Best Lakes to Live on in North Carolina

Find the type of lakeside living you’ve been looking for near low-maintenance retirement communities in the Raleigh area. While Charlotte lakes are among some of the most popular, there are plenty of other North Carolina lakes worth appreciating. Here are just a few that you might enjoy.

MacGregor Downs Lake

A reservoir in North Carolina with an elevation of 351 feet, MacGregor Downs Lake is situated northeast of MacGregor Park. If you’re a fan of fishing, you’ll find a variety of options with the most popular catches in the area including Largemouth bass, Bluegill, and Channel catfish. Nearby is also the MacGregor Downs Country Club, which offers a private 18-hole golf course. Designed by Willard Byrd, one of America’s leading golf course architects, it’s annually rated as one of the best golf courses in the Southeastern United States and has also been host to world-famous players that include Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, and Lee Trevino.

Jones Lake State Park

A long-standing community destination, Jones Lake State Park is a North Carolina lake that is great place for picnics with plenty of shade provided by the area's tall pine trees. In the mood for a swim? Jones Lakes offer warm water that’s shallow enough to be safe. You can also gain access to a few more mysterious lakes in the area via the park trails, although access to the remote Salters Lake is by permit only.


If you’re in the mood for an adventure, canoes, kayaks and motorized boats of 10 horsepower or less are permitted on the lake. Canoes and paddle boats are also available for rent during the summer months.


Looking for retirement communities in the Raleigh area? Both of the lakes above are just a short drive away from Del Webb’s newest 55 and over community in Raleigh, Carolina Overlook which is opening soon and will feature ranch home designs with resort-style amenities perfect for active adults. Living at Carolina Overlook, you’ll appreciate low-maintenance and flexible floor plans designed to match your lifestyle, conveniently near medical facilities, and a variety of dining and entertainment options.


Wake Forest Reservoir

Add a hike to your lake trip at Wake Forest Reservoir. Offering a loop that runs 6.7 miles long, this moderately trafficked trail runs past the lake and offers year-round accessibility. Good for all skill levels, dogs are also permitted but must be kept on a leash. Wake Forest Reservoir was originally developed in the 1960’s as a drinking water source for the town. You’ll also find paddle and electric powered boats, plus a small concrete boat ramp adjacent to the parking area.


Willowhaven Lake Number Two

Another great fishing spot near retirement communities in the Raleigh area, you’ll find a few different types of fish at Willowhaven Lake Number Two, though the most common catches are Largemouth bass, Bluegill, and Black crappie. You’re not allowed to use gas-powered motor boats on the lake, but electric and paddle boats are permitted.


As far as retirement communities in the area are concerned, Del Webb at Traditions is only a 4-minute drive from Wake Forest and less than ten minutes from Willowhaven Lake. Located in the greater Raleigh area, this master planned community for those over 55 is just minutes from downtown Wake Forest and offers ranch home designs with onsite amenities that include a lifestyle director and fitness center.


When people think of the best lakes to live on in North Carolina, many have Charlotte lakes in mind. But there are plenty of other lakes in the area that are worth consideration. Consider making a new home on one of Raleigh’s lakes and enjoy the life you always envisioned with premier retirement communities nearby.



Contributed to The 55+ Society

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Published 11.18.21  

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