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Lake Norris


BlindSquirrel

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With all the awesome reviews of Lake Norris on here, I now want to go. That said... I've not been out that way. Any advise on which part of the lake to stay? We will likely be vrbo'ing. Any recommendations? 

Thanks.

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We have 3 families doing our end of the school year party with our kids at Norris this year.  Each family is 5-6 people and we rented a house that sleeps 24 with 2 covered slips for a week in June.  I’m super excited.

 

@EchelonMike thanks for the tips.  This is my second Norris trip and we’re staying close to the jumping bridge.  I never really considered the east side of the lake.  Perhaps we will on our next trip.

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Yes! I went to the lake of the ozarks once... that was enough for me. So glad to hear Norris is the opposite. Thank you for the tips. We are planning on the end of July... looking forward to it.

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1 hour ago, BlindSquirrel said:

Yes! I went to the lake of the ozarks once... that was enough for me. So glad to hear Norris is the opposite. Thank you for the tips. We are planning on the end of July... looking forward to it.

We did Norris a long time ago, no idea where we stayed but the whole lake that we explored was awesome.  Are you willing to expand on your Lake of the Ozarks thoughts?  I don't know much about it, but I am curious.

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4 hours ago, EchelonMike said:

We have stayed all over the lake for years.  I really like the remoteness of the "east" end of the lake.   There is a cool marina/floating restaurant called Bubba Brews out on the east end of the lake and it's a lot less crowded.  More central on the lake is Deerfield Resort which is a large housing development, and there are some good marinas around there like Shanghai Marina.  There is also a fun jumping bridge in that general area too.  On the west side, which is closest to Knoxville and I-75, I really like Twin Cove Marina.  There are condos and houses to rent there.  The lake is narrower up that way, and we can almost always find smooth water there as well.  We also like Norris Dam Marina a lot, which is also right off I-75.  It's a really big lake, the Clinch and Powell Rivers feed it, so from the dam, you can go about 50 miles up one river, and 60 or 70 miles up the other.  Very deep, very clear water.   Only pockets of developments, most is wilderness.  If you've been to Lake of the Ozarks, this is literally the opposite of that.  :-) Good luck!  I'd say it's worthy of a road trip.

Great info here. We have a place at Deerfield and this area is really bad on weekends as its so crowded. At the southeast area down near Bubba Brews is a great area for good water. Its a long ride from our place but makes for a great all day trip.

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Norris is basically 2 rivers (Powell and Clinch) that make it Y-Shaped.  The Powell is the northern branch and is much more crowded (Flat Hollow Marina, Deerfield, Shanghai, etc.).  Great marinas on this side of the lake but much more crowded, especially on weekends.  The Clinch side is much less crowded but not quite as developed.  I had a houseboat for a number of years on both rivers.  I enjoyed the Clinch side more and would recommend that side.  Hickory Star is nice and has a hotel unit and restaurant.  It is a short ride to Bubba Brews.  

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im cheap so i luv Hickory Star!, its on its own cove that provides nice riding or surfing day or night , great little covered Marina with cheap but very nice slips, on the route of a lot of places to ride/surf towards Bubbas or the open water on way to deerfield 

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16 hours ago, Slayer said:

 

@EchelonMike thanks for the tips.  This is my second Norris trip and we’re staying close to the jumping bridge.  I never really considered the east side of the lake.  Perhaps we will on our next trip.

From Jumping Bridge/Deerfield area, it's  a good hour+ boat ride to go out to the "big" lake and down to Bubba Brews.  I was trying to estimate on Google Maps and I'd say it's around 25 miles by water from Jumping Bridge to Bubbas.  I will say it's worth the boat ride, both to grab some food/drinks at Bubba's, and to go out to the main lake.  We always called it the "Big" lake because it's 2 or 3x wider, and almost all state park or national forest.  Since you're staying a week, go mid-week.  When you get out to the "big" lake (you'll know it when you get there as it's so wide open), just stop and float and swim.  If there's no other boats in your area, you won't hear a THING.  Really beautiful.  Watch your prop because it's only 150 ft deep.  :-)   Here's a rough idea of distance/location to get your bearings:

[img]https://i.imgur.com/AuvC8ad.jpg[/img]

Once there, get some wings off this grill.  :-)

[img]https://i.imgur.com/WTVHv0w.jpg[/img]

Enjoy your trip!  All this makes me want to be on the boat vs clearing 10" of snow off the driveway.  Haha!

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33 minutes ago, EchelonMike said:

From Jumping Bridge/Deerfield area, it's  a good hour+ boat ride to go out to the "big" lake and down to Bubba Brews.  I was trying to estimate on Google Maps and I'd say it's around 25 miles by water from Jumping Bridge to Bubbas.  I will say it's worth the boat ride, both to grab some food/drinks at Bubba's, and to go out to the main lake.  We always called it the "Big" lake because it's 2 or 3x wider, and almost all state park or national forest.  Since you're staying a week, go mid-week.  When you get out to the "big" lake (you'll know it when you get there as it's so wide open), just stop and float and swim.  If there's no other boats in your area, you won't hear a THING.  Really beautiful.  Watch your prop because it's only 150 ft deep.  :-)   Here's a rough idea of distance/location to get your bearings:

[img]https://i.imgur.com/AuvC8ad.jpg[/img]

Once there, get some wings off this grill.  :-)

[img]https://i.imgur.com/WTVHv0w.jpg[/img]

Enjoy your trip!  All this makes me want to be on the boat vs clearing 10" of snow off the driveway.  Haha!

Thanks again.  


When I was there in 2017, we went down to Bubba Brews.  It was the middle of the week and very little traffic.  We surfed and boarded nearly the entire way down there for lunch.  It was amazing and yes.....it's beautiful to be on a lake like that with little to no homes in a national forest.  To say we're excited is an understatement.  We will be arriving on Saturday afternoon and leaving on Saturday morning, so we have an outstanding opportunity for some mid week low traffic fun.  

 

 

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15 hours ago, Sixer said:

We did Norris a long time ago, no idea where we stayed but the whole lake that we explored was awesome.  Are you willing to expand on your Lake of the Ozarks thoughts?  I don't know much about it, but I am curious.

My ozarks experience was not typical of the lakes we frequent. This is only my opinion formed from one non holiday weekend on the water. We prefer a more natural setting, not houses lining the banks. Clear water is also on our list of things we look for, not much visibility there. Going once to the main channel it didn’t take long to realize our 21 foot boat was too small. I felt like we were on a jetski compared to the much larger vessels cruising around. Granted, if I spent more time on the lake I could find things to like and coves to go in, but with other lake options.. I’ll let everyone else enjoy it.

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26 minutes ago, DylanR said:

Stay a few extra days and drive on to Dale Hollow... you’ll be glad you did. 

DH is certainly on our list, but not until next season, most likely.  

 

We have a few fantastic lakes in northern MI that we like to get to a few times each season.  We'll be doing so this year as well, but with other vacations planned, etc. we can only squeeze in one long trip that's an 8 hour drive from home.  Otherwise, we'll be enjoying the home lake where the boat lives when we're not traveling with it. 

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Couple years ago they did a Malibu Crew Norris trip. It was a big turn out.

Blind, you got a big group coming to Norris?

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1 hour ago, MystiikVLX said:

Couple years ago they did a Malibu Crew Norris trip. It was a big turn out.

Blind, you got a big group coming to Norris?

I think I remember reading about that! Might even be why I thought of putting this together for us. Not a real big group, but not opposed to one... Just 2 bu's for now, mine and my brother's. 8 of us in all.

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2 hours ago, DylanR said:

Stay a few extra days and drive on to Dale Hollow... you’ll be glad you did. 

Man, you guys have some big lakes out this way! We are finalizing our trip tonight, I'll see if we can spend a few days at Norris and a few at Dale Hollow, looks cool too. It's pretty much on the way for us...Thanks. Any parts better than others to stay on? What's good about Dale Hollow?

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18 hours ago, BlindSquirrel said:

Man, you guys have some big lakes out this way! We are finalizing our trip tonight, I'll see if we can spend a few days at Norris and a few at Dale Hollow, looks cool too. It's pretty much on the way for us...Thanks. Any parts better than others to stay on? What's good about Dale Hollow?

I went to Dale Hollow for the first time in about 20 years this past summer with a group of guys...one of my friends has a place there and a boat.  We keep our boat at Lake Cumberland, KY year-round now, and Dale Hollow is about an hour past where I store my Bu.  Dale was very nice, not crowded, smooth water and they had a slalom course in the cove by my friend's house...too bad he has a pontoon boat, LOL. 

I think I like Cumberland better than Dale.  Much bigger, more stuff to do, water clarity and depth similar to Norris, and lots of waterfalls and cool tributaries to explore and find smooth water.  Norris is still my favorite, but for me, Cumberland is an hour closer, which is why we call it our home lake.

I want to do a northern Michigan trip this summer.  Maybe Torch or something like that would be really a lot of fun.

 

 

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50 minutes ago, EchelonMike said:

I went to Dale Hollow for the first time in about 20 years this past summer with a group of guys...one of my friends has a place there and a boat.  We keep our boat at Lake Cumberland, KY year-round now, and Dale Hollow is about an hour past where I store my Bu.  Dale was very nice, not crowded, smooth water and they had a slalom course in the cove by my friend's house...too bad he has a pontoon boat, LOL. 

I think I like Cumberland better than Dale.  Much bigger, more stuff to do, water clarity and depth similar to Norris, and lots of waterfalls and cool tributaries to explore and find smooth water.  Norris is still my favorite, but for me, Cumberland is an hour closer, which is why we call it our home lake.

I want to do a northern Michigan trip this summer.  Maybe Torch or something like that would be really a lot of fun.

 

 

Torch is a lot of fun.  It can get chopped up pretty good, though.  Relative to Norris, it's approximately half the size in gross surface area, but it's nearly 20 miles long and relatively narrow for it's length.  IIRC, it's about 19,000 acres vs the 38,000 of Norris.  The largest inland lake in northern MI is Houghton Lake but it's shallow with crap water clarity.  I've been on it once and have zero desire to go back.  

 

Higgins lake is amazing, Torch is amazing Glen is awesome, as is Charlevoix.  There are many others, but those are, IMO, most noteworthy for the northern, northwestern portion of the LP.  Cool thing about torch is that it's connected to Skegemog Lake and Elk Lake.  Elk is beautiful, but it too can get a little bumpy.  Glen lake has a marina that used to be a Malibu dealer years ago.  They have lodging there and you can dock your boat.  I generally don't do that......we put in and take out at the end of the day on Glen.  Same for us with Torch as we have friends with a cottage just off the water, so it's an easy in easy out thing.

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On 2/19/2021 at 7:40 PM, DAI said:

How is the area near Cove Lake on Norris?

Cove Lake is just a park in town. 

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There is a lot of good info being offered earlier in this thread. I'll offer to add the following:

1 - if you find a marina map, draw a circle around Shanghai, Stardust, Sugar Hollow (including the "jumping bridge"), Deerfield & Springs. This will be the absolute most busy section of the lake. Lots more houses for rent, both on the lakefront and lakeview. If you stay in any other area of the lake, you'll be happy with the lack of crowd during the on the weekend or on weekdays. If you stay in this area, plan to stay in your boat on the weekends. Just too many fools out there to have a rope out. 

2 - if you have met someone that says he's laid eyes on every inch of this lake, 99% chance that he is a liar. There are 800+ miles of shoreline. Some places are just too far away, especially if you are running a wakeboard boat.

3 - it's a lake, but in most parts, it looks more like a river. I've always found that one of the up-sides to this place is that you can "explore" in many directions. If you consider yourself the explorer type, find a place to stay that offers more than one direction to go. Some places, you have to go past the same stuff for the first 12 miles of your day, no matter what part of the lake is your final destination. 

4 - folks around here will outta-towner-shame you if you call it "Lake Norris". I'm surprised no prior posters have corrected you to "Norris Lake" yet.

5 - some marinas are more family oriented, and some are more party places. If you find one that is too "boring" or too "crazy" for you to hang out at, switch to the next one up the lake. It'll likely be very different than the one you just left.

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1 hour ago, BigCreek said:

 folks around here will outta-towner-shame you if you call it "Lake Norris"

:Doh: Best tip of all so far I think! Thanks for the others too.

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4 hours ago, BigCreek said:

There is a lot of good info being offered earlier in this thread. I'll offer to add the following:

1 - if you find a marina map, draw a circle around Shanghai, Stardust, Sugar Hollow (including the "jumping bridge"), Deerfield & Springs. This will be the absolute most busy section of the lake. Lots more houses for rent, both on the lakefront and lakeview. If you stay in any other area of the lake, you'll be happy with the lack of crowd during the on the weekend or on weekdays. If you stay in this area, plan to stay in your boat on the weekends. Just too many fools out there to have a rope out. 

2 - if you have met someone that says he's laid eyes on every inch of this lake, 99% chance that he is a liar. There are 800+ miles of shoreline. Some places are just too far away, especially if you are running a wakeboard boat.

3 - it's a lake, but in most parts, it looks more like a river. I've always found that one of the up-sides to this place is that you can "explore" in many directions. If you consider yourself the explorer type, find a place to stay that offers more than one direction to go. Some places, you have to go past the same stuff for the first 12 miles of your day, no matter what part of the lake is your final destination. 

4 - folks around here will outta-towner-shame you if you call it "Lake Norris". I'm surprised no prior posters have corrected you to "Norris Lake" yet.

5 - some marinas are more family oriented, and some are more party places. If you find one that is too "boring" or too "crazy" for you to hang out at, switch to the next one up the lake. It'll likely be very different than the one you just left.

This was a great response. We have a place at Deerfield and I especially agree with number 1. Water in that area is terrible on weekends and yes, dangerous. We go out at dawn and head away from there on weekends.

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Forgot a couple things - Like many lakes around the country, the rental spots on Norris are booking up like crazy. Depending on your needs on BRs and potential need for multiple covered slip(s), it's always been difficult to find an available week in parts of the lake, but it's been impossible in the past year and the upcoming summer. Look at a group called Norris Lake Lovers on FB for opportunities to rent directly from the owner without the added cost of fees (and perceived protections) of booking thru one of the websites. There have been lots of "can't find anything on the regular sites, does anyone have anything for x-number of people on this particular week?" posts lately. Many of them get responses directly from owners. Also, some owners are posting the week or 2 that they have left all the time. 

Don't wait til TN to get your adult beverages. $$$$

Most places are far from re-supply by car. Do yourself a favor get as much as you can on your first grocery stop - best to do on the way in versus having to go back. Some are closer and some are further, but plan on a good 25 minutes 1-way to a grocery store. 

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On 2/22/2021 at 8:16 PM, MystiikVLX said:

This was a great response. We have a place at Deerfield and I especially agree with number 1. Water in that area is terrible on weekends and yes, dangerous. We go out at dawn and head away from there on weekends.

I completely understand this statement.  There is also the added benefit of being close to fuel when close to one of the marina's.  I don't doubt your comment about dangerous conditions there on weekends, but since I've only experienced it during the week, I have no point of reference.  I'm going to experience a Sunday there this summer, so I'll have a better idea of what you're talking about then.  We're going for a Saturday - Saturday week in June.  My guess is we don't dip the boats in until Sunday morning and take them out on Friday night so we can depart early Saturday morning for the trip home.  That 8 hour ride home is a drag after a nice long week on an amazing body of water.  Makes you want to move there.....

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