All over the Boone Area, tumbling streams flow into scintillating High Country lakes that are popular as places to camp, canoe, kayak, fish, and swim. The Blue Ridge Parkway and back road scenic drives lead to ample parking spots along the shore where picnics are only one of the options. Easy trails on the water's edge, some handicapped accessible, make it easy to soak up views of sunlight sparkling through multicolored leaves.
These are truly "golden pond" experiences. Bass Lake on the Blue Ridge Parkway, with its handicapped accessible trail, is popular in all four seasons. So is Price Lake, with another beautiful lakeshore hike. That path passes through the Parkway's biggest campground with stunning shoreline camp sites.
Price Lake also offers one of the area's best family boating opportunities. The calm lake is perfect for paddling-and canoes, rowboats, and starting in 2013, kayaks, are available for rent at the lake. Fishing is permitted too, with bait available for sale and fishing tackle for rent.
Trout Lake almost hides in Blowing Rock's Moses Cone Park-but you can find it!
Banner Elk's Wildcat Lake is a scenic jewel and a family-friendly place for summer picnicking, swimming, boating and fishing for brook, rainbow, and brown trout, bluegill and bass. Life guards are on duty-and admission is free. Or for a more village setting, stroll around Mayview Lake in Blowing Rock's Broyhill Park.
Bigger lakes with marinas and more are close by. Watauga Lake's 6,430-acres of spectacular mountain-fringed shoreline stretches for more than 16 miles. Only 45 minutes from Boone, Watauga Lake has a variety of Cherokee National Forest facilities, including boat launches, picnicking, camping, swimming, and fishing for bluegill and bass, walleye, brown and rainbow trout. The Appalachian Trail follows a ridge above the lake in a federally-designated wilderness area.
W. Kerr Scott Reservoir is 45 minutes from Boone near Wilkesboro. The 1,470-acre, US Army Corps of Engineers-operated lake has miles of great mountain biking and hiking trails, camping, and picnicking.