation areas, Lake Brandt Marina and Bur-Mil Park. The marina is ideal for kayaking, canoeing, and paddleboarding as it features boat rentals and launching facilities. It also has fishing piers if you want to test your luck.

Bur-Mil Park, on the other hand, is an excellent all-around outdoor destination with picnic areas, playgrounds, a nature center, and a pool for cooling during summer. The park is best suited to group events and families.

Like Lake Townsend, Brandt has dozens of hiking and biking trails that are great for exploring the lake and spotting diverse wildlife. The standard loop around the reservoir is about 12 miles long and is relatively flat.

What you can’t do at the lake, however, is swimming, jet skiing, wakeboarding, and camping. Unfortunately, these restrictions are universal to lakes around Greensboro.

Still, considering the proximity to the city and the lake’s stunning setting, Brandt is an easy choice.

Related: 9 Fantastic Lakes near Fayetteville, NC

3. Lake Higgins

Lake Higgins
  • Official Page: Lake Higgins
  • Distance from Greensboro: 10 miles (20 min)
  • Activities: Fishing, Boating, Kayaking, Canoeing, SUPs, Birding, Hiking

Lake Higgins is similar in character and restrictions to Lake Townsend and Lake Brandt. Yet, it’s a smaller and quieter option, attracting nature fans who wish to stay away from the crowds.

The Lake Higgins Park offers a marina with a launching ramp and boat rentals, a fishing pier, and an educational center.

As expected, the everyday activities at the lake are paddling, boating, and fishing. However, what makes the lake special is the winter fishing pond that is stocked with trout, which you can keep after catching.

And for folks who prefer to enjoy the lake from the shore, there is a well-marked trail that runs along the water, offering an opportunity to spot wildlife and get some steps under the belt.

Overall, Lake Higgins is a more peaceful alternative to Lake Townsend and Lake Brandt, best suited for fishing enthusiasts and nature fans.

Related: 9 Gorgeous Lakes near Boone, NC

4. Salem Lake

  • Official Page: Salem Lake
  • Distance from Greensboro: 27 miles (35 min)
  • Activities: Fishing, Boating, Kayaking, Canoeing, SUPs, Birding, Hiking

Salem Lake is a highly-rated water destination near Winston-Salem. It is best known for fishing and rich wildlife.

The reservoir is accessed from Salem Lake Park, which boasts picnic shelters, grills, a playground, launching ramps, and fishing piers. It is a clean and well-developed space.

When it comes to fishing, it is allowed from the pier or a boat only. You can expect to catch beam, bass, carp, and perch. Also, you can test your angling skills against others in monthly fishing tournaments on the lake.

In addition, Salem Lake is known for its 7-mile hiking and biking trail that loops around the reservoir. It’s a highly-rated route that offers views over the lake and opportunities to spot wildlife. The only caveat here is that the trail gets very busy on weekends.

When it comes to restrictions, the reservoir is similar to others in the area – no swimming, pleasure boating, or camping. Still, it’s another excellent option for fishing, paddling, or hiking and can be a welcome change of scenery.

Related: 15 Stunning Lakes near Asheville, NC

5. Lake Thom-A-Lex

  • Official Page: Lake Thom-A-Lex
  • Distance from Greensboro: 29 miles (35 min)
  • Activities: Fishing, Boating, Kayaking, Canoeing, SUPs, Birding, Hiking

Lake Thom-A-Lex is a popular water destination near Lexington. It features the day-use park, which is an ideal space for groups and family get-togethers.

To be frank, the reservoir doesn’t have any unique features that you won’t find at other lakes around Greensboro.

The facilities include a playground, fishing piers, launching ramps, and a boat rental shop. And the restrictions are similar to other lakes – no swimming, jet skiing, or camping.

However, Thom-A-Lex is a vital destination that serves the communities as far as Charlotte and Raleigh. It’s frequently described as an immaculate and family-friendly location. So, it’s definitely worth visiting, especially if you haven’t been before.

Related: 15 Superb Lakes near Durham, NC

6. Oak Hollow Lake

Oak Hollow Lake
  • Official Page: Oak Hollow Lake
  • Distance from Greensboro: 13 miles (25 min)
  • Activities: Fishing, Boating, Kayaking, Canoeing, Sailing, SUPs, Water Skiing, Birding, Camping

Oak Hollow Lake is the most developed lake near Greensboro. It offers its visitors more water activities than any other lake on the list. Plus, it has a lot more recreational space than most.

Firstly, the reservoir allows pleasure boating and water skiing which other lakes don’t. And secondly, it has a well-developed campground with over 100 RV sites, hookups, and a few tent spaces.

Other facilities include launching ramps, kayak rentals, playgrounds, picnic areas, a golf course, and even an open-air stage. Plus, the lake is home to Oak Hollows Sailing Club that offers sailing courses, and organizes regattas.

Perhaps the only drawback to the reservoir is that swimming isn’t allowed here. Still, there are plenty of water activities you can try, and it’s undoubtedly one of the best options on the list, especially if you want to take a multi-day trip or waterski.

Related: 9 Gorgeous Lakes near Boone, NC

7. High Point Lake

High Point Lake
  • Official Page: High Point Lake
  • Distance from Greensboro: 14 miles (20 min)
  • Activities: Fishing, Boating, Kayaking, Canoeing, SUPs, Birding, Hiking

High Point Lake is a popular recreation lake between High Point and Greensboro. It has two different parts: a developed and busy lakeside park and a quiet environmental center.

The park is hardly a wild destination; it features amusement rides and playgrounds for kids, boat excursions, public swimming pool, and a gym. Also, you can hire kayaks, canoes, and fishing boats here. It’s a bustling but highly-rated place with lots going on.

In contrast, Piedmont Environmental Center, located on the western side, is a calm destination where you can learn about local plants and animals. It boasts a selection of hiking trails that are a fantastic way to explore the lake and meet the wildlife while getting the exercise done.

Needless to say, High Point Lake is an excellent destination with various activities on offer. It will suit a variety of travelers, from families looking for an urban park to nature fans and wildlife photographers.

Related: 15 Stunning Lakes near Asheville, NC

8. Randleman Lake

  • Official Page: Randleman Lake
  • Distance from Greensboro: 16 miles (20 min)
  • Activities: Fishing, Boating, Kayaking, Canoeing, SUPs, Hiking, Nature Trips

Randleman Lake is the newest addition to the Greensboro area. It opened to the public in 2010 and quickly became a popular fishing spot.

The reservoir is vast, but it only offers two recreation areas. On the north side of the lake, Southwest Park has picnic areas, hiking trails, boat rentals, and a launching ramp (no gas motors).

While on the southern end, Randleman Marina allows gasoline boats and has rental facilities with fishing and paddle craft.

Still, there are drawbacks to the reservoir. For example, many complain about restrictive operating hours that prevent people from fishing during the week. And similar to other lakes in the area, you can’t go swimming, skiing, or pleasure boating.

Randleman Lake is worth visiting despite the restrictions, especially if you like catching big bass, which the reservoir is known for. But check the opening times first.

Related: 15 Superb Lakes near Durham, NC

9. Lake Mackintosh

  • Official Page: Lake Mackintosh
  • Distance from Greensboro: 14 miles (20 min)
  • Activities: Fishing, Boating, Kayaking, Canoeing, SUPs, Hiking, Nature Trips

Lake Mackintosh is a 1,150-acre reservoir near Burlington, easily accessible from I-40. It’s another excellent lake for water activities near Greensboro.

There are two main access points to the reservoir. One option is Lake Mackintosh Marina that offers well-developed facilities like picnic shelters, launching ramps, and boat rentals.

And, the nearest to Greensboro option is Guilford-Mackintosh Park, which in addition to the standard boat rentals and ramps, also has a sand volleyball court, a horseshoe pit, and a selection of hiking trails.

The lake is known to be well-maintained and clean. Plus, both parks allow bank fishing which is rare considering restrictions on most other reservoirs. It’s a small detail, but it makes all the difference to people who enjoy the solitude of fishing.

Related: 9 Gorgeous Lakes near Boone, NC

10. Graham-Mebane Lake

  • Official Page: Graham-Mebane Lake
  • Distance from Greensboro: 30 miles (35 min)
  • Activities: Fishing, Boating, Kayaking, Canoeing, SUPs, Skiing, Wakeboarding, Tubing, Jet Skiing

Graham-Mebane Lake is a 650-acre reservoir east of Burlington. It is known for big bass tournaments, lovely scenery, and a relaxing setting.

What makes the lake different from most is that it allows pleasure boating, including wakeboarding, skiing, tubing, and jet skiing. It is one of a few reservoirs around Greensboro that permits this, although with daily restrictions.

Despite such activities, the lake is frequently described as quiet and tranquil, probably because it doesn’t attract crowds. 

Other water activities on offer are fishing (pier, bank, and boat) and paddling; you can rent kayaks and canoes or launch your own.

There are a couple of drawbacks to mention, though. One, swimming is prohibited, like at all other lakes around Greensboro. And two, some visitors complained of copperheads, so watch your step here.

Related: 15 Stunning Lakes near Asheville, NC

11. Lake Reidsville

Lake Reidsville
  • Official Page: Lake Reidsville
  • Distance from Greensboro: 21 miles (25 min)
  • Activities: Fishing, Boating, Kayaking, Canoeing, SUPs, Skiing, Wakeboarding, Tubing, Jet Skiing, Hiking, Camping

Lake Reidsville is probably one of the most popular reservoirs in the area, located some 21 miles north of Greensboro. 

What makes this location unique is the variety of activities on offer. You can not only fish and paddle here but also go wakeboarding, water skiing, and jet skiing. 

As you may expect, kayak and canoe rentals are available. And, the only prohibited activity is swimming but apart from that, the lake is an aqua paradise.

In addition to that, there is a developed campground with hot water, electricity, and RV hookups. So, if you are planning a multi-day gateway, Reidsville is an excellent option.

Also, there are a couple of miles of trails for hiking and biking and a selection of picnic shelters with grills for private and corporate events. 

It’s hard to fault this fantastic destination, and apart from prohibition on swimming, there is nothing to complain about at Lake Reidsville.

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