Lake Wheeler Park
A lakefront recreation area centrally located in Raleigh.
Facts & Figures
Address: 6404 Lake Wheeler Road, Raleigh, NC 27603
Size: 800 acres (650 acres of lake, 150 acres of land and buffer)
Opened: Constructed in 1956 with the aid of the Army Corps of Engineers
Hours: Open daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. (closed on Mondays – October through March)
Phone: (919) 662-5704
Management: The City of Raleigh, Department of Parks, Recreation, & Cultural Resources
- Boat Rentals
- Site Rentals and Picnic Shelters
- Sand Volleyball Courts
Lake Wheeler Park, conveniently located on the south central side of Raleigh, is 800 acres (650 acre lake and 150 acre park) that offers a wide variety of amenities for enjoyment. While all types of boating are the primary attraction, the park offers picnic shelters, a playground, and sand volleyball courts, as well. The lake was constructed in 1956 by the Army Corps of Engineers and once served as Raleigh’s second auxiliary water supply lake. The park offers boat rentals including canoes and kayaks, as well as launch ramps for personal boats. Launch fees are charged through daily or annual rates. The lake is also a popular spot for fishing by foot, with the purchase of a fishing permit.
My wife and kids had been to Lake Wheeler without me years ago to play on the playground while I was working. They met up with a friend and her kids for a play date. My wife told me how beautiful the park was, but words can’t describe how beautiful the lake and park truly are until experiencing it first hand.
As a kayaker, I had not been to Lake Wheeler over the past seven years since living here until this past Thursday. With four young children at home with two in remote learning, 8+ hours per day of screen time of emails, Zoom meetings, and projects while remote working for the past seven months, and everyday life, I decided to take a day of vacation for some self care for both my wife and I. I spent the morning kayaking around the perimeter of the lake for a couple hours and gave my wife the afternoon to herself. Just getting out on the lake for a couple hours helped me clear my mind and recharge myself. I felt like a new person going back to remote working on Friday!
I got off to an early start and loaded my kayak on top of my vehicle and left home about 7:30am. Even in rush hour traffic, I was able to get to the park right at 8 a.m. when they opened. After stopping to pay the daily launch fee, unloading my kayak and gear, using the restroom, and suiting up, I hit the water about 8:30 a.m. I headed east toward the dam along the northern shore of the lake. I paddled the entire perimeter of the lake over the course of 1 hour, 36 minutes for a total of 5.8 miles, according to my Garmin VivoActive HR connected to my Strava app. I stopped several times along the way to enjoy the beauty of the wildlife, take photos, and admire the private residences located along the southern shoreline of the lake. I could not believe the homes along the lake and their views! Wildlife I saw out on the lake included a snow goose, Mallard ducks, Great Blue Heron, and an Osprey in flight. It was incredible!