A long weekend in Lake Lure with Toddlers
Lake Lure is about an hour from Asheville and 2 hours from Charlotte, and so seems like a lovely long-weekend type of destination. We traveled to Lake Lure in August of 2019 with my parents and our two kids - age 1 and 2. We were invited to a kids-free wedding in the area, and my parents graciously offered to babysit. We actually spent a whole week in this area enjoying family time and wedding festivities. Below are my favorite experiences from that trip in a 2 full day itinerary that you could accomplish in a long-weekend or tacked on to other North Carolina adventures.
We stayed at this house in the Rumbling Bald resort on Lake Lure. It worked great for our family of four adults and two young children. It came with baby gear like a crib and high chair, and the highlight for our two year old was a tiny leaf blower that he could operate on his own. While not right on the lake, it was just a short drive to all sorts of resort amenities including a beach on the lake with lounge chairs, restaurants, a pool with a lazy river, and sports facilities.
Day 1 - Lake Life and Lake Lure Flowering Bridge
While we never found Rumbling Bald’s Beach to be crowded, we still enjoyed getting there first thing in the morning to enjoy it by ourselves for a little bit and scoop up the prime beach loungers.
There is a playground right on the beach and a restaurant and sports facilities nearby, so you could definitely turn lounging on the beach into an all-day affair with some breaks in between.
After a day at the beach and the nearby amenities, I recommend a visit to the Lake Lure Flowering Bridge. This bridge used to be open to traffic, but when a new bridge was built in 2011, the bridge was claimed as garden space. We visited at sunset which was incredibly pretty but the mosquitoes were out in full force. So definitely bring some bug spray.
Day 2 - Lake Life and Chimney Rock State Park
You must first and foremost enjoy the Lake , so I recommend making that first on your agenda.
After lunch and a nap, I recommend a visit to Chimney Rock State Park which is about 30 minutes from Rumbling Bald Beach Resort. If you aim to arrive around 4 PM, you can come back for free the next day which is what I wished we had done. We were just a tad early and didn’t realize until too late that if we had waited just a little bit, we could have come back the next day for free.
There is also an elevator you can take to the top of Chimney Rock, but it was broken during our visit. This seems like a common occurrence, but the good news is that you get a slight discount on your entry fee when this happens ($15 per adult instead of $17). But, we were happy to hike up the 500 steps to the top of the rock, and our 2 year old made it about half-way before requesting to be carried (not bad!).
We were pretty tuckered out after hauling our children up to the top of Chimney Rock, so we headed back to the resort for the evening. Chimney Rock seems to have several other short trails that would be good to do with kids. It would have been great to come back the next day and see Hickory Nut Falls.
Flights - I cashed in 22,500 American Airlines miles for three tickets from DC to Charlotte. So this only cost me $16.80 in taxes and fees. Hopefully you can get a cheap flight too and visit some nearby destinations to make it worth your while.
Lodging - Our house cost $195 / night and slept 6 people. The cost for our family of four for three nights was $294.
Rental Car and Gas - $143.47
Food - $101.. We drove in from the Charlotte airport, and so I put in a Walmart pickup order for the Forest City Walmart which was right on the way to our house. The closest grocery store to the Rumbling Bald Resort was a 30 minute drive away. So with a quick 10 minute detour, we got all our groceries and diapers, saved ourselves an hour and a half trip to the store, and the kids got a little longer car nap. I highly recommend that option. The resort food at Rumbling Bald was just meh and my mom is an awesome cook, so we only ate out twice during our week at the resort.
Activities - $30 for two adults to enter Chimney Rock State Park.
Total - $585.27