Things to Do at Lake Lure NC

elevated view of lake lure as seen from a a trail high up in Chimney Rock State Park. Ceder trees dot the foreground and blue skies with wispy clouds can be seen in the distance.
Lake Lure as seen from the Exclamation Point Trail at Chimney Rock State Park.

Things to do at Lake Lure

Lake Lure Water Park and Beach

sandy beach on lake with mountains in background some boats in a marina to the left and lifeguard stand on beach
Lake Lure Beach and Water Park is a popular area attraction.

Located directly across the road from the Lake Lure Inn, the beach offers visitors an inviting beach perfect for swimming or just relaxing on the 100 yards of sandy beach. A small water park with slides and water games is included with admission to the beach. Behind the main entrance is a covered picnic area, and basic supplies are available in the store.

The beach is typically open from Memorial Day through Labor Day Weekend and admission is $10 foir adults with kids costing less.


Morse Park at Lake Lure

paved walking path with water on the right side hills in the distance and red plants grass and trees along path
The walking trail through Morse Park offers great views of the lake and is very well maintained.

Walk along the shore and enjoy great views of not only Lake Lure but the surrounding mountains, the broad river, and Chimney Rock as well. Follow the trail around the for a scenic walk or enjoy some of the events that take place in the park like festivals, boat shows, car shows, tournaments, outdoor concerts and craft fairs. Lot’s of people like to fish along the Broad River side of the park. Lake Lure is home to largemouth and smallmouth bass, trout, bream/bluegills, crappie, white bass, carp, and catfish.

large stone monolith known as chimney rock with US Flag on top as seen from the valley below.
Morse Park Trail offers some of the best views of Chimney Rock.

Near the entrance to the park is the town’s Welcome Center, so if you’re still looking for places to go, stop in here for some ideas. Behind that you’ll find a playground, picnic tables, and sporting facilities.

Lake Lure Marina and Lake Lure Boat Tours

If you’re not satisfied with sitting on shore and want to get out on the lake, visiting Washburn Marina near Morse Park is a must. Here you can take boat tours of the lake that are not only scenic, but offer lots of interesting facts about culture and natural history of Hickory Nut Gorge.

If self exploring is more you’re style, you can also rent boats at the marina. Everything from a paddle boat, to a kayak, to a powered boat like a pontoon or fishing boat are available.

pontoon boats in slips with mountains in the background
Lake Lure Marina and lake tours along the town boardwalk.

Like most facilities at Lake Lure, the marina operates during the warmer months only, typically Memorial Day through Labor Day. Visit their website for more information.

ranch style building with red roof with mountains in the background and an iron sign that reads welcome center
Make the Lake Lure Welcome Center your first stop if you’re looking for things to do in Lake Lure. They’ve got lots helpful hints and information about the town’s history. And of course they have an area dedicated to the “Dirty Dancing” movie and annual festival.

Also if you’re a fan of the film Dirty Dancing, you already know that a lot of movie was filmed right here at Lake Lure. Unfortunately most of the filming locations are long gone. All that’s left of the dirty dancing resort at Lake Lure are a flight of steps leading down to the lake. They’re on private property, so the only way to see them is from a boat in the lake. Lots of the boat tours visit these steps, so if you want to make sure your tour goes past the last of the Dirty Dancing filming locations on the lake, be sure to ask when you book your tour.


Flowering Bridge at Lake Lure

bridge over a river with lots of plats and flowers on it
Lake Lure Flowering Bridge over the Broad River

One of the newest attractions at Lake Lure is also one of the oldest. In 1925, before there was a Lake Lure, the Rocky Broad River Bridge was built. For almost 100 years it carried traffic between Lake Lure and Chimney Rock Village until it was closed when the new bridge was opened in 2011.

With that, it’s new life as a footbridge began, but residents couldn’t let it become just another aging relic from the early 20th Century. Instead they gathered together and formed Friends of the Lake Lure Flowering Bridge and set about creating a truly unique experience.

lion's head fountain flanked by red flowers and greenery
The Lake Lure Flowering Bridge includes both banks of the river and is made up of lots of different garden displays and areas.

Gardens were not only planted on each side of the bridge but flower beds were built along the classic 155 foot three-arch span itself. The bridge is always open and is free. You can park on either side of the river or walk from the Welcome Center. The brick path that runs through the whole town from beach runs directly across the bridge.

The Right Track Toy Train Museum at Lake Lure

Opened by Mrs. Peggy Keyes after she lost her husband Larry to pancreatic cancer in 2007, the museum stands a testament to his life long love and collection of toy trains. The museum features model trains from the 1900’s to the modern era, and even has working displays that guests can work themselves.

The museum is open seasonally and the admission price goes to research a cure for pancreatic cancer.

Phone Number: (828) 289-4429

Buffalo Creek Park

While this park on the norther section of Lake Lure is still under construction, it already offers great views of not only Lake Lure but Bald Mountain Lake, and Youngs Mountain as well. The current loop trail is suitable for both hikers and mountain bikers and is about 3.5 miles long, but more trails are planned and under construction. Currently parking is limited at the trailhead, but hopefully that will change as more work is done on the park and it’s connected to the Hickory Nut Gorge State Trail System.

Chimney Rock

Chimney Rock from above with a large American Flag flying and people walking on top. Much of the rest of the State Park can be seen below Chimney Rock and in the distance Lake Lure.
Chimney Rock from Above with Lake Lure in Distance

Morse’s original dream lives on today in Chimney Rock State Park. Unlike most state parks in North Carolina, the main section of Chimney Rock has a $17 admission fee, but the other two non connected areas are free to access.

Chimney Rock Attraction over Lake Lure

The Chimney Rock attraction first built by Morse continued to operate today much as it has for the last century. A part of the North Carolina State Parks system, the park not only includes the tall granite monolith it’s named after but a number of hiking trails, a waterfall, and the animal adventure zone.

Chimney Rock a large rock monolith standing next to bald cliff with people walking on top seen from below at the state park.
“The Rock” at Chimney Rock State Park can be seen for miles around and was used as a landmark for explorers and travelers. And can even be seen from nearby Lake Lure.

Once in the park you can either climb the 500 steps to the top or ride the elevator built through the middle of the mountain. Either way, you’ll be treated to an amazing view of Lake Lure and Hickory Nut Gorge from the top of the rock.

staircase leading up and over to the top of "Chimney Rock" rock outcrop as seen from the base of staircase American flag flying and trees seen growing atop outcrop
Stairs leading to to the top of Chimney Rock. The best vies of Lake Lure can be had right here.

Follow the trails along the top of the mountain to take in the view or the interesting rock formations, or just enjoy a refreshing beverage from the mountaintop deli.

More Information at the Main Chimney Rock Page

Non-Fee Areas of Chimney Rock State Park – Trails and rock climbing

green mountains with blue sky and clouds
Some of the best views of the surrounding mountains in Hickory Nut Gorge are found in this parking lot.
Rumbling Bald Access
large boulders with a small passage to the base of a larger and taller boulder
Breakfast Area just before the Cereal Buttress

It’s best to visit this spot in the cooler months because the sun bakes the rock face of the mountain and makes climbing if not impossible seriously ill advised. The vegetation in the warmer months also obscures the view of the boulder fields and the Cereal Buttress.

trail leading up an embankment with stones placed for steps
The trail becomes steep near Cereal Buttress as you climb to the highest point along the trail.
Eagle Rock Access

Limited parking at this site has held back development for decades, but now there’s some limited parking on site, so climbers don’t have to hike 10 miles to reach this spot. Parking is free, but you do need to sign up online for a parking permit. Otherwise you have park at Buffalo Creek Park and hike the 10 mile Weed Patch Mountain Trial to reach this spot.

boulders in woods with lots of vegetation
During the colder months, the boulders are clearly visible and climbable

Places to Eat near Lake Lure

Lake Lure and Chimney Rock Village just outside town are full of local restaurants to suit any taste. There are also plenty of spots for picnics around the town. Pool Creek Picnic Park right next to the lake has 5 picnic tables with grills. More tables are located in Morse Park and behind the Welcome Center. Chimney Rock Riverfront Park also has a couple tables in a shaded area next to the Broad River.

About Lake Lure

Nestled in the lowlands of Hickory Nut Gorge, Lake Lure has been a popular tourist attraction and get away for generations, but the landscape was once dramatically different. For centuries it was known only to the Cherokee who used the gorge to travel and trade with the flatlands to the south. Later it was just another a stop over on a drover’s “road” while moving livestock between northern and southern grazing lands.

river with mountains in the background
The back half of the Morse Park Trail has great views of mountains over the Rocky Broad River.

That all changed in 1890 when Jerome Freeman developed Chimney Rock into a tourist attraction. One of the earliest tourists was Dr. Lucius B. Morse. Having been diagnosed with tuberculosis, he felt like the fresh mountain air of the Hickory Nut Gorge improved his health. So with the financial backing of his brothers, he bought 400 acres of Chimney Rock Mountain from Freeman in 1902.

Morse spent the next few years developing Chimney Rock into the foremost tourist attraction in the area, but his ambition didn’t stop there. When his Chimney Rock Park was dedicated in 1916, he started planning the next phase of his mountain empire. Realizing that the rise of the automobile would make the American mobile like never before, he dreamt of building a summertime lake resort in the valley below Chimney Rock that would rival the largest and most elegant in the country. He know people would flock to it.

view of gazebo pillar and part of roof along with paved walkway flanked by river rocks then a wooden walkway beside lake - orange flowers in lower left corner
Gazebo and Promenade along the Morse Park Trail

The biggest obstacle standing in his way was that there wasn’t a lake for his lake resort, but Morse had a plan. Once again he turned to his brothers Hiram and Asahel and together they formed Chimney Rock Mountains, Inc to build the resort. Their company started discreetly buying up land in the vicinity of the little farming community of Buffalo, North Carolina. In total they bought nearly 8,000acres in the area.

Now that they had the land, they just needed a lake. Their next step was to form the Carolina Mountain Power Company which was wholly owned by Chimney Rock Mountains, Inc. In 1925, construction on the dam along the Broad River began. The dam was not only needed to form the lake but to generate power for the resort. The following year the dam was finished and Buffalo and it’s buildings including the schoolhouse were slowly submerged under water. By 1927 the lake was completely full and in 1928 the dam produced its first kilowatt of electricity.

hotel with Lake Lure Inn and Spa 1927 written on face and a large boulder in a grassy area infront
The Lake Lure Inn and Spa is the original inn built by the Morse family in hopes of creating a world class mountain resort.

In 1927 Morse built the Lake Lure Inn along the lake shore and the town was incorporated. All of the lake bed and surrounding land remained the property of Chimney Rock Mountains, Inc, so the Morse family essentially owned the town. Morse’s plans were steaming ahead like a runaway locomotive, it looked like nothing could derail his plans for a mountain paradise resort. But the unstoppable force of Morse’s ambition was soon to collide with the unmovable object of a collapsed world economy.

In 1929 as the worlds economies crumbled and banks began calling in loans, the holders of Chimney Rock Mountains, Inc mortgages foreclosed. The Morse family lost all of their holdings in Lake Lure, only retaining ownership of Chimney Rock mountain and park.

sign over stone path reading Lake Lure Flowering Bridge flowers and shrubs on each side
The Flowering Bridge is one of Lake Lure’s featured attractions.

As the mortgage companies sold off land around the lake, the Town of Lake Lure rose to prominence. It took over operation of the recreational facilities on the lake and continued the push to create a world class resort in the mountains. In 1969, after operating the lake for thirty years, the Town of Lake Lure was able to formally take possession of the lake itself. Over the past 50 years, Lake Lure has grown in conjunction with nearby Chimney Rock Village and has taken its place as one of the top travel destinations in Western North Carolina.

Map to Lake Lure