Summer is on the way. Here are 8 lakes where you can rent boats.

Pete Crawford and Katherine Smart sail their boat with a TillerClutch at Jordan Lake in Chatham County, on Friday, July 26, 2013.
Pete Crawford and Katherine Smart sail their boat with a TillerClutch at Jordan Lake in Chatham County, on Friday, July 26, 2013.

As the weather gets warmer, the Triangle has great some great lakes to go boating. Whether you like kayaking, paddle boarding or just sitting by the lake, here are some of watering holes to check out.

Lake Johnson

4601 Avent Ferry Road, Raleigh. 919-233-2121 or

Lake Johnson has 150 acres of water surrounded by 300 acres of forest, said Jack Duffus, the assistant park manager for Lake Johnson. There are also 5 miles of hiking trails around the lake. "It's a great place to get out and experience nature," Duffus said.

What you can rent: Kayaks, canoes, stand-up paddle boards, pedal boats and jon boats.

When you can rent: Rental season runs from May 1 to Sept. 30. Boat rental hours are 9 a.m. - 6 p.m.

Cost: Kayaks are $5 per hour, canoes are $5 per hour, stand-up paddle boards are $10 per hour, pedal boats are $6 per half-hour, and jon boats are $4 per hour.

Private launch: You can privately launch a boat at Lake Johnson for $4 if you're a Raleigh resident and $6 if you're a non-resident. No gas-powered boats.

Good to know: Pets are not allowed on boats. Everyone is required to wear their personal flotation devices at all times.

Lake Johnson
Sharon Price of Raleigh paddles her paddle board at Lake Johnson in Raleigh on Sept. 6, 2016. Lake Johnson, located on Avent Ferry Road, rents out Jon boats, pedal boats, kayaks, canoes, Sunfish sailboats and stand up paddle boards. Chris Seward

Lake Wheeler

6404 Lake Wheeler Road, Raleigh. 919-662-5704 or

Lake Wheeler is 800 acres with 650 acres of lake.

What you can rent: non-motorized boats, including single and double kayaks, canoes, jon boats and pedal boats.

When you can rent: All boats will be available May 1 and run until the end of September. Jon boats and pedal boats will be available April 20.

Cost: Pedal boats are $6 per half hour. Canoes and kayaks are $5 per hour. Jon boats are $4 per hour.

Private launch: Lake Wheeler allows privately launched motorized boats at a launch fee of $4 for Raleigh residents and $6 for non-residents.

After finishing two hours of rowing the boaters carry the skull back to the storage area at Raleigh's Lake Wheeler Wednesday, June 24, 2015. Chuck Liddy

Pullen Park

520 Ashe Ave., Raleigh. 919-996-6468 or

Pullen Park, off Western Boulevard, is near Dix Park and NC State and bustles with activity. "It's amazing how serene it is being sandwiched between downtown and NC State," said Matthew Wright, the operations manager at Pullen Park. During the summer, Pullen Park gets as many as 10,000 visitors a day, Wright said, thanks to the carousel and the train that circles the park. Lake Howell is another popular attraction.

What you can rent: Pedal boats, kayaks and canoes.

When you can rent: Right now you can rent boats only on the weekends. But in the summer, rentals will be available during the week.

Cost: Boats are $6 per half hour for up to 4 people.

Good to know: No fishing or swimming.

Pullen Park, off Western Boulevard, is near Dix Park and NC State and bustles with activity. You can rent pedal boats, kayaks and canoes. Chuck Liddy

Umstead Park

8801 Glenwood Ave., Raleigh. 919-571-4170 or

Umstead, one of the biggest parks in the region, has miles of trails for hiking, biking and horse riding. There's camping and picnic shelters. And among the three manmade lakes, you can boat on Big Lake.

What you can rent: Canoes and rowboats

When you can rent: Rentals are available on weekends beginning the first weekend in May through September. Boathouse hours are from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. with the last boats being rented out at 3:30 p.m. Boats are not available for rental after 3:30 p.m., and all boats must be returned by 4:30 p.m.

Cost: Boat rentals are $5 per hour (cash or check only).

Good to know: Individuals must be at least 16 years old to rent a boat unless accompanied by an adult. Private boats and gasoline motors are not permitted. Pets aren't allowed.

William B. Umstead State Park, northwest of Raleigh,is centered on three man-made lakes and offers the simple pleasures of nature.

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Jordan Lake

280 State Park Road, Apex. 919-362-0586 or

Jordan Lake is a massive body of water spanning 14,000 acres with nine access areas. Of those, there are seven swim beaches and numerous boat ramps.

What you can rent: The privately owned Crosswinds Boating Center rents kayaks, stand-up paddle boards and pontoon boats. For information, call 919-387-7011 or go to

Cost: Crosswind rates are $10 an hour for paddle board and $10 to $15 for kayaks.

Private launch: Each recreation area has boat-launching ramps, but hours vary, and some are for campers only. Boat ramps and courtesy docks located at Ebenezer Church and Robeson Creek recreation areas are open 24 hours per day. All other boat ramps are open during park hours, and visitors must exit the park before the park's closing time.

Good to know: The most popular area for sailing is Vista Point while windsurfers tend to like Ebenezer Church, according to the park website.

Jordan Lake has all kinds of boats on it. The privately owned Crosswinds Boating Center rents kayaks, stand up paddle boards and pontoon boats. Chuck Liddy

Bond Park

197 Bond Park Drive, Cary. 919-469-4100 or

At 310 acres, Bond Park is one of the biggest parks in Wake County. In the midst of greenways, shelters and a challenge course, you'll find Bond Lake and the boathouse with lessons, fishing and rentals. This month kicked off the Bands, Bites and Boats. One Friday a month from April to October, there will be live music, a food truck and a local brewery pouring beers. Listen to music from the lake with after-hour boat rentals for $8 an hour.

What you can rent: pedal boats, kayaks, canoes, sailboats and row boats

When you can rent: April through August. Hours vary depending on the month.

Cost: Prices range from $8 for a half-hour on a pedal boat to $12 for the sailboat.

Private launch: $4 per visit/boat. No gas powered boats on the lake.

Good to know: You must have sailing experience to rent a sailboat. No dogs allowed on your boat.

Cary’s Bond Park Boat House is open for the season with rentals of kayaks, canoes, rowboats, pedal boats and sailboats. NEWS & OBSERVER FILE PHOTO SHER STONEMAN (SAS)

Lake Benson Boathouse

975 Buffaloe Road, Garner. 919-773-4442 or

The Lake Benson boathouse is down the road from Lake Benson Park.

What you can rent: Jon boats (with or without trolling motor and battery), canoes and kayaks

When you can rent: The boathouse is open weekends mid-March through late October and Fridays March to June and September to October. Hours vary depending on the season. Boats not rented after 5 p.m.

Cost: $5 an hour for canoes and kayaks. Jon boats are $4 to $8 an hour or $20 to $40 for the day.

Good to know: It’s half-price for a full day of boat rentals for adults 55 and older. Cash only accepted. A maximum of three people per boat. No alcohol allowed. No private boats.

From left, Grayson Carey and Joleigh Duty sit in a boat as Sophie Carey boards and boathouse workers help steady the vessel at the Lake Benson dock in 2014. NEWS & OBSERVER FILE PHOTO

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Other parks

Falls Lake State Recreation Area: 13304 Creedmoor Road, Wake Forest. 919-676-1027 or There are boat launching ramps throughout the area as well as several private boat rental companies. Rollingview Marina is on the lake with rentals for kayaks, canoes and paddle boards. Go to or call 919-596-2194

Shelley Lake Park: 1400 W. Millbrook Road, Raleigh. 919-996-2329. There aren't boat rentals, but there is a 2-mile greenway that circles the water.

Yates Mill County Park: 4620 Lake Wheeler Road, Raleigh. 919-856-6675. Fish off the boardwalk. Canoeing lessons offered on select days. Swimming and personal boating prohibited.

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