Lake Lure

Distance from Charlotte: 91 miles

The rustic town of Lake Lure's mountain-hugged lake and winding roads look like something out of a movie — and maybe that's because they are (try this trio: Dirty Dancing, Last of the Mohicans, My Fellow Americans). Here, colorful homes peek out from the peaks and boats skip across blue water. So pack your paddles and come for the day.


To hit the water, head over to the lake lure Tours marina, where you can purchase tickets for boat rentals, lunch and dinner cruises, beach access, and daily tours of the lake. Don't miss the Twilight Cruise, where sailing around for an hour and a half as the sun sets into the water is all in a night's work (offered exclusively from June to August; $21 per adult). 2930 Memorial Hwy., 877-386-4255

Just up the road from the lake is Chimney Rock State Park. The famous rock overlooks Lake Lure and offers seventy-five-mile views from its stony peak.


If you've worked up an appetite wakeboarding and waterskiing on the lake, you're in luck. Just across the street is lake lure Smokehouse, where you'll find Western North Carolina barbecue that'll make you forget all about Lexington's — at least for the day. For a real treat, try the fan-favorite babyback ribs, which are dry rubbed with sixteen spices, and smoked until fall-offthe-bone-tender. 2771 Memorial Hwy., 828-625-0937


Tee off on the picturesque golf course at Rumbling Bald Resort for an afternoon full of fresh air, warm sun, and slowpaced fun apart from the water. For a faster go, cap off the day with just a nine-hole round after 4 p.m. The course has been celebrated in Golf Digest as one of the country's "Places to Play," but a Dirty Dancing scene shot here made the sixteenth green particularly famous. 112 Mountains Blvd., 800-419-3854


Slide on a pair of skis (slalom or barefoot, too), strap a wakeboard to your ankles, or mount a wakesurfing board to hit the lake. For swimming or fishing, grab your suit and poles and cruise the water on a rented pontoon boat, locked and loaded with floats and a cooler. And for those fishing aficionados or wannabes, sign up for a daytime guided fishing trip or a nighttime fly-fishing excursion. U.S. 64/74 and Buffalo Shoals Rd., 828-625-8066


Breathe in the fresh mountain air and hear the birds chirp as you hike the threemile looping trails along the Donald Ross Nature Trail. The wooded paths are well marked and wide — not to mention stunning — with ten trail choices that vary in rigor by terrain.


If you care to do more than ride waves, try  horseback riding at Cedar Creek Stables. You'll trot along one of three Blue Ridge trails (the Nettles, Laurel Mountain, or Overlook), each lined with wooded creek walks that cover a total of 350 acres. Take the reins for a chance to see this scenic town without a seat belt. 542 Cedar Creek Rd., 828-625-211


Sink your teeth into the signature prime rib, with sautéed shrimp and scallops, as you enjoy the view from this lakefront dining room. Head downstairs after dinner to the Bayfront Bar and Grill and sink your feet into the lake as you sip drinks on the dock, overlooking the crystal-blue water. 1020 Memorial Hwy., 828-625-4075

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