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Nestled at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains in the heart of Hickory Nut Gorge, Lake Lure is a charming small town with stunning mountain views and a crystal-clear lake from which it takes its name. It’s known in popular culture as a filming location for cult classics, but it’s hardly a touristy stop-over. Less than an hour southeast of Asheville, Lake Lure is one of western North Carolina’s top destinations for outdoor recreation, thanks to its long bays, vast stretches of water, and a beautiful backdrop of mountain scenery. From hiking to birding, summer fishing to winter skiing, the area draws visitors seeking to soak in the beauty of nature from a cozy lakefront home base.
Lake Lure is conveniently located near a trio of regional and international airports. The closest is Asheville Regional Airport (AVL), about 45 minutes west by car. Alternatively, Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport (GSP) is less than an hour’s drive south of Lake Lure, and offers a handful more flights, including destinations on the East Coast. Finally, Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT) is 1.5 hours east, with direct flights to most major cities east of the Rockies, as well as Canada and Mexico. Lake Lure is too small to support a public transportation system, but there are several shuttle and limousine services that transport guests to various resorts. Most locals drive between destinations, though bicycling or walking are popular in fair weather, especially along the scenic Town Center Walkway at the heart of the village.
Lake Lure is located in the Isothermal Belt, famous for its remarkably mild weather despite its location surrounded by mountains. Depending on the season when you book one of the area’s vacation rentals, air may be warmer or cooler on the mountains than the base of the 2,200-foot valley. Summer temperatures peak in the upper 80s Fahrenheit with very little humidity, dropping to the low 60s in the evenings. Winter is cooler: Temperatures average around 50 degrees, dropping to just below freezing once the sun goes down. In spring and summer the mountains act as a kind of insulation, stretching the valley’s warmer periods, making for pleasant seasons year-round.
Bordering Lake Lure is this 8,000-acre state park with hiking trails to accommodate all levels. The park is named for the famous granite monolith towering 315 feet in the air — a must-see for any visitor. It’s accessible by elevator, and on clear days, it provides views of the park and surrounding area for miles around.
Open Memorial Day through Labor Day, the privately owned Lake Lure Beach shoreline stretches 27 miles and features wide expanses of sand perfect for family-friendly play. There’s an admission fee, which includes the water park: its slides, splash pad, and water balloon zone are all big hits with kids on hot summer days.
These two small towns — each about a half-hour from Lake Lure — are unique in their history and culture, and worth checking out on a day trip. South of Lake Lure, Tryon has long been a retreat for writers and artists, as well as a world-renowned hub for equestrian competitions. Equidistant from Tryon and Lake Lure is the small city of Hendersonville, home to an aviation museum and a railroad museum as well as the 12-acre Bullington Gardens.