About Lake Norman

Located just 30 miles north of Charlotte, Lake Norman is nicknamed North Carolina’s “Inland Sea” thanks to 520 miles of shoreline and a surface area of more than 32,475 acres that span across four counties. It came into existence when Duke Energy began building Cowan’s Ford Dam in 1959 on the Catawba River Chain. Lake Norman is nearly as large as the other 10 lakes on the Catawba combined, making Lake Norman the largest man-made lake in our state!

The time spent with your family at one of our luxury homes is sure to make your vacation memorable. Lake Norman is a fantastic place for swimming, fishing, boating, skiing, kayaking and taking wake-boarding lessons with Ride LKN! Lake Norman experiences also include vibrant sunsets, dining on the waterfront, cruises, regattas, and of course – possible sightings of Normie, the Lake Norman Monster!

Our “Inland Sea'' features plenty of outdoor fun & recreation, both on and off the lake! From exploring the U.S. National White Water Center, riding roller coasters at Carowinds, and watching NASCAR at the Charlotte Motor Speedway, to shopping in Birkdale Village, dancing to live music at our favorite local spots, and hiking in the Lake Norman State Park, there’s many things in our area for you to explore!

Nearby Colleges: Davidson College, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Queens University, Catawba College, Johnson & Wales University- Charlotte Campus, Belmont Abbey College and Winthrop University.


  • Year Built: 1959-1963
  • Area: 32,510 acres at full pond
  • Length: 33.6 miles
  • Width: 9 miles
  • Shoreline length: 520 miles
  • Maximum Depth: 110 feet
  • Average Depth: 33.5 feet
  • Maximum Drawdown: 15 feet
  • Capacity: 3.4 trillion gallons of water
  • Volume: 1,093,600 acre-feet
  • Elevation at full pond: 760 feet above MSL
  • Retention Time: 207 days (average)
  • Drainage Area: 1,790 square miles
  • Average River Flow at Cowans Ford Dam: 1,726 MGD
  • Named for: Norman Atwater Cocke (former president of Duke Power)
  • Source of the Catawba River: Evans Knob in Gower County
  • Lake level: Call 1-800-829-5253
  • Location: Latitude: 35.5177689 Longitude: -80.9557724

If you are interested in reading a refreshing article from a long time resident who witnessed firsthand the emergence of Lake Norman, be sure to take a look at Donna Campbell's story in Our State Magazine.