The Pup’s Travel Guide to Lake Lure, NC by Isabella and Penelope
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Lake Lure, North Carolina is one of the Southeast’s hidden gems. Nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in the Hickory Nut Gorge, Lake Lure is located right around the corner from Chimney Rock State Park, about half an hour from Asheville, and an hour and a half from Charlotte.
If you’re looking for a dog-friendly place to visit with tons of outdoor activities, a quaint little town and some of the most breathtaking views imaginable, look no further than Lake Lure. With its lush mountain tops and granite cliffs surrounding the still water of the lake, Lake Lure has a unique way of drawing you in.
And there’s no wrong season to visit. Autumn offers the spectacular views of the leaves changing colors, it’s quieter in the winter months, and visitors often get to experience snow, spring provides copious amounts of sunshine and cool weather, and summer brings the heat combined with beautiful green foliage and summer swims.
To help you plan your dog-friendly trip to Lake Lure, NC, I’ve combined all the best activities, restaurants and lodging in and around the Lake Lure area for you and Fido. So, without further ado, let’s get into it!
Get on the Water
First things first, you can’t visit Lake Lure and not spend some time out on the water. That’s why Lake Lure Adventure Company provides plenty of opportunities for you and Fido to get out on the water!
With boats, kayaks, and paddleboards available for rent, you and your pup can see Lake Lure the way it was meant to be seen – from the water. During the summer months, the lake tends to be a bit more crowded, but during the spring and fall, it’s not uncommon for you to be the only ones on the water (a hidden gem, remember?).
My husband, Alex, and I always rent a pontoon boat through Lake Lure Adventure Company when we visit so we can take Isabella and Penelope out on the water. There are tons of places along the shore where we can drop anchor and let the pups swim. And during the cooler months, it’s just so relaxing to cruise along the lake and take in the breathtaking views. I can’t honestly tell you who loves being out on the water more – Alex and I, or Isabella and Penelope. Actually, yes I can. Isabella. Always Isabella. The girl’s crazy about the water!
Hit the Trails
There are tons of great dog-friendly hiking trails in and around Lake Lure. If you’re looking for a very easy path, visit Morse Park. The park is nestled in a peninsula of the lake, so water almost entirely surrounds it. As you’re standing in Morse Park, looking up at the bald cliffs and green foliage as it casts shadows on the water surrounding you, it’s impossible to not be in awe. And while you’re taking in the natural beauty surrounding you, your pup can be on the lookout for the many squirrels that scamper along the path.
Inside Morse Park, there is a gazebo within a little meadow on the water. It’s actually where my husband and I got married with Isabella and Penelope as our flower girls.
If you’re looking for a bit more strenuous of a hiking trail, Chimney Rock State Park is right around the corner from Lake Lure. One of the great things about Chimney Rock is it houses several dog-friendly hiking trails for all fitness levels.
If you’re looking for a trek, start at the bottom of the park and work your way all the way up to the top. If you’re looking for a hike that is a little less lengthy, you can take the bus up the road a little further and start your hike at the infamous Chimney Rock Staircase. The bus does allow canine passengers.
Off of the staircase trail, there is also an easy trail that leads down to a beautiful waterfall.
At the top of all the stairs is the peak, offering unparalleled views of the Blue Ridge Mountains and Lake Lure, and there is also an option to go higher for an even more difficult hike. Making it to the very top is a bit more challenging to do with your dog, but it can be done. I would not recommend completing this part of the trail with a small dog.
If you and Fido started at the very bottom of the trail and are pooped after the hike to the top, you can always hop aboard the bus at the bottom of the stairs. It will drop you off at the lowest parking lot.
If you’re looking for more hiking trails outside of the immediate Lake Lure area, there are quite a few dog-friendly hiking trails on the way to Asheville (only 27 miles away). You can find some of them listed here.
Visit a Winery or Brewery
Within the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains are a plethora of vineyards and breweries. It’s always best to call ahead to ensure a brewery or winery is pet-friendly before visiting, but a majority of the ones in the area do allow dogs.
Parker-Binns Vineyard is one of our favorites to take Isabella and Penelope to. Owned by Bob and Karen Binns, Parker-Binns Vineyard is located on 10 acres covered in row after row of grapevines with the Blue Ridge Mountains as the backdrop. It’s a beautiful place to sip different North Carolina made wines with your pup.
Only half an hour from Lake Lure, Asheville has a lot to offer pups and their owners. From the Biltmore Estate, restaurants and shops in downtown Asheville, to hiking and water excursions on the French Broad River, there are plenty of dog-friendly activities to partake in.
If you’re going to be in Lake Lure for several days, I highly recommend spending a day adventuring in Asheville.
There are quite a few dog-friendly restaurants offering delectable cuisine within Lake Lure. I’ve listed a few of our favorites to take Isabella and Penelope to below.
- Tree Tops Restaurant at the Lodge on Lake Lure – Tree Tops another lakeside dining restaurant creates dishes made from locally sourced ingredients. Pets are welcome all day long at the outdoor tables offering water and mountain views.
- Veranda Restaurant – Located at The Historic 1927 Lake Lure Inn & Spa, the Veranda Restaurant offers gourmet fare in an elegant dining room filled with 1920s decor. The food is delicious, and the views are unparalleled. The Veranda Restaurant catered Alex’s and my wedding reception, and I can say without bias that the food is outstanding! Pups are welcome to join you while you dine on the terrace just off the dining room. You’ll be able to enjoy the food while taking in the cool, mountain breeze and scenic views.
The Best Places to Stay
Whether you’re looking to stay in a charming inn, you prefer renting a cabin or house, or you’re planning on camping out, Lake Lure has plenty of great dog-friendly accommodation options.
Each time my family goes to Lake Lure, we always choose to stay at The 1927 Lake Lure Inn & Spa. Not only does this charming, historic inn have a special place in Alex and my heart (it’s where we had our wedding reception), but the rooms and the service are second to none.
All of the guest rooms within the Lake Lure Inn are decked out in 1920s decor, and many have large jacuzzis as well. There are also luxurious suites within the inn and three cabins located off the main inn as well. Portions of the beloved film Dirty Dancing were filmed in Lake Lure, and the cast stayed at The 1927 Lake Lure Inn & Spa while shooting, so many of the suites and cabins were named after the characters or stars of the film.
Another great pet-friendly place to stay in Lake Lure, NC is the Rumbling Bald Resort. However, only small dogs are permitted. The Rumbling Bald Resort offers a variety of luxurious all-inclusive amenities and beautiful views of the lake and mountains.
If you prefer staying in a house or cabin, be sure to check out Airbnb and VRBO for a variety of pet-friendly vacation rentals. Many of these houses and cabins can be found right on the lake, and others have unparalleled views of the mountains. During the summer months, these rentals do tend to fill up quickly, so you’ll want to book your trip in advance.
Need Help Planning Your Adventure?
Whew! We’ve covered a lot of ground!
I hope you’ve found The Pup’s Travel Guide to Lake Lure, NC helpful! If you have any questions about any of the activities, accommodations or restaurants I’ve listed above, leave a comment or send me a message (https://www.isabellaandpenelope.com/contact). I’d love to help you and your pup plan your trip to one of my favorite places in North Carolina.