You’ll find the charming town of Chimney Rock nestled in the heart of the North Carolina mountains. Panoramic mountain views and the relaxing sounds of the Rocky Broad River are a few reasons why visitors return year-after-year. Read on to discover the best things to do in Chimney Rock and Lake Lure, NC! Afterward, 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!

Send Me My Chimney Rock Guide

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. The most notable trail here is the Four Seasons Trail which climbs more than 400 feet!

In addition, 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 The Esmeralda Inn & Restaurant.

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 kayaking. Lake Lure is an excellent place for swimming and canoeing!

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 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.

More Fun Things to Do in Chimney Rock & Lake Lure

  1. October through November is leaf peeping season. During these months, you can look forward to a glorious explosion of colors. Driving the Blue Ridge Parkway is one of the best ways to enjoy the height of the colors! 
  2. September marks the beginning of apple picking season! The season kicks off with the NC Apple Festival. You’ll also find a variety of apple orchards to explore in the nearby town of Hendersonville.
  3. With beautiful year-round weather, it’s always a great time to play a round at one of the most beautiful golf courses on the East Coast!
  4. 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!
  5. Get a taste of North Carolina at a nearby winery or microbrewery!

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

Now that you’ve found the best things to do in Chimney Rock, it’s time to plan your next vacation! View our current specials to start planning your NC mountain getaway.

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