Getaway to The Real-Life Dirty Dancing Resort Town

Getaway to The Real-Life Dirty Dancing Resort Town: Lake Lure, North Carolina


Johnny (Patrick Swayze): “I’ll never be sorry.”

Baby (Jennifer Grey): “Neither will I.”


You won’t be sorry either when you and your Dirty-Dancing-loving friends take your next getaway to Lake Lure in NC, and attempt your version of the swan lift in the very same spot that Johnny and Baby did! Located just 26 miles from Asheville in the Hickory Nut Gorge, Lake Lure is the perfect spot for a relaxing weekend.


Where to Stay


There are plenty of lakeside homes available for rent, and some of them are really lovely. But if you’re looking for a truly old-fashioned resort experience, try the historic Lake Lure Inn and Spa. Built in 1927, this hotel still has many original art deco details dating back to its construction. Choose from a room inside the inn itself, or rent a Dirty Dancing-themed cabin — “Baby’s Bungalow” and “Johnny’s Cabin”. The Lake Lure Beach is right across the street, and the inn is within easy walking distance to shops and restaurants. 


What to Do


  • Dirty Dancing Festival 

Held every August, the town recreates some of the iconic notables from the 1987 movie. During the festival you can watch the movie, take a dance lesson, eat delicious food, or even enter the lake-lifting competition.


  • Chimney Rock State Park

Less than 10 minutes away from Lake Lure, Chimney Rock State Park will be a true high point of your vacation — in more ways than one. I recommend visiting the park on the first full day of your visit, simply because you’ll spot Chimney Rock in the distance often during your stay and it’s much more inspiring to see it after you’ve been to the top. In order to see the two main features of this park, plan to devote your entire day to it.


Be sure to hike Hickory Nut Falls Trail too.  This easy .75-mile trail takes you to a 404-foot waterfall. It’s the second highest waterfall east of the Mississippi River. A waterfall is incredible under any conditions — and you’ll be glad you made the effort to see this one.


  • Lake Lure boat tour

There’s no better way to get to know Lake Lure than by guided boat tour. You’ll see spectacular lake views of Chimney Rock and Rumbling Bald Mountain, learn about Lake Lure’s history, see where some of Dirty Dancing’s most memorable scenes were filmed (including Baby and Johnny’s swan lift practice), see luxury homes, and hear some of the local gossip.


When you’re hungry, stop at Esmeralda Inn Chimney Rock Restaurant, located just a few minutes from the park’s entrance. Have your camera handy--the grounds provide a gorgeous backdrop for pictures.


  • Eat at La Strada at Lake Lure. whether it’s for lunch or dinner, this popular Italian restaurant is always busy. Here you’ll find hearty portions of Italian staples like pizza, lasagna, and spaghetti and meatballs, as well as traditional American fare like burgers, steaks and grilled fish.


Why not plan now for your next girls weekend in Lake Lure, NC? You can talk it over as you make them Patrick Swayze's Penne With Chicken and Sun Dried Tomatoes, and mixing up a Thyme of Your Life cocktail. You’ll find both recipes in Let’s Eat.




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