One of the best vantage points in the NC Triad may be from the prow of a boat. With numerous lakes, rivers, and fishing areas to choose from—offering every imaginable opportunity for recreation—there are countless chances for pirates in paddlecraft and visitors exhilarated by the exhaust from an outboard engine to experience the NC Triad.
Unlimited Opportunities in Uwharrie
The Uwharrie National Forest offers boating of all kinds. The upper portions of the rivers are reserved largely for paddlers, while the lower reaches that comprise such features as Badin Lake allow swimmers, anglers, paddlers, and recreational boaters an opportunity to roam freely.
Boat launches are plentiful, and those looking to rent a pontoon or a jet ski for the weekend have endless choices of outfitters available, including Lilly's Bridge Marina on Lake Tillery in Mount Gilead, located close to Uwharrie and the NC Triad’s many publicly accessible waterways.
Upend Your Expectations in the Upper Haw River
Dams and conservation have changed the rivers of the NC Triad, and none more so than the Upper Haw River. What used to be a quiet tributary of the Cape Fear River has become a landscape worth exploring by canoe or kayak when the river runs reasonably high. More than 100 miles long, the river can be taken in sections or all at once. Along the way, bask in the views of flower fields and high banks created by a stream that once ran low through the NC Triad.
Boating Without Leaving the City Limits
At 226-acres large, Lake Higgins is one of Greensboro’s hidden boating gems with a launch ramps allowing private boats access to the lake. Activities like paddleboarding, kayaking, and canoeing are also allowed on the lake. Lake Brandt, also located in Greensboro and almost four times the size of Lake Higgins, offers many of the same amenities with infinitely more opportunities to take advantage of this reservoir. Well-stocked with crapped, largemouth bass, and catfish, Lake Brandt is an excellent destination for anglers. And with rowboats, kayaks, and canoes available to rent, the lake is also a popular site for practicing paddlecraft in the NC Triad.
In Winston-Salem, the go-to spot for boating is Salem Lake, a more than 350-acre lake within city limits that allows boats up to 60-horsepower but forbids pleasure boaters and jet skiers. This makes it a welcome spot for sailboats, kayaks, paddleboards, and canoes. It also has some of the best fishing in the region; the lake is stocked with smallmouth bass that can be caught from a boat or the pier.