If you are a fan of the movie Dirty Dancing, you will definitely want to add a visit to Lake Lure, North Carolina to your list!
There are several ties to the movie including filming locations, cast lodging, and even an annual festival in honor of the movie.
This article is brought to you in partnership with Lake Lure & the Blue Ridge Foothills and contains affiliate links.
1. “Have the Time of Your Life” at the Dirty Dancing Festival
Morse Park Meadows (Welcome Center at Lake Lure)
2932 Memorial Highway, Lake Lure 28746
One of the best ways to start your Dirty Dancing themed adventure is by attending the Annual Dirty Dancing Festival in Lake Lure in September.
I attended the 8th Annual Dirty Dancing Festival and the festival has continued to grow bigger and better each year.
The Dirty Dancing Festival event is Friday evening 5-11PM and 9-5 PM on Saturday.
The all-day event is family-friendly with live bands and dance performances inspired by the movie. You even have the opportunity to watch a lakeside screening of the movie during the festival.
There are food and drink vendors on-site and you can even find a unique Dirty Dancing inspired souvenir from the vendors.
Competitions at the Dirty Dancing Festival
Dirty Dancing super fans can test your watermelon carrying skills with friendly competition, learn dance steps, partake in the best character look-alike contest, enter the amateur- intermediate Shag competition or Kellerman’s festival talent show contest.
The Dirty Dancing Festival Lake Lift Competition
The best part of the Dirty Dancing Festival, in my opinion, is the Lake Lift competition. The participants have two practice lifts before making their third try count.
Their final lift is judged by hold long the partner is held in the air by the lifter and how long the partner can hold their position as “Baby” with toe pointed, arms out, and legs lifted.
The year that I attended the festival, the coupled pictured above won it. They not only executed the perfect lift, they even dressed the part.
The competition is harder than it looks and it was so fun to cheer on the couples while they attempted to copy the scene.
We even witnessed a well-executed marriage proposal from a lake lift participant the year I attended the festival.
Before or after you attend the festival, I highly recommend checking out the Flowering Bridge nearby.
Dirty Dancing Festival After Parties
Just because the festival is over doesn’t mean that the party has to end. Two area resorts (Rumbling Bald Resort and Lake Lure Inn & Spa) both host Dirty Dancing Festival After Parties with live music and lots of FUN!
2. Golf at Bald Mountain Golf Course
162 Mountains Blvd, Lake Lure, NC
You can enjoy scenic views of the mountains and golf the par 3, 16th hole that was a scene location from the original “Dirty Dancing” movie.
You can recall the specific scene in the movie where Baby asks her father for money while he is playing at the golf course.
3. Sleep Where the Stars from Dirty Dancing Stayed
Sleep at the hotel where Dirty Dancing cast members Jennifer Grey and Patrick Swayze stayed during local filming at Lake Lure Inn & Spa.
If you want an even more themed experience, you can even rent a Dirty Dancing-themed cabin ( “Baby’s Bungalow” and “Johnny’s Cabin” )
The Lake Lure Inn & Spa is conveniently located across the street from the beach at Lake Lure.
The Inn has a lot of history dating back to 1927 with lots of famous guests including two Presidents, Calvin Coolidge, and Franklin Roosevelt.
Make sure that you also check out the 25 Music boxes from 1890-1910 in the lobby at the Inn. If you are lucky you might have a worker available who can tell you more about the pieces.
4. Dance on the Famous Floors at The Esmeralda Inn & Restaurant
910 Main St., Chimney Rock, NC
The iconic final dance scene performed by “Johnny” and “Baby” in Dirty Dance took place on the wood that was salvaged from the gymnasium and installed at the Inn’s foyer.
Dance a few steps in the foyer and then enjoy a great dinner with a gorgeous Mountain View from the side patio.
The “Artistry of Cheese” featuring three rotating local kinds of cheese served with seasonal fruits, accouterments, and house-made crackers.
Our table sampled several different appetizers followed by wonderful entrees.. and don’t forget to save room for dessert if you can.
5. View a Dirty Dancing Film Location from a boat
2930 Memorial Hwy., Lake Lure, NC 28746
Enjoy a relaxing day on the water with a pontoon boat tour with Lake Lure Tours. The lake is also one of places where Baby and Johnny’s practiced for their lake lift scene in the movie.
During peak season, Lake Lure Tours offers boat tours every hour on the hour. I would recommend scheduling ahead of time if you can to get your preferred time and day.
On your tour, you will see the stairs in the distance where “Baby” carried the watermelon and practiced her dance moves during a scene in the movie. *The stairs are on private property so this is probably as close to them as you can get.
The buildings from the indoor dance practice scenes and staff quarters were unfortunately demolished in the 1980s.
Lake Lure has a lot to offer Dirty Dancing fans and travelers in general. It’s a beautiful destination where you can make memories and have the time of your life too.
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1 thought on “5 Connections to the Film “Dirty Dancing” in Lake Lure”
omg – i’m so jealous – i’ve seen that movie no less than 500x!!! how fun!