best small towns in North Carolina

What Makes Lake Lure & Chimney Rock the Best Small Towns in North Carolina?

Friendly locals, a unique downtown area, and beautiful mountain scenery are the ideal qualities of the best small towns in North Carolina. Luckily, Chimney Rock and Lake Lure have them all! Our beautiful mountain towns are full of culture and excitement while maintaining that one-of-a-kind small-town charm. To start planning your next visit and get a glimpse of our unique small-town experience, request access to our free Chimney Rock Vacation Guide! Inside you’ll find the details on all the best attractions, eateries, entertainment, and more!  

The Best Small Towns in North Carolina: Our Favorite Things About Lake Lure & Chimney Rock 


Our town may be small, but it’s full of exciting possibilities. There are many fantastic things to do in Lake Lure, Chimney Rock, and the surrounding area. Whether you want to stay close to town or explore more of the Western North Carolina region, these fascinating landmarks are within two hours of Chimney Rock and Lake Lure!  

  • Chimney Rock State Park | 6,800-acre state park with scenic vistas, hiking trails, beautiful waterfalls, and rock-climbing adventures. 
  • Pisgah National Forest | Features more than 512,000 acres of hardwood forest with mile-high mountain peaks, whitewater rivers, thundering cascades, and hundreds of miles of hiking trails.  
  • Blue Ridge Parkway | Scenic roadway that stretches more than 250 miles and features gorgeous overlooks, hiking trails, and panoramic views of the Blue Ridge Mountains.  
  • Great Smoky Mountains National Park | 522,000-acre national park that includes a portion of the Appalachian Trail and features streams, rivers, waterfalls, and diverse plant life.  
  • Grandfather Mountain |5,946-foot peak in the Blue Ridge Mountains with more than 2,400 acres of mountain backcountry, hiking trails, and an expansive ecological diversity.  


Our community comes together multiple times a year to celebrate local traditions, prepare delicious foods, and enjoy unique festivities at various must-see local events. You’re always welcome to join us for boat parades, food & beer festivals, live music performances, and more. We hope to see you at the next celebration! 

  • Lake Lure Polar Plunge 
  • Lake Lure Arts & Crafts Festival 
  • Lake Lure Annual Boat Parade 
  • Beats, Burgers, and Brews  
  • Annual Dirty Dancing Festival 


Of course, the best small towns in Western North Carolina also offer the best accommodations in the region! At The Esmeralda, we pride ourselves in providing all our guests with a remarkable experience from the moment they step through our doors.

Esmeralda Inn Accommodations

Our historic inn sits just across Chimney Rock and offers breathtaking views from just about anywhere on our property. So, whether you’re enjoying a complimentary breakfast, sitting in a rocking chair on the balcony, or unwinding in our Premium Mountain View Rooms, you can admire Mother Nature’s stunning beauty from the comfort of The Esmeralda!  

Check our availability and book your stay at the best bed & breakfast in Lake Lure and Chimney Rock today! We can’t wait to meet you.