Fontana Lake: Visitor Information & Things to Do

Fontana Lake is a freshwater wonder. As the largest lake in Western North Carolina, the lake offers 240 miles of pristine shoreline. In fact, 90% of the Fontana Lake shoreline borders the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the protected Nantahala National Forest. The unspoiled beauty of Fontana Lake makes it a perfect destination for all kinds of outdoor enthusiasts.

Fontana Lake

Where is Fontana Lake?

Fontana Lake is located on the southern border of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The eastern end of the lake reaches Bryson City, NC. There are two popular, beautiful routes from Pigeon Forge to the lake. One route takes you over Newfound Gap (US 441) into Cherokee, NC. The other uses the Foothills Parkway from Townsend.

US 441 Foothills Parkway

Things to Do at Fontana Lake

There is so much to do and explore at Fontana Lake! The expansive manmade lake covers more than 10,000 acres and is 31 miles long, which means there are many opportunities for outdoor enjoyment. You can tour the dam, rent a boat from a marina, swim, fish, and even enjoy a cruise on the water. You can even segment hike the Appalachian Trail from here.

Appalachian Trail
Fontana Dam

Explore Fontana Dam

The 480 foot high Fontana Dam is the tallest dam in the eastern United States. The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) began construction on Fontana Dam in 1942 and completed the project in just 36 months. Today, 80 years later, it is still the tallest dam east of the Rocky Mountains at 480 feet. Fontana Dam provides electricity and flood control to the surrounding region. Tour the dam and check out the visitor venter off NC Highway 28.

Camping at Fontana Lake

From backcountry camping to RV resorts, there are many ways to cozy up with nature around the lake. You'll find primitive tent camping sites only accessible by boat in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park for adventure lovers. Looking for creature comforts? Luxury campgrounds offer all kinds of amenities to make the outdoors even more fun.

Backcountry Camping
Fontana Lake

Fontana Lake Cabin Rentals

Cabin rentals on the lake range from treehouses overlooking the shoreline to family-friendly, multi-bedroom homes with room for everyone. Want to really enjoy the lake's verdant waters? Consider a floating cabin rental on Fontana Lake! Houseboat rentals are popular here and offer a unique way to experience lake life.

Cabin Rentals
Woman kayaking on Fontana Lake

Watersports & Boat Rentals

There are several full-service and public-access marinas on Fontana Lake. Boat rentals make it easy to enjoy lake life on the blue-green water. You'll find pontoon boats, ski boats, wake boats, and jet skis for rent at Fontana Lake. Prefer to paddle? Kayak and stand up paddle board rentals at the lake also let you enjoy the water's splendor.

Fontana Lake

Fontana Lake Fishing

Casting off into the emerald waters of this North Carolina lake appeals to all anglers. You can catch smallmouth and largemouth bass here all year long and catch fish from spring into fall. In fact, it is not uncommon to reel in 50 pound plus catfish from the lake's cool, deep waters. Chartered and guided fishing at Fontana Lake can help ensure a great catch.

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