Lake Lure & Chimney Rock Attractions

Are you through shopping at our with usWell, don’t leave town just yet, check out all the family friendly attractions in walking distance from our shop! 

Chimney Rock State Park

Fun facts about the park, it was purchased around 1890 for $25.  That would be like buying the park for $665 dollars today!  The park was privately owned until it was purchased by North Carolina State Parks association in 2007 for $24 million.  Since then the park has expanded, adding an additional 330 acres.  On the rock, you can enjoy a 75 mile panoramic view at almost 2,300 feet above sea level.  The natural beauty of the park has attracted many movies over the years, such as “The Last of the Mohicans”, “A Breed Apart” and “Firestarter.”

Outdoors Enthusiast

There are over 7 hiking trails featured in the park, with difficulty levels ranging from beginner to expert.  Worried about kids, don’t be there are a number of trails which are kid friendly.  Below features a few of the trails the park has to offer.

  • Great Woodland Adventure trail has a rating of easy and is kid friendly. This trail features 12 discovery stations were you can learn about the native wildlife.
  • Four Seasons trail rating is for experts. This trail climbs almost 400 feet in a little over half a mile. 
  • Hickory Nut Falls is easily the most popular trail featuring the 404 foot waterfall which is the second highest east of the Mississippi River. This trail is rated intermediate, though still kid friendly.
  • Outcropping trail has a rating of intermediate, and kid friendly. There are two ways to get to the top of Chimney Rock, you can take the elevator of challenge yourself by walking up the 499 stairs on this trail.
  • Exclamation Point trail is rated intermediate. Coming in at the highest point in the park, this trail features the “Devil’s Head” rock and boasts some of the best views of the Hickory Nut Gorge.
  • Skyline trail is rated expert and can be considered one of the most difficult trails in the park. On average it takes approximately two and a half hours to traverse the 1.1 mile trail.

Rock Climbing

In the late 90’s Rumbling Bald reopened and considered some of the best rock climbing in the Southeast, featuring granite and gneiss crack and friction climbs.  There are a wide range to way to approach the estimated 1,500 bouldering problems.  You have the option to have a guided tour of Rumbling Bald or can approach it individually or with a group.  Rappelling is also available, however children younger than 7 are not allowed to rappel.  Considering climbing Rumbling Rock?  Make sure you book in advanced as it is required by the park.

Are you traveling with young kids, the park has this covered too.  With a completely controlled environment the Climbing Tower is a great place for all ages.  Check out their website and call today to make reservations.

Chimney Rock Village

The Chimney Rock Village is located at the state park entrance and runs along the French Broad River.  The village was developed in the early 1900’s and was purchased by the Morse family for $5,000.  Roughly speaking, that would have sold for around $130,000 dollars in today’s terms.  With a variety activities and down to earth setting has made this a popular family oriented tourist attraction.  If you’re local to the Southeast and thinking of taking a vacation then keep it local and visit Chimney Rock Village.  Check out some of the things to do.

Things to do

  • River Board Walk take a relaxing stroll along the river and get back in touch with nature.
  • Gem Mine located in the heart of the village, bring your family to the gemstone mine and start digging.
  • The River Park located across the street from our shop, this is a great place to bring your family for a relaxing picnic. On hot summer days, you can cool off by taking a dip in the crystal clear waters of the river.
  • Miniature Golf fun for all ages, test your putting skills by navigating the 18 hole course.
  • Fly Fishing for the fishing enthusiast, don’t forget to bring your rod and reel to enjoy catching the native fish species in the river.

Dinning and Shopping

Bring a little piece of Chimney Rock home with you and go shopping!  The village has over 10 shops selling local handcrafted goods, souvenirs and Native American items.  Getting hungry, we got that covered too.  Fill up at one of the local restaurants while enjoying the view of the river or state park.  For those hot summer months, you can cool down by visiting the Village Scoop that serves more than 61 flavors of Hershey’s ice cream.

Places to Stay

The historic Esmeralda Inn is the perfect place to wind down from your daily activities! Located just up the street from the village, the Inn is known for its picturesque views overlooking the gorge.
If your traveling with the family, let the kids play the game room which has a card, pool and foseball table or you can cool down and take a dip in the pool! When your hungry, dine at their restaurant which is one of the best places to eat in Chimney Rock.

Lake Lure Attractions

The French Broad River is the primary water source which fills the lake.  In 1925, the Carolina Mountain Power Company started construction on the dam which created Lake Lure.  Shortly after the Lake Lure Inn and Spa was constructed and has become a popular tourist attraction.  Serving famous guest such as Presidents Calvin Coolidge and Franklin Roosevelt.  Both Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Gray lodged at the Inn during the filming of Dirty Dancing.  One of the primary filming locations for the movie took place at what used to be the Chimney Rock Camp for Boys which is now “Firefly Cove.”  Dancing scenes took place in the old gymnasium which has since burnt down.

Panoramic View of Waterpark and Lake Lure Inn & Spa
Lake Lure Panoramic View

Things to do

  • Water Park at Lake Lure, with over 100 yards of sandy beaches this is a great place to relax while your kid’s burn energy on the waterslides and game area.
  • Lake Lure Tours, come relax on the water while you enjoy the history of Lake Lure. Specialty cruises are also available which include lunch or dinner.
  • Flowering Bridge, what used to be the main corridor into Chimney Rock. In 2011 the original bridge was donated to the township and converted into an elegant garden hosting a variety of flowers and plant life.
  • Fishing, don’t forget to bring your tackle as the lake supports a variety of game fish including Large, Small and White Bass as well as Crappie.
  • Lake Lure Inn and Spa, stay at Dirty Dancing themed cabins and prepare to be pampered at the spa. Enjoy the many attractions within walking distance around the Inn.
  • Morse Park, enjoy the picturesque views of the lake and mountain background while walking through the park.

Lake Lure Arts & Crafts Festival

The township hosts the Lake Lure Arts & Crafts Festival in spring and autumn each year.  This is a great place to find handcrafted goods, with over 90 artisans from around the area.  Let the kids enjoy face painting and miniature golf while you browse the many booths featuring paintings, pottery, photography, jewelry and wood work. 

Dirty Dancing Festival

Are you a dirty dancing fan?  Well the annual Lake Lure Dirty Dancing Festival is a great place to get your dance on!  Usually held in late August, the festival features an amateur shag competition, lift competition (where Swayze lifts Gray in Dirty Dancing) and a dance competition.  Get there early, Friday night kicks off the festival with a screening of Dirty Dancing.

Aerial View of Chimney Rock and Lake Lure

If you have a few minutes, check out this awesome aerial view of the village and Lake Lure.