The Gem of the Carolinas: Lake Lure

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For authentic family fun and a Fourth of July like no other,  indulge your family’s senses in the  natural beauty of this North Carolina mountain town.

Growing up, Fourth of July at the Driggs household meant packing up our bathing suits, stocking up on a week’s worth of groceries and hitching up the boat to head to the Blue Ridge Mountain hideaway known as Lake Lure, North Carolina.  Today, some 20 years later, while it has evolved slightly Lake Lure still provides a relaxing getaway for families and puts on the best darn Fourth of July fireworks show in the world.

Where to Stay

You’ve got plenty of options for lodging in Lake Lure.  There are cottages in the woods, bed and breakfasts in the mountains and houses on the lake.  The prices vary, but it’s certain you’ll find something that will fit your budget.  While the off-season – from Labor Day to Memorial Day – guarantees a much lower rate, I recommend splurging if you can and visiting during the summer months, when there’s an undeniable spark in the air.

On a recent trip with my family, we stayed at the Lake Lure Golf and Beach Resort.  This lakeside resort provides the perfect lodging experience for families of all sizes.  Days can be spent on the lake (if you don’t have a boat of your own, you can rent one from the marina) or at any of the three swimming pools. Happy, 2, enjoyed the pool more than the lake, which was also more relaxing for Mom.  However, if you have water skiers in your family, the lake is the way to go.

The resort has on the premises two 18-hole championship golf courses and two driving ranges; lit tennis courts; a game room and teen center; market; spa and fitness center; Jacuzzi and sauna; sand volleyball, basketball and shuffleboard courts; video rentals; and a Summer Mountain Kids Club.  The living accommodations provide basic home-like amenities such as refrigerators and stoves if you like to eat in.  However, there are plenty of dining alternatives on the property if you’re looking for a night away from the kitchen.

Perhaps the best part about the Lake Lure Golf and Beach Resort, though, is its annual Fourth of July celebration.  The day is filled with events for the whole family: a golf cart parade, an ice cream social, games for the kids, an arts and crafts sale, fire truck rides and (of course) the crème de la crème: the nighttime fireworks display.  While best viewed from the lake, it’s an amazing experience no matter where your seats are!

While your entire Lake Lure visit could be spent exclusively at the resort, there’s plenty more to keep you busy in the rest of this mountain town.

Chimney Rock Park

A trip to Lake Lure definitely merits a day’s trip to Chimney Rock Park, a massive rock formation overlooking beautiful Hickory Nut Gorge.  To reach the top, visitors board an elevator and climb the 26 stories through a granite shaft.  Once there, you can view all the beauty of the gorge from various angles, visit the gift shop or dine at the snack bar.  A hike through the Skyline Trail Loop will take you to the top of Hickory Nut Falls, which has a vertical drop of 404 feet.  (Recognize the scene from the film The Last of the Mohicans, starring Daniel Day-Lewis?)  You can also climb 185 stairs through the Needle’s Eye, a narrow passage in the granite between “Rock Pile” and “Pulpit Rock.”  Other park options include guided hikes, picnicking, sightseeing and shopping in nearby Bat Cave.  I like to think of Chimney Rock Park as Mother Nature’s playground – an exhausting experience that ensures several hours of naptime afterward.

Water Fun for Everyone

If your family likes to waterski, or if they want to learn how, I suggest enlisting the services of the Lake Lure Adventure Company.  Professional ski instructors will teach children ages 5 and older how to ski or wakeboard.  Adventure guides can also help the experienced skier get in a little extra practice.  Other guided tours include canoe, raft or kayak trips on the French Broad River.
Tubing on the French Broad or Green Rivers is another exhilarating Lake Lure experience.  Settle into your innertube and let the currents carry you for a few hours.  Enjoy the views of nature while relaxing in the cool water.  At $10 per person, it’s well worth the expense, but should probably be reserved for strong swimmers with no fear of the water.

If a relaxing day at the beach is more your style, then head to the beach at Lake Lure.  The water front has beautiful white sand (yes, in the mountains!) and all the amenities you could possibly need, including a snack bar, showers, restrooms and picnic areas.  There is a special kids’ – Beach Water Works – featuring games, bumper boats, water slides and more.  And, don’t worry – the lifeguard is always on duty.

My suggestion?  Gather the troops, pack up the car and head to the mountains … and a world of undiscovered fun!

Getting There

Gather Lake Lure information before you go:

Chimney Rock Park
www.chimneyrockpark.com

Lake Lure Adventure Company
828-625-8066; www.lakelureadventurecompany.com

Lake Lure Golf and Beach Resort
800-260-1040; www.lakeluregolf.com

Lake Lure Tours, Marina and Beach
877-FUN4ALL; www.lakelure.com

Living Water Tubing
828-625-1990

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