Beatty's Ford Boat Launch

10+ Great Things to Do in Denver NC

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We live in the Lake Norman area and have watched Denver grow over the years. There are more and more businesses opening up and more things to do. Lake Norman has always been a big attraction, but there are many more things to discover, which I’ll share below.

Denver is a charming small town located on the western shores of Lake Norman in Lincoln County, NC. It’s a rapidly growing community with close proximity to the larger cities of Charlotte, Huntersville, and Mooresville. The town has a rich history that dates back to the Revolutionary War and is home to many historic landmarks.

The population is under 5,000 people, and situated on the banks of Lake Norman, the largest man-made lake in NC. You’ll find plenty of outdoor recreation opportunities such as boating, fishing, and hiking here. 

Things to do in Denver NC

Denver offers a variety of activities for visitors and residents alike. Outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy hiking, biking, and fishing at local parks and Lake Norman. Let’s dive into our list of things to do in the Denver NC, area.

1. Beatty’s Ford Park

Address: 8335 Shipley Ln, Denver, NC 28037

Beatty’s Ford Park is a beautiful and serene park located on the western shore of Lake Norman in Denver. This park is perfect for families, nature lovers, and anyone looking for a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Beatty's Ford Park

The park features a variety of activities for visitors to enjoy, including a walking trail, a playground, a volleyball court, horseshoe pits, a splash pad area, and a picnic shelter.

The park’s playground is a great spot for children to play and burn off some energy. It features swings, slides, and climbing equipment and is sure to keep kids entertained for hours.

Beatty's Ford Park Playground

The park’s picnic shelter is available for rent for events such as birthday parties, family reunions, or weddings. It has beautiful views of the lake and is a great spot to host a gathering.

Beatty's Ford Boat Launch

2. Rock Springs Nature Preserve

Address: 6684 Pine Ridge Dr, Denver, NC 28037

Rock Springs Nature Preserve is a 108-acre nature preserve located in Denver. The preserve offers visitors the chance to explore a variety of ecosystems, including meadows, forests, and wetlands. It’s a perfect spot for nature lovers and anyone looking for a peaceful escape.

Rock Springs Nature Preserve Sign

The preserve has two looped trails, a 0.5-mile section of which is part of the Carolina Thread Trail. This beautiful trail and park are located on protected land, which is a result of a partnership between Catawba Lands Conservancy and Lincoln County.

In the future, this section of the trail will link up with the Forney Creek Trail, which runs two miles south and crosses Sally’s YMCA.  The park offers a picnic shelter, an amphitheater, and an outdoor classroom.

Along the way, hikers can see a variety of plant and animal species, including wildflowers, butterflies, and birds.

Rock Springs Nature Preserve Path

3. Hike Forney Creek Trail 

Trailhead Address: 1601 Forney Creek Pkwy, Denver, NC 28037

Forney Creek Trail is a natural surface trail that stretches 1.2 miles along Forney Creek. Access to the trail can be found across the road from Sally’s YMCA. The area is heavily wooded, providing an escape into nature, and the 85-acre preserve is protected by the Catawba Lands Conservancy.

Forney Creek Sign

The trail segment is referred to as single-track, as it is a fairly narrow trail. One unique feature of this trail is the 66-foot-long suspension bridge that crosses Forney Creek. 

Managed by Sally’s YMCA, this Thread Trail segment is part of a larger network of trails on the property. At the north end, it connects to an additional 1.3 miles of Thread Trail within the Catawba Springs Preserve.

Forney Creek Trail

Many species of oaks can be found in the preserve, providing shade along the trail and serving as a shelter for the wildlife. Visitors to the trail may be fortunate enough to spot an eastern box turtle or other small critters in the leaf litter.

4. Golfing

Golf enthusiasts looking for challenging and picturesque rounds of golf will find plenty of options in and around Denver.

⛳ Verdict Ridge Golf & Country Club | 7332 Kidville Rd, Denver, NC 28037
⛳ Cowan’s Ford Golf Club | 761 Club Dr, Stanley, NC 28164
⛳ Westport Golf | 7494 Golf Course Dr. S, Denver, NC 28037

5. Mundy House and History Center of Eastern Lincoln County

Address: 4353 NC-16, Denver, NC 28037

The Mundy House and History Center of Eastern Lincoln County is a significant historic landmark in the area that offers a glimpse into the Mundy family’s legacy and the evolution of Denver during the 19th century.

The Mundy House, a central-hall I-house, is an excellent example of an architectural style that was common in the county during that period. Unlike other houses of its time, it has retained much of its original architectural features and has been carefully restored to its period of significance.

Mundy House

The Mundy family owned the house until the 1990s and the Lincoln County Historical Association (LCHA) took ownership of the property in 2014. Today, the Mundy House is available for community use and serves as the History Center of Eastern Lincoln County.

Apart from the house’s historical significance, it also has an herb garden, lovingly maintained by the East Lincoln Garden Club, and features raised beds constructed as part of Aaron Faile’s and Alexander Faile’s Eagle Scout projects.

Mundy House Garden

The Mundy House and History Center of Eastern Lincoln County serves as an educational resource, offering visitors an opportunity to learn about local history, architecture, and historic preservation. They are open Monday through Friday.

6. Rescue Squad Park

Address: ​​7819 Galway Ln, Denver, NC 28037

Rescue Squad Park is the latest addition to Lincoln County Parks and Recreation, brought to life through a joint effort with the Denver/Lake Norman Rotary Club. This family-friendly park boasts a multi-purpose field, a playground, and a picnic shelter. 

Rescue Squad Park

You can reserve the shelter for private events during non-program hours while the rest of the park remains open to the public. Come enjoy a fun-filled day with your loved ones at Rescue Squad Park!

Rescue Squad Park

7. Lake Norman / Denver Farmers Markets (Two Different Locations)

Address: 3618 NC-16 Business, Denver, NC 28037 (opens at 8 a.m. until Noon)
Address: 6917 Forest Hills Dr, Denver, NC 28037 (opens at 9 a.m. until Noon)

There are two farmers markets, one at Pursuit Church and the other at Denver Baptist Church on Business 16. The locations provide easy access for locals and visitors interested in purchasing fresh, locally-grown produce and other products from vendors. 

The markets are open year-round, every Saturday, making it a perfect weekend activity for anyone looking to support local farmers and businesses while enjoying the outdoors.

Farmer's Market

8. Relax at Arden Salt Room & Sauna

Address: 1223 NC-16 Business, Denver, NC 28037

Arden Salt Room & Sauna is a local family-run business. The owners were first introduced to halo therapy by a friend during a visit to their home state of Wisconsin. Despite their initial unfamiliarity with halo therapy, they decided to try a 45-minute session in the salt room and were immediately impressed by the results. They returned for several more sessions during their trip.

Upon returning to North Carolina, the owners discovered a few other salt rooms, but none were conveniently located near them. This led them to create Arden Salt Room & Sauna, with the goal of providing others with the same enjoyable and relaxing experience they had. The facility features state-of-the-art salt rooms and infrared sauna sessions designed to help clients experience the benefits of halo therapy.

Arden Salt Room & Sauna

9. Be creative at Patch’s Playhouse

Address: 477-B N NC 16 Hwy, Denver, NC 28037

Patch’s Playhouse is a paint-your-own pottery and art studio. Their goal is to offer a welcoming atmosphere where individuals can express themselves and showcase their creativity through painting. They prioritize the support of local schools and the community. 

With no studio fees and no prior appointments needed, the studio is open six days a week, and customers can drop in at any time. You can also schedule birthday parties here as well. 

Patch's Playhouse

10. McGuire Power Plant Viewing Point

Address: 8703 NC-73, Stanley, NC 28164

The McGuire Power Plant Viewing Point offers views of the Cowans Ford Dam, which is located at the base of Lake Norman. This viewing point is particularly popular during times of high lake levels when excess water is being released from the dam, creating a captivating display of water and power. 

Cowans Ford Station Viewing

Drinks and Restaurants in Denver NC

✅ Lake Norman Brewery
Address: 1753 Triangle Cir, Denver, NC 28037

Lake Norman Brewery offers a scenic outdoor setting with a 1,800 sq ft patio where you can enjoy craft beers on eight acres of natural woodland.

Lake Norman Brewing

✅ Crafty Burger N’ Tap
Address: 547 Brentwood Rd, Denver, NC 28037

Crafty Burg’r offers fresh, reasonably priced dishes, including their signature CRAFTY BURG’R, made with ground meat that is freshly ground every day, and freshly baked buns daily. In addition to a wide variety of IPA beers, they also feature an extensive wine list and creative cocktails that change regularly.

Crafty Burg'r

✅ Royal Bliss Brewing Co.
Address: 7532 Waterside Peak Dr, Denver, NC 28037

Craft beer lovers in the Lake Norman area can indulge in locally brewed beer at this family-owned and operated taproom and brewhouse. The taproom’s unique mass-timber design provides a charming atmosphere to savor gluten-removed beers, naturally gluten-free ciders and seltzers, and an extensive selection of wines available by the glass or bottle.

Royal Bliss Brewing

✅ Lobster Dogs Pub
Address: 1219 NC-16 Business, Denver, NC 28037

Lobster Dogs Food Truck started with a simple idea and one trailer, focusing on a limited menu with premium ingredients. Today, they have expanded to include a restaurant while still maintaining their commitment to high-quality ingredients and limited menu options.  Enjoy a lobster roll, stuffed avocados, and cheesesteak in the restaurant.  

Lobster Dogs

✅ The Foundry Restaurant
Address: 310 Exploration Blvd, Denver, NC 28037

The Foundry is located in a 55+ community of Trilogy® Lake Norman. Their focus is on crafting exceptional food and drinks every day. The culinary team is dedicated to taking raw ingredients and turning them into beautifully finished, bespoke plates that are perfect for anything from a casual lunch to an anniversary dinner.

The restaurant features a range of local and regional house-crafted selections, with an emphasis on healthy, freshly made, and flavorful fare with a Southern twist. 

The experience at The Foundry revolves around three key food and beverage principles: it is socially driven, locally inspired, and stylishly crafted. Whether you’re looking for a fun night out with friends or a romantic dinner for two, The Foundry has something to offer everyone and is open to the public..

The Foundry

✅ Cookies N Creme Ice Cream & More
Address: 117 N Pilot Knob Rd, Denver, NC 28037

Cookies N Creme is a cherished local establishment for ice cream and desserts. Boasting an impressive array of over 60 Hershey’s Premium Ice Cream flavors, it is the go-to destination for sweet treats in the Lake Norman vicinity. From classic favorites to unique flavors, there is something to satisfy every taste bud.

Cookies N Creme

✅ Chillfire Bar & Grill
Address: 121-A Cross Center Rd, Denver, NC 28037

Chillfire offers an inviting atmosphere and an innovative menu that will captivate any guest. The restaurant is locally owned and has become an integral part of the neighborhood.

Whenever possible, Chillfire sources local fare from area purveyors to provide incredibly fresh items while also supporting economic growth in North Carolina. The warm ambiance and exceptional service are sure to leave a lasting impression on all who visit Chillfire.

Chillfire Bar & Grill

✅ Cabbella’s Coffee Shop
Address: 1250 State Rd 16, Denver, NC 28037

The team behind the coffee shop is a group of enthusiastic coffee lovers who believe that a delicious cup of coffee can make anyone’s day brighter. Since 2010, their goal has been to create a welcoming atmosphere where customers can unwind, connect with others, and savor a great cup of coffee made from the finest beans sourced from around the world.

Cabbella's Coffee Shop

✅ Tex-A-Lina Barbecue Co.
Address: 6109 NC-16 Business, Denver, NC 28037

The establishment offers both Texas BBQ and Carolina BBQ, providing guests with the best of both worlds. They also have a food truck you can enjoy 

Texalina Barbecue

✅ Miami Fusion Cafe
Address: 278 NC-16 Business N, Denver, NC 28037

From classic Cuban sandwiches to deliciously seasoned meats, Miami Fusion Cafe serves up an array of dishes that are sure to satisfy any appetite. Whether you’re in the mood for a quick lunch or a leisurely dinner, this cafe is the perfect spot to enjoy an authentic taste of Cuban cuisine.

Miami Fusion Cafe

✅ Pelican’s SnoBalls
Address: 1410 State Rd 16, Denver, NC 28037

Pelican’s SnoBalls has been delighting customers with over 100 fantastic flavors for more than two decades. The concept was born out of a New Orleans tradition of combining smooth, fluffy snow with bold and delicious flavors. 

Pelican's SnoBalls

✅ Mix Grill Kabab & Wings
Address: 3650 NC-16, Denver, NC 28037

Mix Grill boasts a diverse menu featuring an array of delicious cuisines. They offer over 20 flavors of fried chicken wings, such as Buffalo, honey BBQ, and teriyaki, as well as ten types of sub sandwiches, including the famous Philly cheesesteak.

This mouth-watering sandwich is loaded with onions, mushrooms, and peppers and layered with melted provolone cheese. With such a diverse and delicious menu, Mix Grill has something to satisfy everyone’s cravings.

Kabab & Wings

✅ My Brothers Bagel
Address: 751 N, NC-16 Business Hwy, Denver, NC 28037

The establishment takes pride in offering a vast range of handcrafted bagels, sandwiches, salads, and other delicacies. One distinguishing feature of their bagels is that they are all 100% hand-rolled, with no machines involved.

The “old school” approach to bagel-making results in a delicious simplicity that cannot be replicated with modern methods, making them a favorite among patrons. 

My Brothers Bagel

✅ Joeys Fine Food & Pizza
Address: 7913 Natalie Commons Dr, Denver, NC 28037

Joey’s Fine Food & Pizza is a restaurant known for its lively and welcoming atmosphere, offering a family-friendly environment and upscale food options that don’t come with an air of pretension. 

Joey's Fine Food and Pizza

✅ Westlake Restaurant
Address: 1235 NC-16 Business, Denver, NC 28037

Westlake offers a cozy establishment that prides itself on providing a nice family atmosphere and terrific breakfast options. The restaurant’s warm and inviting ambiance creates the perfect setting for families to enjoy a delicious meal together.

Westlake Family Restaurant

✅ Casa Garcia
Address: 7260 NC-73 STE 101, Denver, NC 28037

Casa Garcia is a vibrant and authentic Mexican restaurant. The restaurant is perfect for a casual meal with friends or a fun family night out. You’ll find classic Mexican dishes made from fresh and high-quality ingredients. There are plenty of options to choose from, including tacos, burritos, fajitas, and enchiladas. The restaurant also offers vegetarian and gluten-free options, ensuring that everyone can find something to enjoy.

Casa Garcia Mexican

✅ Everest Grill
Address: 122 S NC-16 Business, Denver, NC 28037

The Greek fast-food establishment has been serving satisfied customers for around a decade. Their extensive menu features a wide range of dishes suitable for Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, and Dessert, ensuring that there’s something for everyone. 

Things to do near Denver NC

There are plenty of fun and exciting things to do near Denver; visitors are sure to find something to suit their interests.  Here are some more great things to do nearby.

✅ Mountain Creek Park
Address: 6554 Little Mountain Rd, Sherrills Ford, NC 28673

Located in Sherrills Ford on the northwest corner of Lake Norman, Mountain Creek Park spans 606 acres and boasts an impressive 19.52-mile multi-use trail network specifically designed for mountain biking enthusiasts. 

In addition to the extensive trail system, the park offers a range of other amenities, such as an adventure playground, a mountain bike skills course with tool stations, pickleball courts, a dog park, a fishing pier, and a canoe/kayak launch. 

The park also features an outdoor classroom, an observation platform, and several picnic shelters. For those with limited mobility, a paved ADA-accessible trail meanders through a peaceful cove. 

Mountain biking takes center stage at Mountain Creek Park, with dedicated bike-only trails and endless route options, making it a top destination for mountain biking in the region.

✅ Latta Nature Preserve
Address: 6345 Sample Rd, Huntersville, NC 28078

Welcome to Latta Nature Preserve, a beautiful and peaceful nature preserve located in nearby Huntersville, NC. Here, you’ll find over 1,460 acres of unspoiled nature, featuring miles of hiking trails, a picturesque lake, and stunning views of the surrounding forests.

As you explore the preserve, keep an eye out for the local wildlife, including deer, foxes, and countless bird species. In addition to hiking, you can also enjoy fishing, kayaking, and paddleboarding on the Mountain Island Lake or Gar Creek.

Latta Nature Preserve Tail - Things to Do in Huntersville NC

✅ Historic Rural Hill
Address: 4431 Neck Rd, Huntersville, NC 28078

Rural Hill is a place that offers a lot of different experiences. It’s a historic site, nature preserve, and farm that provides a great escape from the busyness of everyday life. If you’re a student, you can come here for some really cool and interesting educational programs. You can learn about history, science, creative thinking, reading, and even math.

There are also lots of trails for hiking and exploring nature. But that’s not all! Rural Hill also hosts big events where you can have fun with thousands of other people. And if you want to feel like you’re stepping back in time, you can check out the cabins where they cook food over an open fire, hear the sounds of blacksmiths and woodworkers, and even hear the blast of a musket.

✅ Murray’s Mill Historic Site
Address: 1489 Murrays Mill Rd, Catawba, NC 28609

The historic Murray’s Mill, located by the banks of Balls Creek, has remained unchanged for over a century, featuring a 28-foot waterwheel and preserved structures from different time periods.

The site includes the 1913 mill, the 1890s Murray & Minges General Store, the 1880s Wheathouse, and the 1913 John Murray House, all of which have been well-maintained and are open for visitors. 

Murray's Mill Historic Site

✅ Lake Norman State Park
Address: 759 State Park Rd, Troutman, NC 28166

Lake Norman State Park offers a range of outdoor activities for visitors to enjoy. As the state’s largest man-made lake, it’s a perfect spot for swimming, boating, fishing, and camping. The park also boasts 30.5 miles of nature trails, providing hikers and mountain bikers with breathtaking views of Lake Norman. 

Boat rentals have been expanded to include stand-up paddleboards and kayaks, giving visitors even more options to explore the lake. Experience the beauty and adventure that Lake Norman State Park has to offer.

Lake Norman State Park entrance

✅ Dallas Lavender Lane Farm
Address: 937 Old Willis School Rd, Dallas, NC 28034

Dallas Lavender Lane is a family-owned lavender farm and petting zoo located in Dallas, NC. The farm is open to the public in the spring when the lavender fields are in full bloom, offering pick-your-own bundles and u-cut packages. The farm also hosts private events and parties throughout the year.

For kids, the petting zoo is a must-visit attraction, featuring friendly pygmy and Boer goats, a miniature donkey, and two pot-belly pigs. The petting zoo is a fun and interactive way to enjoy time with animals. Visitors can purchase feed from the gift shop to feed the animals.

The farm also boasts a full-sized playground and picnic tables scattered throughout the property. Visitors can bring a picnic lunch and enjoy the beautiful scenery of the farm while dining.

✅ Skydive Central North Carolina
Address: 4172 Joe Crouse Rd, Maiden, NC 28650

Skydive Central North Carolina is a company that offers a thrilling adventure to those seeking an extreme experience. Many people add skydiving to their bucket lists, and Tandem Skydiving with Skydive Central North Carolina helps them achieve their goals, whether it’s overcoming a fear or fulfilling a lifelong dream. 

The company’s experienced coaches are there to guide and coach clients to reach their goals while ensuring their safety. The team never pressures anyone to do something outside of their comfort zone. 

✅ Lake Norman Paintball & Airsoft
Address: 6237 Old Plank Rd, Iron Station, NC 28080

Lake Norman Paintball & Airsoft is a premier paintball and airsoft facility that caters to both beginners and professionals. With an emphasis on safety, the facility ensures that players have an enjoyable and thrilling experience. The facility offers a variety of options, including high-impact paintball, low-impact paintball, and airsoft. 

Here, you will find multiple fields for play, rental equipment, and a small retail shop. Lake Norman Paintball & Airsoft can accommodate a range of events, from large corporate outings to birthday parties or just individuals looking to play.

​​Where To Stay in Denver NC

📍Cozy Lake House | Experience the ultimate in relaxation at “The Sister House,” a beautiful lakefront property that offers a serene environment. The house features a large back porch perfect for watching the sunset, an acre yard for outdoor activities, and a dock ideal for sunbathing during the day. Nestled on a private drive in a great location, the neighborhood is peaceful and perfect for taking leisurely strolls or going for a run. Restaurants, bars, grocery stores, and convenience stores are all less than 10 minutes away. Additionally, there are several boating rental options available on the property upon request. Come and enjoy a fantastic time at this cozy home.

Denver NC: FAQs

📌 What is close to Denver, NC?
The city of Charlotte is less than 30 minutes southeast of Denver.  Denver also borders North Carolina’s largest manmade lake, Lake Norman, which spans over 520 miles of shoreline.  

📌 Is Denver, NC, a rural area?
Denver, NC, is considered a semi-rural area. While it has a more rural feel than nearby cities like Charlotte, it is still relatively close to urban areas and has seen some growth and development in recent years.

📌 Where is Denver, North Carolina, in relation to Charlotte?
Denver is located about 20 miles northwest of Charlotte.

📌 What state road passes through Denver, NC?
NC State Highways 16, 150, and 73 pass through Denver.

📌 How far is Denver, NC, from the ocean?
Denver is located inland and is approximately 200 miles west of the Atlantic Ocean. The distance to the closest beach town of Wrightsville Beach is about 230 miles to the southeast.

📌 How far is Denver from Outer Banks?
Denver is approximately 400 miles (644 km) from the Outer Banks of North Carolina. The driving distance may vary depending on the exact location on the Outer Banks.

Final Thoughts

Denver, NC, may be small, but it offers a variety of activities for locals and visitors alike. From hiking and boating to shopping and dining, there’s something for everyone in this community. 

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