North Carolina is home to beautiful oceanfront towns, big cities, and spectacular mountains. All of this makes it easy to see why a resort vacation here would be one for the books.
Whether you’re looking to relax by the ocean, hike the mountains, explore the largest home in America, or exhaust your kids on waterslides – I guarantee there’s a resort vacation waiting for you in North Carolina.
On The Coast
The ocean is calling your name! Or maybe you just want to relax by the lake? These North Carolina resorts are all located right on the water, so pack your swimsuit, it’s time to relax.
Sanderling Resort offers four different types of accommodations for every type of vacation experience. One of three main buildings, the North Inn is perfect for families as it overlooks the family-friendly pool! The Beach House is the building in the middle of the resort and is close to the bar and fire pit. The South Inn building is quieter and perfect for couples, as it overlooks the ocean and the adults-only pool. And if you’re looking for something for a larger group gathering, the resort also offers vacation rental homes – that can sleep from 8 to 16 people!
You’ll never run out of things to do here! The resort is home to an award-winning spa – the Spa at Sanderling. If you’re looking to get out and explore, golf, tennis, yoga, bike rentals, horseback riding, and a wild horses tour are some of the options available.
And don’t forget the water sports! Every water sport you can imagine is offered – kayak tours, SUP tours and lessons, surf lessons, sailing lessons, jet ski rentals, parasailing, kite boarding, dolphin tours, and even jet pack and fly board adventures!
You’ll find several restaurants on the property, including Kimball’s Kitchen which offers fresh seafood, an extensive wine list, and to-die-for views.
This boutique hotel is located on 3 acres on a ridge between the Pamlico Sound and the Buxton Woods coastal preserve on the Outer Banks. What does that mean? It means you’re surrounded by the immense natural beauty of the area!
The Inn on Pamlico Sound offers waterfront accommodations – with each room having a private bath and sitting area. And if you’re looking for a little romance, this inn offers a variety of romance packages – from rose petals and wine in your room, to picnic lunches prepared by their chef to take on your outings.
With so much to do in the area, the inn tells their guests to just see where the day takes them! The Inn on Pamlico Sound is located on Hatteras Island, just minutes from the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. Walk the beaches on the search for shells, or use a complimentary kayak, SUP, or bike to tour the waters and the island. Windsurfing and kiteboarding are also popular activities for the adventurous ones in your party.
The inn offers an award-winning gourmet breakfast each morning, which is sure to get your day started off on the right foot. And Café Pamlico, the inn’s signature restaurant, offers locally sourced seafood and meats, with an ever-changing menu to reflect that.
This resort on Wrightsville Beach in Wilmington offers rooms that look out over the sailboats in the harbor, and rooms that overlook the beautiful Atlantic Ocean. And if you’re looking for even more, their premiere rooms offer private balconies with an outdoor fireplace!
In addition to all the fun found on the beach, at Blockade Runner Beach Resort you’ll find impressive gardens right on the water, a fitness center, a swimming pool, and water activities such as kayaking, paddleboarding, canoeing, sailing, and fishing.
Offering both indoor and outdoor oceanfront dining, EAST Oceanfront offers dishes such as the North Carolina Blue Crab omelet for breakfast, and fresh, locally-sourced seafood for dinner. You’ll also find an amazing Sunday Bruch here.
And if you have kids, this place is ready for you! They offer kid camps in the summer, animal encounters on summer Saturdays, movie nights on Fridays that include dinner (!!), and babysitting services. Sounds like the perfect family-friendly place!
Located on Wrightsville Beach, Shell Island Resort offers 169 rooms, and they all overlook the Atlantic Ocean! Each room has its own private balcony, living room with a sleeper sofa, and a kitchenette. Each unit is individually owned, so each is decorated differently but offer the same amenities.
Guests can expect to find an indoor and outdoor pool, a jacuzzi, a fitness center, beach volleyball, and of course – the beach! You can rent any type of equipment needed for beach activities from the Tiki Hut on the property, like surfboards, SUPs, and kayaks. Bicycles and beach umbrellas can also be rented, which are a great way to explore Wilmington.
Shell Island Restaurant offers a buffet breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and offers indoor and outdoor seating options. Enjoying dinner while overlooking the ocean sounds pretty perfect to me!
Right on the banks of Lake Toxaway in the western North Carolina mountains, you’ll find The Greystone Inn.
Here you’ll find 30 guest rooms and suites, and five vacation homes. Whether you’re looking for lake views and fireplaces, or private entrances and terraces, there is a room or suite that will be perfect for a relaxing getaway. The vacation homes range from a 2-bedroom cottage, to 5-bedroom homes.
So now that you’ve found the perfect accommodations, what should you do next? The Greystone Inn has the answer – and it’s basically, whatever you want! If you just want to relax on the property, that’s perfect. If you want to spend the day at their amazing spa (and you should), they offer plenty of services. Rent a kayak, SUP or boat and explore the freshwater lake. Or hit the links at the Lake Toxaway Country Club.
The Greystone Inn is located in near many beautiful hiking trails and waterfalls – there are almost 250 in the area! Making a short trip to visit one would be an easy adventure.
The Lakeside Dining Room is open to the public and is open year-round. Here you’ll find a peaceful setting with the dining room overlooking the mountains, and seasonal menus inspired by your surroundings.
Elmwood 1820 Bed & Breakfast is located in Washington, North Carolina and offers four bedrooms and an expansive front porch where you can enjoy your breakfast when the weather is nice!
The town of Washington, NC, commonly referred to as “Little Washington,” is located right on the Pamlico River in Beaufort County. This town is known for having one of the largest public access waterfronts in the south, so watersports are very popular here.
The town has all the small-town southern charm you’re looking for, and Elmwood 1820 Bed and Breakfast is located right on Main Street. They offer a 2-bedroom suite, a room with a private bath, and two rooms share a bathroom, although they only rent both at the same time if both guests know each other and are okay sharing!
After a good night’s rest in this magnificent home, make sure you grab one of their homemade biscuits. We hear they’re the best!
Located just north of Myrtle Beach on Ocean Isle Beach, you’ll find the family-owned The Winds Resort Beach Club right on the beach!
The Winds Resort offers rooms, suites, and cottages so there will be something for you, no matter the size of your group. They offer oceanfront hotel rooms, suites with 1, 2, or three bedrooms, and cottages with up to six bedrooms. And if you want your four-legged family members to join in, they offer pet-friendly accommodations too!
This intimate resort offers guests a complimentary breakfast buffet each morning, the use of three pools (including one that is heated and indoor), bicycles for exploring the town, and a fitness center.
And after you’ve hit the beach, you’ll find plenty more to do here if you wish! Table tennis, bocce, shuffleboard, grills, corn hole, and a swing set for the kids are all part of the escape. The Winds Resort also offers golf packages, and you’ll have your choice of local courses.
After all that, you’ll be ready to unwind with a drink from their poolside Tiki Bar!
Just south of Wilmington in Sunset Beach, NC, you’ll find the Sea Trail Resort Villas. This 2,600-acre property features three championship golf courses!
The villas here are perfect for every type of getaway. They offer 1, 2, 3, and 4 bedroom villas, and each features a screened porch or balcony that overlooks the courses or the grounds.
Besides golf, you’ll also find an outdoor and indoor pool, a fitness center, sauna, and jacuzzi on the property. A short bike ride or drive away, and you’ll be on the beach!
Hungry? The Sunset Bistro and Sports Pub offers food and drinks, including a kids’ menu and smoothie bar.
In the City
These North Carolina resorts offer a respite from city life! Located in or near some of the state’s largest cities, you’ll find relaxing spas, indoor water parks, and a Gatsby-esque resort.
In Cary, NC, you’ll find the beautiful Umstead Hotel and Spa – and once you find it, you’re never going to want to leave!
Known as one of North Carolina’s premier luxury resorts, the Umstead has 150 guest rooms, including 27 suites, and they feature such extras like a complimentary shoe shine, and turn down service.
Tea and coffee in the mornings, an afternoon tea featuring a harpist, and evening entertainment in the lounge mean that you’ll find something extraordinary throughout the day. Guests can enjoy weekend yoga, bicycles to use for exploring, a fitness center, a jogging trail around the lake, and an outdoor pool with private cabanas.
But wait! The real treat is their spa. They offer a full-service spa, where they offer body treatments, nail care, facials, and massages. You can’t help but leave feeling completely relaxed.
The Herons is the signature restaurant at the hotel. Led by 2019 James Beard Semifinalist for Best Chef Southeast, Chef Steven Greene, the restaurant features homegrown vegetables and farm-fresh meats and seafood. It’s open for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch.
Staying at one of three historic hotels or villas within the Village at Pinehurst will make you feel like you just walked out of a scene from The Great Gatsby.
This historic golf resort and spa has been welcoming guests since 1895 – which means, they know exactly what to do to make your visit a wonderful one.
The Carolina Hotel, The Holly, and the newly renovated The Manor are the three historic hotels for you to choose from. Each offers rooms and suites, and more charm and fine touches than you could imagine. Libraries, afternoon teas, Tiffany lamps, and years of history are found within their walls.
Now, the real reason you’re here? The golfing. With nine courses, Pinehurst has hosted more championships than any other club in the country. Legendary golfers have played here, and one look at their courses and you’ll see why. Lined with pine trees that gave Pinehurst its name, the courses here simply beautiful.
And when you’re ready to relax, the Spa at Pinehurst is ready for you. Offering body treatments, nail care, facials, and massages – a day here would be a day well spent.
Newly redesigned, The Ballantyne Inn in Charlotte is the epitome of luxury.
You’ll find 199 elegant hotel rooms and suites at the Ballantyne, that feature marble bathrooms. You can also reserve their cottage or lodge as well.
Instagram-worthy indoor and outdoor pools, bike rentals, a spa and salon, and golf and tennis are some of the amenities you’ll find to keep yourself busy.
Steak and seafood are the popular items on the Gallery Restaurant’s dinner menu. And if you love whiskey, this restaurant has one of the Carolinas’ largest whiskey collections! The restaurant is also known for its beautiful views, and weekend brunches.
There’s also another restaurant in the lobby – The Ryal – which offers breakfast and coffee in the mornings, and tea-infused cocktails throughout the day.
Fearrington House Inn is a 32-room luxury inn located on a historic farm! You’ll find this beautiful place just outside of Chapel Hill.
The inn is located in the middle of a village that offers dining options, a spa, a beer garden, and shopping. All of it is owned by Fearrington, so if you stay here, you’ll truly have no reason to leave!
The gardens here are simply beautiful, and many of the herbs and vegetables served in the restaurants come from them. There’s also a barnyard on the property – so don’t be surprised when you see goats, chickens, and cows wandering the fields nearby.
You’ll find a variety of dining options within the village. Treat yourself to a fine dining experience at the Fearrington House Restaurant where they serve seasonal delicacies. For more casual dining, The Belted Goat has soups and sandwiches. Of course, you can munch on wood-fired pizza while enjoying a drink at Roost Beer Garden. Or if an afternoon tea is more of your…cup of tea…they have that too!
What makes it so great? So many things! First of all, the theming throughout the lodge extends to their guest rooms. They have standard rooms and suites, but they also have suites with bunk beds, and suites with a kid’s “cabin” within the room. Your kids will love having their own private space!
The reason you’re at Great Wolf Lodge, though, is for the indoor water park! No matter the weather, you are guaranteed a good time because there are four pools, 11 water slides, and a kids’ splash area inside the lodge! Admission to the water park is included with your stay. There’s also an outdoor pool that’s open seasonally.
In addition to all the water park fun, you’ll find character appearances throughout the day, and kid-friendly activities in the lobby – like story times, and pajama parties. There’s an outdoor ropes course (for an additional fee), an arcade, miniature bowling, mini golf, and a XD theater.
The MagiQuest Adventure was a hit with my kids! After buying them magic wands, they were able to make things move throughout the lodge and complete a scavenger hunt with them.
There is a restaurant in house that serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Dunkin’ Donuts can give you the caffeine boost you parents may need, and there is (of course!) a candy shop too! Just in case your kids aren’t hyped enough.
READ MORE HERE FROM 365: Great Wolf Lodge Concord
The golfer in your family will love a stay at the Washington Duke Inn and Golf Club – but if you’re not the golfer, you’ll have a fun too!
Located just minutes from Duke University Golf Club and Cameron Stadium in Durham, this exquisite 4-star hotel features 271 rooms, a health club, and an indoor pool. If you’d like to get out and explore, a complimentary shuttle provides transportation to area attractions.
Three restaurants are on the property, including fine dining at Fairview Dining Room, where you’ll find a beautiful atmosphere and dishes inspired by the products received from local artisans and farmers.
The Washington Duke Inn hosts brunches on the weekends, and traditional afternoon teas Wednesday-Sunday.
At Grandover Resort in Greensboro you will find world-class golf, a spa, and fine dining.
All of the rooms have recently been remodeled at the Grandover. You’ll find luxurious robes, soft linens, and rainfall shower heads in each of the king bedrooms, queen bedrooms, and suites.
Golf at Grandover offers two 18-hole golf courses (the East Course and the West Course) designed by renowned golf architects. After a day on the course, you can relax at the newly redesigned Spa at Grandover, which offers facials, massages, and spa packages.
Overlooking the Grandover’s gardens and golf course, the fine dining restaurant DiValletta serves beautiful and fresh meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Enjoy a signature cocktail at the 1808 bar, or if you’re looking for a casual meal or coffee, Café Expresso has what you’re looking for.
When you picture a beautiful mountain lodge – the Sourwood Inn is what you’re picturing. But you’re right in the heart of Asheville.
Hikers and book lovers will adore this 12-room bed and breakfast. The inn overlooks the Blue Ridge Mountains, and rooms here have private balconies, fireplaces, and reading nooks.
The Sourwood Inn offers several adventure packages if you’re ready to get out and explore. With offerings like the Falconry Package, you can learn how to handle a bird of prey and have a hawk land on your glove! Other package offerings include guided fly fishing tours, horseback riding, and in-room massages.
And when it comes to dining, they have you covered. They offer breakfast and coffee and tea in the mornings, afternoon refreshments, and their restaurant overlooking the mountains serves dinner Thursday through Sunday. Their dinner menu is ever-changing with the seasons, so you’re guaranteed the freshest ingredients.
In The Mountains
The mountains of North Carolina are home to some of the state’s most spectacular views, and awesome outdoor adventures. Spend a day exploring, then spend a night in elegance!
The Omni Grove Park Inn in Asheville has been hosting guests for over 100 years!
Set in the Blue Ridge Mountains, the inn has 513 guest rooms and suites, including 28 that are located on an adults-only floor.
Ready to relax? Put your electronics away and get ready to experience the award-winning subterranean spa here. The Spa is 43,000 square feet of relaxation that features twenty water features amongst rock walls, arches, and tunnels. You’ll find mineral-based pools, waterfall pools, and lap pools with sparkling stars and underwater music. Steam rooms, saunas, warm blankets, hot tea, and fireside lounges are waiting for you once you’re done.
Omni Grove Park Inn is also home to a historic 18-hole golf course, designed by Donald Ross. Known for being one of the top courses in North Carolina, you’ll find amazing views of the mountains here.
You’ll find four restaurants here at the Omni, including the newest edition, The Edison, where you’ll find craft beers and southern food. Or enjoy a more upscale experience at Sunset Terrace, which offers seafood and steaks with a side of beautiful mountain views.
America’s largest home: The Biltmore Estate. Located in Asheville, this magnificent property used to be the family home of the Vanderbilts. Now you can explore, stay, and dine here, and imagine what life was life for the residents 100 years ago.
If you’d like to stay the night here (and you should,) you will find a four-star inn, a hotel, and a private cottage available to you and your party. Not only will you be staying on a private estate, but you’ll get exclusive access to the spa too.
Whether you’re visiting for a romantic weekend or a family trip, you’ll find plenty to do on the 8,000-acre estate. They have it all! Kid-friendly activities, tours, beautiful gardens, and a spa. Fly fishing, horseback riding, carriage rides, and river float trips. Wine tastings, chocolate tastings, and a cheese hour. I could go on and on. I promise, if you’ve thought of it, they have it!
Once you’ve worked up an appetite, they have plenty of dining options available. Cafes, barbecue, quick bites, an ice cream shop, comfort food, a bakery, buffet, fine dining, farm-to-table, sustainable seafood, pub fare, and a wine bar are all represented here.
The only problem with a visit or stay here, is that you’re going to want to move in.
READ MORE HERE FROM 365: Village Hotel on Biltmore Estate
On top of a plateau in the Blue Ridge Mountains, you’ll find Old Edwards Inn and Spa in Highlands, NC.
Located in the land of waterfalls, Old Edwards Inn and Spa is a European-style resort that offers 39 luxury rooms, 42 suites, cottages, and vacation homes.
Surrounded by wood and stone, the spa here was rated Conde Nast’s top hotel spa in North America! Some of the herbs and botanicals they use during treatments are from the inn’s gardens.
If you’re looking for a challenge, the 18-hole golf course at the Old Edwards Club takes you high on top of mountain ridges. Amazing views (and maybe a lost ball or two) await!
There are several dining options on the property to choose from. Enjoy lunch at The Wine Garden, drinks at The Grill Room, or live music and a light meal at The Hummingbird Lounge. Madison’s Restaurant offers farm-to-table cuisine, with many of the ingredients being grown locally or in house. No matter what you choose, you’ll leave happy.
In the western North Carolina mountains you’ll find Chetola Resort sitting on 87 acres within walking distance to the town of Blowing Rock.
You can choose to stay in one of the rooms in Chetola Lodge, stay at the Bob Timberlake Inn at Chetola Resort, or rent a luxury condo.
The Spa at Chetola Resort offers massages, facials, nail treatment, and a hair salon. Next to the spa, you’ll find the resort’s heated indoor pool, fitness center, sauna, and jacuzzi.
Timberlake’s Restaurant offers waterfront dining, three dining rooms, and a wine room. Here you’ll find salads, duck, roasted quail, seafood, and vegetarian options too. Breakfast is also served here, as well as spectacular buffets on special holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Mother’s Day.
This historic family-run resort is located in Maggie Valley in the Great Smoky Mountains. Here you’ll find southern hospitality, and a whole lot of fun! I mean, Southern Living Magazine named it home of the Best Campfire in the Smokies – so get your marshmallows ready, and head on up.
There are several different accommodation options at Cataloochee Ranch, depending on the size of your group. Stay in a comfy room in the main Ranch House, or rent a cabin on the property that sleeps up to eight. If you have a big group or family gathering, the Silverbell Lodge can sleep 24 people!
Now it is a ranch, so there is a lot of horseback riding going on – and you should do it! But after that, there is so much more to experience. Hiking, fishing for trout in the pond, wagon rides, lawn games, and a heated outdoor pool provide daytime entertainment. And at night, there’s nothing like their bonfires! Storytelling, and music playing take place while you’re making s’mores.
If you’re staying at the ranch, both breakfast and dinner are included in your rates. Dinner changes nightly, and ranges from indoor dining to outdoor cookouts. Family-style breakfasts are served every morning, and you can expect salads, soups, hot dogs, and hamburgers. An added bonus? Most dinners end with some type of family entertainment.
READ MORE HERE FROM 365: Cataloochee Ranch in Maggie Valley
NOTE: High Hampton is currently undergoing renovations. Follow their Facebook page for more.
High Hampton Resort in Cashiers, NC is a beautiful resort in the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Whether you’re looking for a romantic weekend getaway, or a family trip, High Hampton has several accommodations to choose from. Vacation rental homes, a lodge that’s listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and cabins are all available here.
This 1,400-acre resort offers to many activities for you to enjoy! Hampton Lake offers guests a beach, swimming, a wading pool, and swim platforms. Fishing is also a popular activity here, and at the smaller Jewell Lake – the perfect place to go if you’re hoping for trout.
A newly-redesigned golf course is in the works, and you’ll also find tennis here.
The Hampton Health Club and Spa offers group classes, personal training, and workout areas. Hiking for all skill levels, animal encounters, and children’s programs, like gem-mining, are also on the agenda!
READ MORE HERE FROM 365: High Hampton Resort
Bordering the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, you’ll find The Swag just outside Asheville in Waynesville in western North Carolina.
The Swag offers 14 beautiful rooms, with some having fireplaces, private balconies, outdoor soaking tubs, jacuzzis, or saunas. The room rates here include meals, hors d’oeuvres, and High Tea – so once you’re here, you’re completely taken care of.
The Swag hosts guest speakers and events throughout the year to enhance your stay. You may find musicians, cooking classes, storytelling, hiking, painting, or photography lessons on any given week!
You’ll find seasonally inspired menus at the award-winning restaurant. Enjoy a hearty breakfast buffet, stop by for Sunday brunch, get a sack lunch before you head out to explore the mountains, and enjoy a four-course meal at dinnertime. You’ll be happy you did!
The Waynesville Inn Golf Resort and Spa is located near the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Waynesville.
Here you’ll find 111 guest rooms, near the heart of outdoor fun. Hiking, skiing, trout fishing, and whitewater rafting can all be found nearby.
Three award-winning golf courses are offered here, all with spectacular views.
A wonderful southern breakfast buffet is served at Cork & Cleaver during the spring, summer, and fall. After a long day of hiking or golfing, The Tap Room is open for casual lunches and dinner. Here you’ll find such items like tasty locally-sourced fish, and house-smoked ribs.
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