Discover The 4 Cleanest Lakes in North Carolina

Written by Niccoy Walker
Updated: July 26, 2023
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North Carolina is home to 59 lakes, ranging from the coastal plains to the Appalachian Mountains. North Carolina lakes are the perfect destination for beautiful scenery and endless recreational fun. You can easily have a blast swimming, boating, fishing, jet skiing, paddle boarding, and relaxing on the shore. What’s better than enjoying summer activities on a crystal-clear lake? Check out these picks for the top four cleanest lakes in North Carolina and how you can enjoy them.  

Lake Auman is renowned for its cleanliness and receives its status from its spring-fed properties.

1. Lake Auman

sunset over a north carolina lake

Located in Seven Lakes, Lake Auman is one of the cleanest lakes in North Carolina.

©Jeremy Beeler/

Lake Auman is the cleanest and clearest lake in North Carolina. It is nestled in the Seven Lakes community in Moore County, a south-central area of the state. The lake is 800 acres and features 13 miles of shoreline and a max depth of 100 feet. This crystal-clear body of water is the jewel of the region. Not only is the water clean and safe, but there are endless things to do. Visitors can enjoy sailing, swimming, fishing, kayaking, power boating, water skiing, and canoeing. There is also a marina, boat launch, sandy beach, a fishing pier, covered picnic areas, and a swimming platform. 

Lake Auman is renowned for its cleanliness and receives its status from its spring-fed properties. It is also regularly monitored for any harmful substances, has no in-flowing streams, and low concentrations of silt. The next time you’re in the area, check out Lake Auman, the cleanest lake in North Carolina!

Nearby Attractions: Beacon Ridge Golf & Country Club, Camelot Playground, Cannon Park, Rassie Wicker Park, The Splash Pad

Where to Eat: Lake House Bar & Grill, Seven Lakes Pizza Kitchen

2. White Lake

Sunset picture of White Lake, North Carolina

With crystal clear water and sandy beaches, White Lake feels more like an ocean than a lake.

©Amber Lamont/

White Lake is a resort town and a body of water in Southeast North Carolina. The crystal-clear lake is renowned in the state and receives around 200,000 tourists to its water each year. White Lake is 1,200 acres and features a white, sandy lake floor, which is quite rare. It is fed by subterranean springs and feels more like an ocean than a lake. The water also stays mild most of the year. Visitors can enjoy swimming, lounging in the sand, boating, water skiing, wakeboarding, and jet skiing. There is also a nearby water park, golf course, campgrounds, arcades, hotels, and restaurants. White Lake is one of the best vacation getaways in the state, and its water is one of the safest beaches in the country, as there are no tides or currents. Also, check out the annual water festival in May!

Nearby Attractions: White Lake Water Park, Jones Lake State Park, White Lake Go Kart, Putt-Putt Fun Center

Where to Eat: Hot Rods Grill, Ski Burger

3. Lake Gaston

scenic view of Lake Gaston

Lake Gaston lies in North Carolina and Virginia.


This hydroelectric reservoir straddles the border of North Carolina and Virginia, covering 20,000 acres. This huge lake has 350 miles of shoreline with several lake-front towns surrounding it, such as Littleton and Roanoke Rapids. And it is a favorite spot for many recreational activities, such as fishing, swimming, boating, wakeboarding, and water skiing. The public access area features a boat ramp, fishing pier, picnic tables, and a swimming area. The water is well-stocked with striped bass, largemouth bass, crappie, catfish, and more. Just be sure to have a valid fishing license. Not to mention, Lake Gaston has very low pollution and is safe to swim in year-round.

Nearby Attractions: Grandma’s Island, The Cryptozoology & Paranormal Museum, Roanoke Canal Museum & Trail

Where to Eat: The Pointe at Lake Gaston, Watersview Restaurant

4. Lake James

Lake James North Carolina

Lake James is a reservoir and recreational hub in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

© Kreutz

Located in the mountains of Western North Carolina, Lake James features a picturesque setting with clear water perfect for dipping your toes. The lake features over 6,500 acres and 150 miles of shoreline in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Burke and McDowell Counties. It is a reservoir and recreational hub for residents and visitors, especially during the summer. Along with fishing, swimming, boating, and paddling, you can also picnic, birdwatch, hike, bike, and camp. And Lake James also features many amenities, such as boat ramps, concession stands, boat rentals, picnic shelters, swimming beaches, showers, and an amphitheater. But what’s most important is that Lake James is very clean and clear as it is fed by pristine mountain waters.

Nearby Attractions: Lake James State Park, Goat Island, Paddys Creek Area, Linville Caverns, Toms Creek Falls Trail, Catawba Meadows Park

Where to Eat: Countryside BBQ, Bones Jones Burgers and Butchery

Summary of the 4 Cleanest Lakes in North Carolina

RankCleanest LakesLocation
1Lake AumanMoore County
2White LakeSoutheast North Carolina
3Lake Gastonborder of North Carolina and Virginia
4Lake Jamesmountains of Western North Carolina
Summary Table of the 4 Cleanest Lakes in North Carolina

The photo featured at the top of this post is © KHilliard/

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About the Author

Niccoy is a professional writer for A-Z Animals and her primary focus is on birds, travel, and interesting facts of all kinds. Niccoy has been writing and researching about travel, nature, wildlife, and business for several years and holds a business degree from Florida State College. A resident of Florida, Niccoy enjoys hiking, cooking, reading, and spending time at the beach.

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