What to do in Kerr Lake State Recreation Area

The Occoneechee Indians once lived in the Kerr Lake area until they were dispersed by Nathaniel Bacon in 1676. The Roanoke River was the main transportation and supply route for Native Americans and early settlers. Constant and regular flooding of the river provided rich and productive farmland that sustained the area for generations. Development of cities and homes along the river, and the increased demand for flood control and electricity, led to the construction of John H. Kerr Reservoir. It was named after the North Carolina congressman instrumental in its development. Construction began in 1946 and was completed in 1953. The Kerr Reservoir Commission was created to govern the parks on the North Carolina side of the lake. The Division of Parks and Recreation eventually took control of the seven recreation areas of the reservoir in 1971. In addition to water resource management, the project provides fish and wildlife conservation, forest management and recreation.

This 50,000 acre man-made lake is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. The area offers sailing, fishing, boating and water-skiing, family camping, group camping and picnicking. No protected swimming area offered.

Flora and fauna thrive in this recreation area. Colorful wildflowers like tickseed sunflowers, butterfly weeds and asters can be found nestled next to a number of oak species as well as loblolly pines. White-tailed deer, rabbit, quail, red fox and raccoons are some of the most common forms of wildlife. Bluebirds, goldfinches and wrens sing in the trees as wood ducks and mallard paddle in the nearby water. Soaring in the sky overhead are red-tailed hawk, osprey and the bald eagle. At night you may hear the great-horned, barred or screech owl.

Kerr Lake has three community buildings, perfect for large gatherings.

Special events held throughout the year include Fourth of July fireworks, Labor Day Boat and Parade of Lights, many bass fishing tournaments and the Governor's Cup Invitational Regatta.

The rangers will guide you on exciting explorations where you'll uncover fascinating surroundings and make great discoveries about the world in which we live. Interpretive programs take place throughout the year. Contact the park office for the schedule.

All parking lots have special spaces available for wheelchair access. Restrooms and shower houses are also accessible.

Eleven miles north of Henderson off US 85 to SR 1319.

North Carolina has a temperate climate with mild winters and long fall and spring months. Summers can be hot and humid, especially in the piedmont and coastal plain region, which don't get relief from coastal breezes or higher elevations. The mountains tend to be substantially cooler and receive some winter snow.

In the Piedmont Region, winter daytime temperatures normally range from the upper 30's to the upper 40s. Summer daytime temperatures range from the high 70's to the low 90's. The state has a fairly wet climate with an average precipitation for this area averaging 44-52 inches (112-132 centimeters).

269 Glasshouse Road
Henderson, NC 27536

Phone: 252-438-7791

Fax: 252-438-7582

Email: kela@vance.net
  • Kerr Lake State Recreation Area Travel Q&A