Skip to content

Things To Do

Whether you are visiting for the day or living in Rutherford County, there are plenty of exciting adventures!

Parks and Trails

The Thermal Belt Rail-Trail is 13.5 miles in length and 12 feet wide.  The Trail is paved and runs from Gilkey to Forrest Hunt Elementary. The trail travels through Ruth, Spindale, Rutherfordton, and Forest City.  Residents utilize this amazing trail daily to bike, run or rollerblade in a safe environment.  The trail provides plenty of space for kids to ride along too.  Please visit for more information on this fantastic trail!


The town of Rutherfordton is home to the Kiwanis Park, Purple Martin Trail, Crestview Park, and the Bechtler Mint Site Historic Park.

Isothermal Community College in Spindale, NC offers multiple trails totaling 3.3 miles.  This trail system was built by volunteers from the Rutherford Outdoor Coalition (ROC).

Forest City is home to Crowe Park and the  Charles R Summey Park.  Both parks offer recreation equipment and softball/baseball fields.

Honeysuckle Park is in Cliffside and offers playground equipment, baseball fields and tennis courts.

Chimney Rock State Park – A state park just a few minutes from beautiful Lake Lure, NC.  The park offers an animal discovery den, elevator, rock climbing, and a variety of trails and breathtaking views.

Family Activities

Kidsenses Children’s Museum.  This museum offers learning and enrichment opportunities for babies up to 10 years old.  There are learning exhibits, interactive displays, and opportunities for creative play.  Summer camps are also available.

For children ages 11 & up, visit the Factory.  The Factory features Maker Space, Robotics Lab, and a 3-D Print Shop.  Please visit the website at to learn all about opportunities offered.

POPS – Pavilion on Park Square in Forest City.  POPS was completed in 2019 and residents as well as visitors have enjoyed this unique venue.   A 2,000-seat amphitheater is located within the pavilion as well as a plaza that offers concessions and restrooms.  There are two splashpads also located inside the pavilion that offer a refresher from the heat for the young and young at heart.  From concerts in the amphitheater to children and families enjoying the splash pad, POPS is great for the entire family.  It is also located near the Thermal Belt Rail Trail and downtown Forest City, where the best foods and sweets can be enjoyed after a fun day exploring.

Please visit to learn more about the Pavilion on Park Square.

Lake Lure and Chimney Rock are situated about 20 miles west of Rutherfordton.  Come out for a day of boating or fishing on Lake Lure.  Visit the Lake Lure Beach Area or vacation in Rumbling Bald Resort.  Rumbling Bald Resort offers two scenic golf courses, Apple Valley and Bald Mountain.  The services offered at Rumbling Bald consist of a variety of lake activities, a wellness center, kids adventure camp, racket sports, and hiking trails.

Located in neighboring Polk County, you will want to take some time to visit the Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC).  Join family and friends to view horse competitions, enjoy fine dining and kids activities (including face painting, concerts and a carousel).  Please visit for a list of events and activities.

Rutherford County is home to then Broad River and Green River which offer excellent fishing, kayaking and tubing.  Hiking is available in Lake Lure and Chimney Rock, visit

Shopping and Dining

There are shops located in all of the downtown areas.  Fill your afternoon shopping for antiques, home décor or homemade arts and crafts.  Some of the best shopping experiences include: Dive Bomber Vintage Mall and the Chow Hound Canteen, Rutherford Visual Artist GuildHarrill & Harrill Design, Cozy Home, Frame House Gallery, Cabin Fever and Blue Ridge Design.  There is also a great gift shop located inside Smith’s Drug Store and Hardin’s Drug Store.

Coffee/Dessert shops include:  American Fudge, Main Street Coffee & Ice Cream, Pelican's Snoballs, as well as the Pie Safe Baking Company.

Grab a healthy shake or tea at AMP Nutrition or Hillz Nutrition Haven.

Enjoy a delicious meal at Copper Penny, Sakura, Don’s Italian, La Strada, Mi Pueblito, Fly Boys Pizza and the Forest City Fish Camp.