You'll find the charming town of Chimney Rock nestled in the heart of the Western North Carolina mountains. Panoramic mountain views and the Rocky Broad River's relaxing sounds are a few reasons why visitors return year-after-year. As one of the most sought-after mountain regions in the country, our area offers all the best things to do in Chimney Rock and Lake Lure, NC! Find more reasons to fall in love with our mountain town in our free vacation guide. This comprehensive guide is full of recommendations on restaurants, parks, events, and more so that you can spend less time planning and more time having fun!  

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The Best Things to Do in Chimney Rock & Lake Lure

1. Enjoy Panoramic Views of the Hickory Nut Gorge

Chimney Rock State Park offers endless outdoor fun! It is the perfect way to reconnect with nature while spending time with friends and family. One of the most notable hike trails here is the Hickory Nut Falls Trail, which leads to the base of the waterfall!  

The overlook at Chimney Rock State Park is breathtaking. You can climb or ride an elevator 2,280 feet to the top of Chimney Rock for an incredible 75-mile panorama of Hickory Nut Gorge, Lake Lure, and the Blue Ridge Foothills. Be sure to have your camera handy! This beautiful park is only five minutes away from our award-winning bed & breakfast, The Esmeralda Inn, Restaurant & Spa. 

2. Explore the NC Mountains on a Horseback Riding Adventure 

If you are looking for a unique way to explore the mountains, plan a horseback riding tour! Cedar Creek Stables offers the opportunity for a once-in-a-lifetime Lake Lure horseback riding experience through the beautiful landscapes of North Carolina. If you are interested in planning a day of horseback riding, remember to check out our Mountain Adventure Package 

3. Spend a Day on the Water 

There are so many waterways to explore in Chimney Rock and Lake Lure. Some of our favorite places include the Rocky Broad River, the Green River, and Lake Lure. The rivers are perfect for white water rafting, tubing, and fishing. The best way to enjoy Lake Lure tours is from a pontoon boat, canoe, or kayak! 

Fishing and boating are also popular activities on Lake Lure, the Hickory Nut Gorge, and the Rocky Broad River. In the Hickory Nut Gorge, you will find rainbow trout, brown trout, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, crappie, white bass, catfish, bluegill, and sun-perch. Lake Lure is stocked with trout, bass, bluegill, and catfish every year! Because state fishing licenses and boat permits are required, guided boat tours are typically the best way for out-of-state visitors to spend a day fishing.  

4. Go Shopping in Downtown Chimney Rock 

Chimney Rock is full of locally owned stores and boutique shops. Grab a refreshing cup of joe at Coffee on the Rocks and hit Main Street for a day of shopping! Don't forget to stop by Bubba O'Leary's for some homemade, mouthwatering fudge. Yum! Remember to take a look at our free vacation guide for more shopping recommendations. 

5. Celebrate Year-Round 

No matter when you visit Chimney Rock, you can always look forward to fun events, festivals, and celebrations in Chimney Rock Village! One of the area's most popular events is the Dirty Dancing Festival. Live music, dance lessons, craft vendors, and fun competitions, like the watermelon carry and the Lake Lift, are a few things that Dirty Dancing fans will love about this festival!  

For a complete list of annual events, take a look at our events calendar 

Chocolate fudge at a shop.

6. Enjoy Leaf Peeping in the Blue Ridge Mountains

October through November is the peak leaf-peeping season. During these months, you can look forward to a glorious explosion of colors. Take a scenic day trip along the Blue Ridge Parkway for one of the best ways to enjoy the best colors of the season!  

7. Spend a Day at the Golf Course

The natural beauty of our area provides the perfect backdrop for the area's golf courses. Rolling hills, flowing streams, scenic views, wildlife sightings, and beautiful year-round weather make our golf courses extra special. We know you'll love spending a day on these greens!  

8. Relax at The Esmeralda Spa

Take some time to relax and revitalize your spirit on your next Western North Carolina getaway. The Esmeralda features a beautiful day spa located right on the grounds of our inviting bed & breakfast. Enjoy tranquility from the comfort of our inn or embrace the warmth of a hot-stone massage as it refreshes your body.

9. Walk Across the Lake Lure Flowering Bridge

No list of things to do in Lake Lure is complete without the Lake Lure Flowering Bridge. This garden is free and open to the public from sunrise until sunset. It offers beautiful views of the Rocky Broad River. There is no other garden in the world like it!  

10. Find your Favorite Winery or Microbrewery 

The hills of the Blue Ridge Mountains are filled with exceptional selections of wine, craft beer, and spirits. This beautiful mountain region houses several wineriesbreweries, and distilleries. Everything you need to plan your perfect beverage trail journey is right here. The Western North Carolina Mountains are your passport to some of the best spirits you have ever tasted.  

Book Your Next Getaway at The Esmeralda!  

Escape the ordinary and experience the splendor of The Esmeralda Inn, Restaurant, and Spa on your next getaway to the Western North Carolina Mountains. We offer an experience that you won't find anywhere else in the area—our inn features inviting guest roomsspacious cabins, premium amenities, and relaxing spa packages. Everything from our specialty couples' massages to our award-winning restaurant will make your stay unforgettable. 

For a cozy night in the mountains, stay in our Rocky Broad River Cabin! This cozy cabin features two bedrooms, two bathrooms, and great views from every window! 

Check our availability and book your stay. The beauty of Western North Carolina something that you have to see for yourself! 

The Esmeralda Rocky-Broad-Cabin-front

Resources for Planning Your Trip

View the videos below to learn why the Chimney Rock/Lake Lure area was named the “Best Mountain Lake Getaway in the Carolinas.”

The Esmeralda Inn & Restaurant