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Kayaking Destinations in Cornelius, NC

Kayaks on Lake Norman, North Carolina

A quiet suburban town on Lake Norman, Cornelius, North Carolina is a kayaker’s dream. It’s located less than a half-hour from Charlotte and offers top-notch restaurants, retail, and entertainment. But with all the exciting places to kayak, you have a good chance of seeing more wildlife than people.

Where to Kayak near Cornelius

The charming town of Cornelius is full of exciting kayaking destinations. From raging rapids to quiet coves, here’s our top picks for must paddle places near Cornelius. 

Lake Norman

Cornelius, NC

With over 520 miles of shoreline and a surface area of 32,475 acres, Lake Norman is an inland sea. A playground for kayakers, paddleboarders, wakeboarders and sailors, Lake Norman has enough water to keep you happily exploring summer after summer. Enoy the calm waters, beautiful scenery, coves, islands, beaches and more. There are three excellent launch points to choose from right in Cornelius including Jetton Park, Blythe Landing Park and Ramsey Creek Park.

Lake Norman State Park

Troutman, NC

30 minutes north of Cornelius, you’ll find Lake Norman State Park. Once home to the Catawba Nation, these thickly forested hills are now known for some of the best mountain biking, trail running, kayaking, hiking, and camping in the region. The park has miles of shoreline on Lake Norman, a boat launch and swimming beach. You can also paddle the quiet nooks and crannies of Hicks Creek or explore one of the many tributaries that empty into the lake.

Catawba River Blueway – Lake Norman Section

Catawba, NC

The Catawba River Blueway offers a fun, relaxing travel downstream for kayakers, canoers and even tubers. There are four class I rapids along the Blueway that provide a few moments of exhilaration on an otherwise calm float. The Lake Norman Section of the Blueway is a 31-mile stretch that starts at the north terminus of Lake Norman. There are 10 different launch points along the Blueway. If you paddle the whole length, you’ll travel past Lake Norman State Park and the Latta Plantation Preserve.

Mountain Island Lake

Charlotte, NC

Mountain Island Lake is south of Lake Norman and with 61 miles of shoreline is only about 1/10 its size. However, the area is far less developed thanks to a large number of parks and nature preserves that line its borders making for an incredibly peaceful paddle. Here you’ll find fewer boats, quiet coves and lots of wildlife. The best paddling access can be found at Latta Plantation Preserve.

Whitewater Center

Charlotte, NC

Whitewater Center in Charlotte, North Carolina is the world’s premier outdoor center featuring 1,300 acres to run, paddle, ride, climb and more. You can paddle class II-IV rapids on their manmade whitewater river. The largest in the world, it features standing waves, holes and powerful eddy lines. There’s a pool-drop Instructional, Freestyle Channel and a Competition Channel with a steeper, more continuous nature that culminates in Big Drop. You can also flat-water kayak and stand-up paddle board on the Catawba River and Long Creek. Here you can spot local wildlife and paddle around islands to create your own adventure.

North Carolina Kayak Racks & Storage Options

For the best kayak storage, consider Log Kayak Rack and our 100% cedar log kayak storage racks. Beautiful and practical, our log kayak racks safely store and display kayaks, canoes and SUPs, neatly organizing shorelines, backyards, parks and rental facilities. Shop our kayak racks online now or contact us for a custom kayak storage solution to meet your Cornelius, NC kayak storage needs.