Apart from the coast, inland buyers interested in waterfront property are probably thinking about a nice home with views of a lake or river, maybe a dock, but certainly direct access to the water.
While we have multiple recreational lakes with homes surrounding the lakes, there are no "lake-front" properties for sale with docks at our major lakes. The homes that are adjacent to the lakes have a buffer, so while you may get some views you can't walk right down to your boat.
Kerr Lake further to the north does have the ability to have docks, but it's a 45 minute drive from Durham so somewhat of a longer commute.
Two of our most popular lakes, Jordan Lake and Falls Lake, are undeveloped and regulated by the Army Corps of Engineers. Both are designated as state recreation areas, with multiple access areas, campsites, swimming beaches, and boating ramps. There are hiking and biking trails around the lakes.
So, the communities that include Jordan Lake or Falls Lake in their names simply mean they’re very near. Some have spectacular lake views (but no boat docks) and those homes are often in the high-end luxury home range with prices of $2 million and up.
Raleigh has two good-sized lakes in Lake Wheeler and Lake Johnson. Lake Wheeler has some beautiful homes - $1 million+ - that have great views of the lake, but no direct access to water. Swimming is not allowed in Lake Wheeler although personal boats can be launched with day passes. Lake Johnson Park Lake Johnson Park has a dual designation of metro park and nature preserve. Fishing is allowed but there is no swimming.
Lake Benson, located just south of Raleigh, is also a large lake that has great trails, and allows fishing, but neither swimming or personal watercraft are allowed.
Bottom line? You may be able to buy a home that has a water view of a lake, but no direct access. And the houses with those views are going to be much more expensive because the houses are going to be larger and grander.
One good option is to buy homes in neighborhoods that include private lakes - here are a few notable ones.
The Preston community is a lush golf course community located between Morrisville and Cary. It’s centered around Preston Village, a scenic open park featuring an expansive private lake and playground area. With close access to shopping, dining, and parks, Preston has a wide range of living opportunities - affordable townhomes, spacious single-family homes, high-end luxury homes. Prices start around $400k with some topping out over $1 million.
Lochmere is another Cary neighborhood centered around beautiful lakes and wooded trails. It features single-family homes ranging from $350k to $1.2 million, with sq. feet from 2,303 to 5,675. The houses range in age from 1985 to 2021. A pool, tennis courts, and planned community events and celebrations make Lochmere a great community.
Durham’s Grove Park is a golf community that has two neighborhoods, one on the lake side and one on the golf side. The two sides are split by Route 98 and the southern lakeside neighborhood surrounds a lake with a clubhouse and pool nestled right on the lake. Catch-and-release fishing is allowed in the lake.
Some of the lakefront homes have multi-level decking that provide great water views. Homes in the neighborhood start around $250k and homes on the lake can be priced under $400k when available.
The Parkwood subdivision is a quiet southwest Durham neighborhood located minutes from RTP. Home to nearly 3,000 people, Parklane features 100 acres of shared parkland, playgrounds, ball field, and swim club, in addition to its lake. Single-family homes in this neighborhood can be found under $300k and homes with great views, when available, can be under $400k.
The Triangle is not known for its rivers, so it’s no surprise that we don’t really have great riverfront properties. The Eno River, which runs from Durham west through Hillsborough, is a good example. Like the popular Raleigh and Durham lakes, the Eno River has a lot of properties near the river or its expansive state park, but very few direct on the water homes. There are direct access, mostly undeveloped, lots that sometimes come up for sale, but those are more on the Hillsborough end than the Durham side.
If having a water view is very important to you, you are better off looking at neighborhoods that include their own private lakes within the community. On the other hand, if you want to take advantage of being near a large lake with all the recreational opportunities they offer, you will be best served by choosing the communities surrounding these lakes, even without a water view or direct access.
The good news is that the entire Triangle area has much to recommend to those who are relocating here, to retire or to explore career opportunities. No matter where in the Triangle you’re looking, you can use our advanced search or map search to find your dream home, or contact us for a consultation.
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