I feel like my spirit lived in Lake Lure, North Carolina in a previous life.
It’s elevated every time I arrive and see the forested green of the pine trees surrounding the beautiful lake setting.
Where is Lake Lure? It’s located in Rutherford County in Western North Carolina. Lake Lure to Asheville is about 45-minutes. It’s just under 4 hours from Raleigh, and only five minutes drive to Chimney Rock State Park (see more about Chimney Rock down below).
The lake is surrounded by lush mountain tops and sheer granite cliffs. In the distance are the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina and Hickory Nut Gorge with names like Buffalo Head and Sleeping lady.
It’s ancient. Timeless. Connected.
It’s not long after arriving in Lake Lure that I slip into lake time. It moves slow and rhythmically like the oars on my stand up paddle board moving across the lake.
Paddle boarding is one of our favorite things to do in Lake Lure and it’s the first thing we did when we arrived at our accommodation, the Lodge on Lake Lure.
Kalyra (our 11 year old) pauses her paddling to do handstands and cartwheels. I watch in amazement and work up the bravery to slip off the board into the cool waters.
It’s cool and refreshing. The perfect complement to the humid air.
There’s no fear of sharks, jelly fish or crocodiles like back in Australia (our homeland). I can swim freely in the pools of serenity.
Lake Lure NC is my happy place, and it’s one of my top two favorite places to visit in North Carolina along with Wrightsville Beach.
I want to buy a lake house here. I want to buy a summer home here. I just want to spend my summers on this lake, in my lakeside home, with my paddle board.
This was my mantra for our very short two day Lake Lure vacation.
I just had to bring my parents here on our big road trip from Dallas to Boston. It was slightly out of the way, but totally worth it.
My mum and dad loved it too. My Dad being a huge movie buff, he loved the connection that the Lake Lure and Chimney Rock area has to the Last of the Mohicans with Daniel Day Lewis.
I love the connection the lake has with the classic film, Dirty Dancing.
It was the 30th anniversary of Dirty Dancing when we visited and we attended the 8th annual Dirty Dancing Festival, and if you’re a Dirty Dancing fan don’t miss this festival (see more about this down below).
Relax, Learn and Dream on a Lake Lure Boat Tours
You can see the stairs from Dirty Dancing where Baby carried the watermelon on a Lake Lure boat tour, which we did on our last afternoon in Lake Lure, North Carolina.
It was sunny and warm and the breeze gentle. Surprisingly, the seats on the boat were padded and spacious.
We had plenty of room to watch the world go by and learn more about its history – and those gorgeous lake houses on its bank – from our captain and guide.
Including the famous stairs Baby carried a watermelon up and danced back down.
Lake Lure was artificially made back in 1927 by Lucius Morse.
He envisioned a lake resort that would be one of the largest in the country as he gazed down upon the Broad River Valley from the top of Chimney Rock, which he owned and opened to the public in 1916.
The town of Buffalo, a small Gold Rush and farming town, now sits at the bottom of the lake.
Legend of the church said to be 70 feet below in the center of the lake whose bell is said to be heard ringing on stormy evenings
The lake is now owned by the town of Lake Lure, with private homes surrounding most of it. Access is provided via a town marina, beach and park.
What I love about this beautiful lakeside destination, is that it has NOT become one large lake resort.
It’s mostly a popular USA destination of privately owned homes that caters to families who vacation in North Carolina every summer.
That’s what I want!
The tours last an hour and is the perfect way to spend an afternoon. Be sure to reserve your spot in advance as they are popular.
I’m going to buy a boat with my house.
Spend my days paddling and cruising up and down, up and down. Stopping for a swim in its dark shark free depths in the middle of the lake with those blue hazy views of the mountains I love so much.
Or, pulling up at the beaches of Town Beach or Rambling Bald Resort.
The girls can have fun zipping down the water slides at Lake Lure beach and water park or kayaking around the bays.
Paddle Boarding or Kayak on Lake Lure
Not only did we love the view from our deck, the breakfast room, and the lower level resting deck, but also from on top of the stand up paddle board.
Stand Up Paddle boards and kayaks are complimentary for guests staying at the Lodge on Lake Lure and we made sure we took one out on each day of our two night stay there.
We developed a family passion for supping when we lived in Australia. It’s now something we pursue on our travels when we can.
We loved paddling on the ocean at Ka’anapali Beach Maui, on Lake Coeur D’alene in Idaho, and in San Diego.
Supping takes a little practice to get used to balancing – I fell of dramatically the first time I did it.
Now I rarely fall of unless it’s intentional.
It’s a bit like riding a bike, once you figure out the balance it kind of becomes automatic.
I’ll be buying a board to match my boat and my house on Lake Lure.
My only complaint is that we did not stay longer. I want to go back in the summer, but I”m scared time is going to zoom by so fast with busyness that we won’t make it work.
Lake Lure is calling me to make it happen.
Play or Relax at Lake Lure Beach and Water Park
Yes, there is a beach at Lake Lure. Well, it’s not an ocean beach like say, Wrightsville Beach on the Carolina coast, but our two girls enjoyed it and it’s one of the fun things to do in Lake Lure with kids!
Here you can float in an inner tube, kayak, paddle board, swim, ride the water slide or get soaked by the water works cannons, or simply relax on the sand and soak up the sun with majestic views of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
The beach and water park is typically open from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend. And it does get busy here, especially on warm days and on weekends!
- Adults: $9.00
- Kids ages 4-12 and 45″ & taller: $7.00
- Under 4: Free (when accompanied by adult)
Admission to the water park is included in beach admission price!
Stroll Across Flowering Bridge
How does an old bridge overtaken by blooms and artwork sound to you?
One of my other favorite Lake Lure things to do is to stroll across the Lake Lure Flowering Bridge. It’s a wonderful example of community care and spirit.
They came together to decide what to do with the old highway bridge once the bigger and wider new road was built coming into town.
Why not turn it in to a public garden space? It was created by volunteers and is maintained by volunteers.
The 300 foot pathway is part of the 3/4-mile Town Center Walkway that continues past Morse Park to the Lake Lure Beach with great views of the Hickory Nut Gorge and Chimney Rock.
It’s one of most scenic walks in western North Carolina, is opened year round and is completely free!
Grab An Ice Cream at The Scoop
Across the road from Town Beach sits a popular local ice cream store called the Scoop with flavors such as S’mores, Cherry Blossom, Banana Pudding, Orange Sherbert, Peach and Coffee.
Lucky we ordered the girls ice cream first so we could see exactly what a single scoop looked like.
Dad was about to ask for a double, and quickly changed his mind as the single servings were ginormous!
Perfect for a hot May day.
It’s nice to grab your ice cream after a day of playing at Town Beach, or you can walk there along the lakefront boardwalk after your walk across the Flowering Bridge, or your Lake Lure boat tour.
Stay at The Lodge on Lake Lure – it’s exquisite
My absolute favorite of things to do in Lake Lure NC was to sit on the deck outside our room at the Lodge on Lake Lure among the trees and look down on the lake below, watching it slowly go to sleep and then slowly wake up the next day.
Lake Lure Lodge is one of the most beautiful places to stay in Lake Lure. I fell in love with the view when I visited there last year with my Dirty Dancing friends.
It shot up to the top of my list as a place to stay when we returned to visit Lake Lure this time!
The Lodge on Lake Lure was built in the 30’s as a retreat for North Carolina highway patrolmen.
It opened to the public in 1990. It’s the only lakefront lodging in Lake Lure and offers a unique experience.
The Tree Tops Dining Room has stunning views of Lake Lure and the Hickory Nut Gorge mountains. Its the best way to start your day with a buffet breakfast and dinner is served Wednesday through Saturday evenings.
Attend the Dirty Dancing Festival
The Dirty Dancing festival is one of the most popular Lake Lure events.
On a previous trip to Lake Lure, we attended the 8th annual Dirty Dancing Festival which coincided with the films 30th anniversary, and yes it was a hoot, yes I carried a watermelon, and yes you can go in a lake lift competition!
The Lake Lure Dirty Dancing Festival is held every year in August. Tickets are $25 for adults, $10 for kids. See all the fun we had here.
For this visit, we stayed at the Rumbling Bald Resort which is an awesome place to stay for families right on the lake with water sports and its own beach, a pool, golf course and much more. Keep in mind it is a 25 minute drive from Lake Lure Beach area.
Get Active at Chimney Rock State Park
Chimney Rock State Park is an easy 5 minute drive from Lake Lure Beach and is one of the most popular places to go in North Carolina – movie buffs might know that scenes from Last of the Mohicans was filmed here.
At the top of Chimney Rock you get stunning views of Hickory Hut Gorge and Lake Lure. The hike up to the top of Chimney Rock from the parking lot is 500 steps – easy!
And don’t miss the 1.4 mile return trail through the hardwood forest to Hickory Nut Falls.
For more Western North Carolina tips, check out our post on 19 places to go in the North Carolina mountains.
Watch Our Lake Lure Video:
Planning a Trip to Lake Lure
What would be some of your favorite things to do in Lake Lure NC ? Do you love lake vacations?