Harris Lake, North Carolina, USA

Also known as:  Shearon Harris Reservoir

Welcome to the ultimate guide to Harris Lake — things to do, where to stay, fun facts, history, stats and more. Let’s dive in!

Topics we cover in this article:

Looking for Harris Lake cabins or other accommodations? Save time and use this interactive map to find, compare and book at the best rates. Or explore our comprehensive list of favorite travel partners.

All About Harris Lake

Harris Lake, stretching its watery fingers out over 4,100 North Carolina acres, was created by Carolina Power and Light by impoundment of Buckhorn Creek, part of the Cape Fear River Basin. Construction of Buckhorn Creek Dam began in 1978 and was completed in 1981. The lake filled in 1983 to its full pool elevation of 220 feet above sea level. The primary purpose of Harris Lake is to provide cooling water for Progress Energy’s Shearon Harris nuclear power plant, which began commercial operation in 1987.

Located just 22 miles southwest of Raleigh, Harris Lake is a convenient recreational destination for those looking for a quiet haven. Currently, there is no lakefront residential development. Progress Energy leases 680 acres to Wake County’s Harris Lake Park. The park is open seven days a week from 8 a.m. until sunset, and offers visitors a 50-person primitive camp site with a fire ring, playground, fishing pier, fishing pond, and a canoe and kayak launch site. Two boat launches are available at other locations outside of the park.

Fishing is also a popular outdoor activity at Harris Lake. The lake’s crappie, largemouth bass, and speckled trout are said to be larger than average because of the lake’s warm waters, heated by the nearby power plant. Whatever the reasons, fishing on Harris Lake is a treat for anglers of all ages, providing year-round catches that will make you proud.

Hiking and mountain bike trails also pepper the area and have a good reputation among area hikers and cyclists. The mountain bike trails range from beginner to advanced, though experienced bikers say that the advanced trails do not offer very difficult obstacles. However, all riders and walkers marvel at how well-kept the trails are, the exquisite natural beauty that surrounds, and the picture-perfect photo opportunities provided.

Duck season brings novice and seasoned hunters to the shores of Harris Lake, as it is known as one of the best places in the state to bag your limit of ducks. Most prevalent are ring-necked ducks, scaup, and mallards.

History buffs will enjoy a nice day trip from Harris Lake to Historic Oak View County Park, another in the Wake County park system. A 19th century homestead, the old, imposing white house sits among trees and well-groomed grounds. The park’s mission is to educate the public about North Carolina’s agricultural heritage and rural history. Complimenting more than 165 years of farming history with several fun activities, the park is a crowd-pleaser for all ages.

For those who truly want to get back to nature, Harris Lake and the surrounding area will offer you all the natural greens and blues your heart desires.

Things to Do at Harris Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Camping
  • Hiking
  • Hunting
  • Playground

Fish Species Found at Harris Lake

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Crappie
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Trout

Find Places to Stay at Harris Lake

If you’re considering a Harris Lake lake house rental or hotel, we’ve made it super easy to find the best rates and compare vacation accommodations at a glance. Save time using this interactive map below.

Recommended Sites to Book a Harris Lake Vacation

If you want to take a deeper dive to find waterfront lake cabins, cottages, condos, hotels or resorts, check out our favorite Harris Lake lodging partners.

  • VRBO – Use VRBO to find the perfect lake rental home, condo, cabin, cottage or other vacation property.
  • Booking.com – One of the world’s leading digital travel companies, Booking.com connects travelers to everything from cozy B&Bs to luxury resorts.
  • Expedia – Expedia is a popular online travel agency with more than 140,000 lodging properties worldwide.
  • Hotels.com – With more than 325,000 hotels in 19,000-plus locations, Hotels.com is an industry leader in online accommodations.
  • TripAdvisor – Read traveler reviews and compare prices on hotels, vacation rentals and more at TripAdvisor.
  • Trivago – Trivago helps travelers compare deals for hotels and other accommodations from a variety of booking sites.
  • KAYAK – KAYAK scours hundreds of other travel websites at once to find the best deals on hotels and other travel-related services.
  • RVshare –RVshare connects travelers interested in renting a motorhome with owners who have RVs to rent.
  • CampSpot – Campspot offers premier RV resorts, family campgrounds, cabins and glamping options across North America.

Note: These are affiliate links so we may earn a small commission if you book through them. While there is no extra cost to you, it helps provide resources to keep our site running (thank you)! You can read our full disclosure policy here.

Harris Lake Statistics & Helpful Links


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