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monsoon

Charlotte Lake Recreation

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Charlotte is very fortunate to have a downtown that is the envy of many cities with gleaming new skyscrapers and a very progressive attitude towards revival compared to most of the South (and even the USA). We have a new mass transit system under construction, a great economy, low cost of living and in general a great quality of life.

Most of us here know this already through our discussions on the forum but one of the hidden gems that we do not discuss much is our lake system that surrounds the western side of the city. Charlotte is also very fortunate to have not 1, not 2, but 3 very large lakes right on or very near the city limits. Lake Wylie, Lake Norman & Mountain Island Lake were all formed over the last century by dams on the Catawba river and offer a great deal in the way of activities. Here are some photos that I took this past weekend on Lake Wylie.

Like Carowinds, Lake Wylie has the distinction of being shared by both SC & NC as the state line bisects the lake. And it is very close to Charlotte too as a portion of the lake joins the CLT city limits.

There are many access points on Lake Wylie but the easiest way to see it is around the mid point at the Buster Boyd Bridge shown here. This bridge connects SC to NC

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Other side from the Buster Boyd boat access (one of many public landings on the lake) SC on the right, NC on the left.

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Sign on the bridge. Its important to note that as you meander along the lake you change from SC to NC jurisdiction and back. Unfortunately NC & SC fishing licenses are not reciprocal so you better carry both. LOL

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As I mentioned Lake Wylie was formed by daming the Catawba rivers. The South Fork river also flows into this lake. Here are some photos of the 1920s dam.

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Hydroelectric Powerhouse

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If would have been a major downer if this door opened. The river continues on at this point into SC where it soon changes name to the Wateree River and eventually makes way out Charleston Harbor into the Atlantic.

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Charlottes very low power rates come from Duke's very efficient and safe homegrown nuclear reactors. They are world class and utilities from all over the world come to Charlotte to visit these wonders and to find out how we do it so well. Here are a few photos of the Catawba nuclear facility. Note the steam from the cooling towers. (McGuire does not have these)

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Though the water was still on the cold side, in fact too cold for more than my foot, there were plenty of people out enjoying the water.

One of the many beaches. No one would believe the heart of Charlotte and the nations 2nd largest banking center is just a few miles away.

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Pretty boat

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There are pleaty of places to eat and to cook out on the lake, but if you can't be bothered with that, then the answer is the Wienie Boat. This might be the only floating gut wagon in the Carolinas. :lol: (wonder if it is NC or SC BBQ?)

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Speaking of places to eat, Tbonz is a popular restaurant on the lake

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There is a huge variety of housing on the lake. I like this particular place.

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But there are more relaxed places too.

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Living large in the CLT Metro

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There's that boat again. :P

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I hope you enjoyed this very brief tour of the lower part of Lake Wylie. Hopefully more to come in the future. There are a number of interesting things to the North including Stowe Botanical garden, the upcoming Whitewater rafting facility, Hwy 74 bridge and a number of current and proposed parks. The lake also passes by Belmont and Mt. Holly to the North.

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Great tour! It's hard to imagine what these people do for a living that are "living large in CLT" and have those overly huge houses. We're very lucky to have such ameneties in Charlotte (being the lakes that is) but I have always wished we had something like a Great Lake that would give our DT a coastline of sorts.

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Nice tour monsoon, thanks. I really am not that familiar with the lakes in the region, but this helps "bridge" the gap :silly:

Are there currently any bridges that connect the east and west sides of Lake Norman?

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Ahh, good old Lake Wylie.

The access road to the dam was pretty remote when I was a teenager. There are subdivisions all around it now, but when I was a teen it was a pretty popular make out spot. I have no idea why, but the cops pretty much left you alone when you were out there. I'm sure that's changed.

The funny thing about Lake Wylie is how close it is to my house. That dam is about 5 miles from my house in Rock Hill. When you consider how close the lake is to downtown, and Tega Cay, and Fort Mill, you get a good idea of how it winds it's way through NC and SC.

By the way, isn't that Larry Johnson's old house?

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Nice tour monsoon, thanks.  I really am not that familiar with the lakes in the region, but this helps "bridge" the gap  :silly: 

Are there currently any bridges that connect the east and west sides of Lake Norman?

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Thank you for the nice comments. Yes about the Lake Norman crossing. Hwy 150 crosses Lake Norman and connects Mooresville to Denver. There are two decent crossings across the lake on that route so there are some good views. Queens Landing and a number of lakeside restaurants are accessable from there as well. The easiest way to 150 from Charlotte is head north on I-77, take exit 36, and head west.

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There are pleaty of places to eat and to cook out on the lake, but if you can't be bothered with that, then the answer is the Wienie Boat. This might be the only floating gut wagon in the Carolinas.

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Don't forget about the RiverDog, another fine floating establishment! I'll have to be on the lookout for the Weenie Boat this summer and give it a try. Though, T-Bonz is by far the best for Lake Wylie cuisine. I really wish there were more 'boat-up' restaurants on Lake Wylie - how many are on Lake Norman?

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Ahh I did not know about the RiverDog, will have to be on the lookout for it.

On the south end of Lake Norman, I am familiar with the following restaurants on the Lake. Vinnies Raw Bar, the SandBar, Midtown Sundries (They changed their name to Midtown Harborside), Queens Landing, Exit 36 Grill & Billiards, Lake Norman Hotel, and a couple of others that I don't remember the name of. I don't think any of them are as good as TBonz.

Like Lake Wylie, most of the marinas offer some kind of food and lakeside dining. This ranges from formal table cloth dining to wooden picnic tables.

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Nice tour... so which lake is next on the list?

out of the 3 major lakes here... I think mt island is the most undeveloped in terms of thigns to offer other than boating

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Nice tour... so which lake is next on the list?

out of the 3 major lakes here... I think mt island is the most undeveloped in terms of thigns to offer other than boating

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Indeed that is the case. Mountain Island Lake is almost completely undeveloped and contains the huge Cowan's Ford Wildlife Refuge, Latta Plantation on the Meck side and Lincoln County has protected an equivalent amount on its side in the upper part of the lake. There are only two boat landings, no marinas and no restaurants. It is a great natural resource and where Charlotte gets most of its drinking water as the huge water pump for the CMUD system is located there. And there is an island on it called Mountain Island. No nuclear plants on this lake, but the dam has a hydro station and there is a coal power plant on the Hwy 16 side.

It can most easily be seen from Hwy 16 north of the city which crosses the lake about its mid point.

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Of all of the lakes I would like to live on Norman the best. Don't you live on the lake monsoon, or at least around it? My uncle lives on Mt. Island lake and I have had a few good times out on the old pontoon(sp).

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Indeed I do, but don't tell anyone that I like Lake Wylie better as a place to boat. :lol:

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thanks for the photos, monsoon. I have only been out on the lakes a few times since i have been here. They add so much to this area, though.

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Charlottes very low power rates come from Duke's very efficient and safe homegrown nuclear reactors. They are world class and utilities from all over the world come to Charlotte to visit these wonders and to find out how we do it so well. Here are a few photos of the Catawba nuclear facility. Note the steam from the cooling towers. (McGuire does not have these)

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