From fun beach resorts to country getaways, families planning a weekend trip or a longer vacation in North Carolina have plenty of choice. Whether you like historic country lodges, lighthouses, luxury hotels or unique retreats, our list includes ideas for all tastes and budgets.
Great city destinations in North Carolina include Asheville, Charlotte, Durham, Raleigh, Greensboro, Wilmington and Chapel Hill. Here are the best North Carolina vacation spots.
1. The Winds Resort Beach Club - 3 hours 45 minutes from Charlotte
© The Winds Resort Beach Club
Located in Ocean Isle Beach, framed by palm trees and sand dunes, The Winds Resort Beach Club is an exquisite oceanfront resort that offers a luxurious sanctuary for the whole family. A variety of accommodation is offered, ranging from spacious guest rooms that accommodate up to three people to four, five, and six bedroom cottages on the beach.
Boasting beautiful beach views, all guest rooms feature modern amenities, including microwaves, mini-fridges, coffeemakers, and free wireless Internet. Three swimming pools and rental bicycles offer the perfect way to spend the day, and a fitness center will keep you fit. A complimentary hot Southern breakfast buffet is served each morning, and the Oceanfront Poolside Restaurant serves delicious food in a casual setting. This is one of the best North Carolina destinations for sun lovers.
310 E 1st St, Ocean Isle Beach, NC 28469, 910-579-6275
2. Highland Lake Inn and Resort - 2 hours from Charlotte
© Highland Lake Inn and Resort
Perched high above the Highland Lake on twenty-six acres of scenic countryside, Highland Lake Inn is a rural resort that provides guests with an unforgettable mountain experience. Conveniently situated a few miles from historic Hendersonville and the Flat Rock Playhouse, the Inn is ideally placed for exploring the region. Comfortable accommodations range from elegant, uniquely decorated rooms in the main hotel to cozy quarters in a rustic lodge, and they feature spacious bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms and modern amenities, including flat-screen cable televisions, fireplaces, and balconies with beautiful mountain views.
Season’s, the on-site restaurant, serves internationally inspired cuisine in an elegant dining atmosphere. Guests can have a hearty breakfast in the sunny dining room, and brunch is available on Sundays. The inn offers an array of activities to enjoy, from paddle boating, billiards, and hiking to pampering in-room massages and body treatments. More Things to Do in North Carolina
86 Lily Pad Lane, Flat Rock, NC 28731, 828-693-6812
3.Sea Ranch Resort - 6 hours from Charlotte
© Sea Ranch Resort
Sea Ranch Resort promises a tranquil retreat with spectacular ocean views and friendly service. Soak up the beauty of the Outer Banks at this luxurious oceanfront resort, which features an array of comfortable accommodation with modern amenities, superb fine dining, and a plethora of activities to enjoy.
Guests can choose from lovely rooms in the main building or oceanfront or condo-style suites, all of which feature modern furnishings, en-suite bathrooms with showers and baths, flat screen TV with cable/HBO, climate control, mini-fridges, and coffee makers. Private balconies offer spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean, and guests can dine in style at the Beachside Bistro, which serves a creative menu of American Coastal Cuisine against a backdrop of ocean vistas. The Outer Banks is one of the best North Carolina vacation spots.
1731 N. Virginia Dare Trail, Kill Devil Hills, NC 27948, 252-441-7126
4.The Dunhill Hotel
© The Dunhill Hotel
Steeped in history and surrounded by modern significance, Tne Dunhill Hotel is a stylish boutique hotel in the heart of Charlotte’s uptown. Dating back to 1929, this iconic hotel is an oasis of calm amid the hustle and bustle of the city and is one of the National Trust for Historic Preservation's Historic Hotels of America. The hotel features sophisticated accommodation in the form of elegant guest rooms that exude a 1920s ambiance, and they are replete with marble bathrooms, armoires, writing desks, and modern amenities, including flat-screen televisions, iPod docking stations, and Keurig coffeemakers.
Other hotel amenities include The Asbury, an upscale on-site restaurant that serves delicious Southern specialties, a relaxed lounge with live music, and home baked cookies every evening. The Dunhill Hotel is within walking distance of the Time Warner Cable Arena, the Charlotte Convention Center, and the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center.
237 North Tryon Street, Charlotte, NC 28202, 704-332-4141
5.Shell Island Resort - 4 hours from Charlotte
© Shell Island Resort
Located on Wrightsville Beach, Shell Island Resort is a stunning seaside hotel overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. Offering a tranquil escape for the whole family, the hotel features 169 beautiful ocean-facing guest suites and rooms, each of which has a private balcony with gorgeous sea views. Guest suites boast large living rooms with sleeper sofas – ideal for kids – a fully equipped kitchenette with holiday essentials, two flat-screen TVs and DVD player, and high-speed Internet.
The hotel has a private beach with many shells and great surf, as well as a large swimming pool with poolside cabanas for relaxing. A Tiki hut offers an array of activities for the whole family, and available equipment includes surfboards, boogie boards, skim boards, stand-up paddleboards, and kayaks. Adults can enjoy relaxing in the hot tub or staying fit in the gym while a sand volleyball court provides fun for the whole family. If you are looking for relaxing North Carolina vacation spots, this is a great destination.
2700 N. Lumina Avenue, Wrightsville Beach, NC, 800-689-6765
6.Graylyn - 1 hour 15 minutes from Charlotte
Situated in Winston-Salem, Graylyn International Conference Center rests on a vast 55-acre property and offers guests a private estate of their own. Located just minutes from downtown but providing a tranquil retreat from the hustle and bustle of the city, Graylyn provides the perfect combination of an enchanting, historic residence and a modern, sophisticated conference facility. Guests can choose from an impressive range of accommodations, from Manor House rooms and suites in the Mews to cozy guest cottages and private bungalows.
All accommodation options feature spacious bedrooms, en-suite marble bathrooms with baths and showers, charming sitting areas, ornate fireplaces, and beautiful views. Guests can enjoy a complimentary gourmet breakfast buffet each morning and superb dining at one of the several on-site restaurants around the estate. Alternatively, guests can enjoy delicious home-cooked fare in the comfort of their rooms.
1900 Reynolda Road, Winston-Salem, NC 27106, 800-472-9596
7.Ocracoke Harbor Inn – Dad's Retreat
© Ocracoke Harbor Inn
Based at the Ocracoke Harbor Inn on Ocracoke Island, Dad’s Retreat is a three-bedroom island home that offers luxurious comfort and a home-away-from-home appeal. Located just off the harbor, the clapboard house has lovely lighthouse views and is within walking distance of the island’s shops and restaurants.
Dad's Retreat is a fully furnished house with three bedrooms, en-suite bathrooms with baths and showers, kitchen, living spaces, and a back and a front covered porch. Other amenities include central air-conditioning and heating, two televisions, laundry facilities, an outdoor shower, and gas grill for alfresco dining. Docking for one boat is available upon request, as well as charter fishing and bicycle rentals for exploring the island.
144 Silver Lake Road, Ocracoke Island, NC 27960, 252-928-5731
© Tapoco Lodge
Resting on the banks of the cascading Cheoah River on 120 acres of the lush Nantahala National Forest, Tapoco Lodge is a historic mountain lodge that has been providing guests with an idyllic mountain escape for more than 85 years. Established in 1930 and located 15 miles north of Robbinsville, the rustic yet elegant mountain lodge is the ideal spot for family reunions, wedding receptions, corporate retreats, and more.
The spacious cabin-style accommodation features private bathrooms with Jacuzzi tubs and separate sitting areas, and it looks out on lovely views of the Cheoah River and Yellow Hammer Creek. Two on-site restaurants, The SlickRock Grille and Jasper’s, offer both upscale and riverside patio dining. Well known for its hiking, fishing, kayaking, mountain biking, and scenic back roads, the lodge provides a variety of fun activities for the whole family to enjoy. Keep reading for more North Carolina destinations.
14981 Tapoco Rd, Robbinsville, NC 28771, 828-498-2800
More vacation ideas: 31 Best Romantic Weekend Getaways in North Carolina.
9.North Carolina Vacations: Haywood Park Hotel
© Haywood Park Hotel
Haywood Park Hotel is a stylish all-suite boutique hotel set in a former 1923 department store in the heart of Asheville. Located within a short walk of Asheville’s social and cultural scene, the hotel offers 30 elegant suites equipped with sitting areas featuring pull-out sofas, kitchenettes with mini fridges, en-suite bathrooms with whirlpool tubs, and modern amenities such as flat-screen televisions and iPod docking stations.
Grand suites are the ultimate in luxury with over 1,200 square meters of space and breathtaking views over downtown Asheville. First-class hotel amenities include a 24-hour fitness center and a business center, free wireless Internet, and valet parking, as well as a casual café and bistro that serves regional cuisine for lunch and dinner seven days a week.
One Battery Park Avenue, Asheville, North Carolina 28801, 828-252-2522
10.The Carter Lodge
© The Carter Lodge
The Carter Lodge is located just around the bend from the center of Chimney Rock Village and offers comfortable accommodation, a lovely garden with picnic areas, direct river access, and a variety of activities for couples and families. Honeymoon couples can bask in the romantic Honeymoon/Jacuzzi room while spacious guest rooms accommodate two to four people.
Rooms feature double, queen, or king-sized beds, en-suite bathrooms with showers and baths, mini-refrigerators, and free Wi-Fi. Freshly brewed coffee is served every morning. Some rooms have private balconies with beautiful river views, and all guests have access to the tranquil garden, which has barbecue grills, picnic areas, and swings for the kids. The garden also has a cornhole bag toss game and checkerboard tables for those wanting some entertainment, and the river provides excellent trout fishing and swimming.
273 Main Street, Chimney Rock, NC 28720, 828-625-8844
© 200 Main
200 Main, a modern mountain lodge in Highlands, is the perfect base for a family holiday. Offering an outdoor pool and free Wi-Fi access, the inviting hotel offers contemporary rooms that feature en-suite bathrooms with heated floors, flat screen televisions, stone fireplaces, and private balconies. The suites offer spacious living areas and patios, and free wireless Internet is available in the hotel.
Rooms can adjoin for friends, families, or groups traveling together, and freshly brewed coffee and muffins are served every morning. Other hotel amenities include an outdoor heated mineral swimming pool, a lovely terrace area with a fire pit, and an elegant lounge for relaxing. The hotel is conveniently located a short drive away from Dry Falls Waterfall, Whiteside Mountain, and the Center for the Visual Arts.
200 Main Street Highlands, NC 28741, 828-526 2790
12.North Carolina Vacations: River's Edge Motel
© River's Edge Motel
Located in the midst of the Great Smoky Mountains, River's Edge Motel has it all for a relaxed family getaway. Situated on Tsali Boulevard midway between the Cherokee Historic District and the Sanooke Village shopping area, the motel features twenty-one spacious riverside rooms with en-suite bathrooms, air-conditioning, cable television, and coffee machines.
Rooms have private balconies overlooking the Oconaluftee River, and free wireless Internet is available throughout the hotel. River’s Edge Motel is ideally located for exploring the area, which is home to a variety of attractions, including Great Smoky Mountains National Park, White Mountain, and the Blue Ridge Parkway.
1026 US 441 North (Tsali Blvd.), Cherokee, NC 28719, 828-497-7995
13.Blockade Runner Beach Resort
© Blockade Runner Beach Resort
Soak up North Carolina’s laid-back coastal culture at the Blockade Runner Beach Resort. Located on one of the most beautiful and serene beaches on the North Carolina coast, Blockade Runner Beach Resort is a contemporary resort hotel surrounded by landscaped gardens and stunning ocean views. The resort offers peaceful accommodation in the form of minimalist rooms with en-suite marble bathrooms, private balconies, and modern amenities, including free Wi-Fi and televisions.
The easy-access beach offers an array of fun activities for the whole family, from swimming and snorkeling to volleyball and beachcombing, while adults can enjoy fishing charters and boat tours from the hotel. Other hotel perks include a beautiful outdoor swimming pool, a fitness center and gym, a seasonal pool bar, and an oceanfront restaurant serving fresh seafood and regional fare.
275 Waynick Blvd., Wrightsville Beach, NC 28408, 910-256-2251
© Grandover Resort
Luxury meets location at this luxurious five-star Greensboro resort. Spread over more than 1500 acres, Grandover Resort & Spa offers guests deluxe accommodations, award-winning dining, a world-class golf course, and breathtaking views. Looking out over the Allegheny foothills, guest suites feature spacious sitting areas, en-suite bathrooms with marble foyers and Jacuzzi tubs, and modern amenities, including 42-inch flat-screen TVs, fridges, coffeemakers, wet bars, and free wireless Internet.
Guests have access to a range of superior hotel facilities, including an indoor/heated outdoor pool, an outdoor sand volleyball court, croquet and bocce ball. Golf lovers will delight in the 36-hole championship golf course while couples can play a game of tennis on day/night clay courts. Special ‘Couples Experiences’ are offered at the luxurious day spa with a fitness center, sauna, steam room, and hot tubs. Refined dining is available at the elegant Sicilian-style Di Valetta restaurant, which serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, overlooking the lush gardens.
1000 Club Road, Greensboro, NC 27407, 336-294-1800
15.Topsail Shores Inn
© Topsail Shores Inn
Situated in the quiet fishing village of Sneads Ferry just a few minutes from the beautiful North Topsail Island, Topsail Shores Inn is a family-friendly hotel that offers an ideal getaway for the whole family. Less than 20 miles from Jacksonville, this modern low-rise inn features simply decorated guest rooms with kitchenettes, flat-screen TVs, MP3 docking stations, and free Wi-Fi.
A complimentary snack bar provides an array of delicious breakfast items and fresh coffee while an outdoor swimming pool beckons in the hot summer months. Children will delight in the on-site playground at the Inn, which provides hours of fun, and a short walk leads to North Topsail Beach where you can enjoy swimming, boogie boarding, beachcombing, and stunning sunsets.
1325 NC Highway 210, Sneads Ferry, NC 28460, 910-685-0969
© Windjammer Inn
Windjammer Inn is a family-friendly oceanfront hotel set on beautifully landscaped grounds in Atlantic Beach. Located a few miles from the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores and the Fort Macon State Park, the hotel is ideally located for a family holiday with children. Simple rooms with modern décor have spacious bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms.
Some of the accommodations have whirlpool tubs, fridges, microwaves, and cable television. Hotel amenities include a wooden deck with Bali beds and seating, a seasonal outdoor heated pool and hot tub, and a tranquil lagoon with a waterfall. A private walkway leads to the beach where guests can relax in hammocks and soak up the views.
103 Salter Path Road, Atlantic Beach, NC 28512, 252-247-7123
© Aloft Asheville
Located in the heart of Asheville, Aloft Asheville
is a contemporary hotel with loft-inspired Asheville accommodations, modern amenities, and an ideal location for exploring the city. The hotel is within walking distance of the Asheville Art Museum, the Botanical Gardens, and the historic Biltmore Estate, as well as a dozen local craft breweries.
Modern rooms enjoy mountain or city views and feature en-suite bathrooms with walk-in showers, flat-screen televisions, mini fridges and coffeemakers. Free Wi-Fi is available throughout the hotel. Suites feature spacious living rooms and glass doors that lead to private cabanas. In-room breakfast is available for an additional fee, and guests can have a drink and a game of pool at the bar, which boasts beautiful city views. Other perks include a fully-equipped gym and an outdoor swimming pool.
51 Biltmore Avenue, Asheville, NC 28801, 828-232-2838
25 Best North Carolina Vacations & Destinations
- The Winds Resort Beach Club - 3 hours 45 minutes from Charlotte, Photo: The Winds Resort Beach Club
- Highland Lake Inn and Resort - 2 hours from Charlotte, Photo: Highland Lake Inn and Resort
- Sea Ranch Resort - 6 hours from Charlotte, Photo: Sea Ranch Resort
- The Dunhill Hotel, Photo: The Dunhill Hotel
- Shell Island Resort - 4 hours from Charlotte, Photo: Shell Island Resort
- Graylyn - 1 hour 15 minutes from Charlotte, Photo: Graylyn
- Ocracoke Harbor Inn – Dad's Retreat , Photo: Ocracoke Harbor Inn
- Tapoco Lodge, Photo: Tapoco Lodge
- North Carolina Vacations: Haywood Park Hotel, Photo: Haywood Park Hotel
- The Carter Lodge, Photo: The Carter Lodge
- 200 Main, Photo: 200 Main
- North Carolina Vacations: River's Edge Motel, Photo: River's Edge Motel
- Blockade Runner Beach Resort, Photo: Blockade Runner Beach Resort
- Grandover Resort, Photo: Grandover Resort
- Topsail Shores Inn, Photo: Topsail Shores Inn
- Windjammer Inn, Photo: Windjammer Inn
- Aloft Asheville, Photo: Aloft Asheville
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of sauseyphotos - Fotolia.com
Driving Distances from Charlotte
|From Charlotte, NC To ||Driving Time|
|Ocean Isle Beach, NC||3 hours 45 minutes|
|Flat Rock, NC||2 hours|
|Kill Devil Hills, NC||6 hours|
|Wrightsville Beach, NC||4 hours|
|Winston-Salem, NC||1 hour 15 minutes|
|Ocracoke Island, NC||8 hours|
|Robbinsville, NC||3 hours 30 minutes|
|Asheville, NC||2 hours 15 minutes|
|Chimney Rock, NC||2 hours|
|Highlands, NC||3 hours|
|Cherokee, NC||3 hours|
|Wrightsville Beach, NC||4 hours|
|Greensboro, NC||1 hour 30 minutes|
|Sneads Ferry, NC||4 hours 40 minutes|
|Atlantic Beach, NC||5 hours 45 minutes|