North Carolina is special because there is such a wide range of landscapes to enjoy across the entire state. We’ve got the tallest mountain east of the Mississippi and some of the most beautiful coastline you’ve ever laid eyes on. If you’re like me, when you’re traveling you want to stay somewhere that brings out the uniqueness of the location that you’re visiting. Hence, this post – all about the best places to stay in North Carolina.
Each one of these hotels, bed & breakfasts, or resorts has a special story and is either on my NC bucket list or I’ve already visited. The places to stay are broken up into categories called splurge, mid-range, and budget. While the prices will definitely vary, but at the moment the splurge properties were anything over $225/night, mid-range was $125 – $225, and budget was anything less than $125.
I went by the price on the cheapest room that I could find to rent at a property. Each place on the list that I haven’t already been to was highly recommended and had to have over a 4.3 rating. By no means is this a comprehensive list, and I’ll be adding to it continually. I hope you find some ideas for your next getaway in North Carolina!
Places to Stay in the NC Mountains
These are just a few options but there are lots of other unique places to stay in the North Carolina mountains.
Omni Grove Park Inn
If this hotel isn’t on your radar yet, you’ll likely be adding it to your bucket list after this. This stunning resort will make you feel like you’ve entered a mountain oasis, but you’re right in Asheville, NC. Truth be known I’m just waiting on my next anniversary to come around so I can talk Tyler into experiencing this beautiful place.
The Omni Grove has a world-class spa, a golf course, four different incredible restaurants, plus indoor and outdoor pools. You could never leave the resort and have everything you need, but with Asheville right outside your door you’ll want to get out and explore a bit.
This is definitely one of the best places to stay in the NC mountains and an outdoor adventurist’s dream. There are ample hiking options, the Blue Ridge Parkway, zip-lining, and kayaking on the French Broad just to name a few outdoor activities.
Old Edwards Inn and Spa
Another bucket list resort in North Carolina is located in the tiny town of Highlands. The town may be small but it is full of character with cute local shops, farm-to-table restaurants, and all the outdoor adventure the NC mountains can offer.
The Inn is on the National Register of Historic Places so of course your stay will be unique. Every part of the resort’s mission ensures that you will have a tranquil and rejuvenating stay. The resort offers multiple restaurants, a spa that includes a Serenity Solarium, a golf-course and numerous shopping options.
My parents stayed here and have not stopped raving about it since. But with views like this Inn has, I don’t blame them. The Pisgah Inn is located right on the Blue Ridge Parkway and each room has gorgeous views of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Breakfast is currently included with your stay and you can enjoy the view from their restaurant as well. If that isn’t enough for you, then there is an observation deck that you can hang out on as long as you’d like.
The Horton Hotel
This one is for my Appalachian State fans. The Horton Hotel is Boone’s only downtown boutique hotel located right on King Street. You’re in the middle of all the action. They also have the only rooftop bar in the city. Enjoy a beer or cocktail with snacks and a view of the Blue Ridge Mountains and App State’s campus.
Lakeview at Fontana
What captured my interest for this hotel was a photo on Facebook of another blogger in one of their treetop soaking cabanas. You can soak in a two person tub while staring out at incredible views of Fontana Lake and the surrounding mountains – the ultimate way to relax. The prices for a treetop cabana or a spa treatment are also reasonable (currently $99 for the Signature Soak and $119 for a massage).
This gorgeous Mediterranean-inspired resort has an on-site hiking trail and pool that is open from Memorial Day to Oct. 1st. If you want to venture out then you won’t have to go far. It’s nearby Bryson City and the Nantahala Outdoor Center where you can whitewater raft, hike, zip line, or rent kayaks for Fontana Lake!
Linville Falls Lodge & Cottages
This is the cutest little lodge you’ll find. The landscaping is absolutely beautiful and the lodge is built of stone with comfy king or queen beds. Breakfast is included though it is limited, but for the price you pay you can’t beat this place. There are two restaurants within walking distance plus a general store where you can pick up picnic supplies or anything else you may need for a day outdoors.
The best part about the Lodge is that it is five short minutes to the Linville Gorge area. This offers some of the best hiking around and if you’re in shape, you can hike down to the Linville River and fish or swim. Be sure to check for locations that allow swimming because it is prohibited in the pools directly below the falls.
Related: A Weekend in Linville Falls, NC
Franklin Terrace Bed & Breakfast
The Franklin Terrace has been a hotel since 1915 and offers old-timey accommodations in the Smoky Mountains. A stay here includes a hearty country breakfast and the best hospitality you can find. Sit on the porch and enjoy the cool mountain air or head into downtown Franklin and enjoy boutique stores and restaurants. With the Smoky Mountains right outside your door, there are endless outdoor activities to take part in.
As you can tell, the North Carolina mountains offer many opportunities for outdoor adventure. That includes tons of great places to camp! This is by far the cheapest option but also the least luxurious. You should try it though, you may be surprised at how fun it is. Check out camping options at the following locations: Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Doughton Park, Fontana Lake, Gorges State Park.
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Places to Stay in the Piedmont
The Umstead Hotel & Spa
This luxury hotel in Cary, NC is set against beautifully landscaped gardens and a three acre lake. With many room options to choose from you’ll be sure to find one that fits your needs from the Premier Rooms that overlook the gardens with two options for bed configurations all the way up to the Presidential Suite on the top floor. Here you’ll enjoy a balcony, lake views, a living room, one and a half baths, and a refrigerator with a wine cooler.
Not only are the rooms immaculate, but the spa and on-site restaurant are an absolute dream. Choose from a massage, special body treatment, or just a mani-pedi. At Herons you can enjoy food from one of the top restaurants in the Triangle. According to their website they are one of only 64 Forbes Five-Star restaurants in the world.
Duncraig Manor & Gardens
I came across this incredible property and just had to add it to the list. This Bed & Breakfast in Southern Pines is an English Country Tudor Style home (think Scotland and England) and fully restored. Staying here you’ll get a taste of what it was like to live back in the 1930s. What stands out to me are the breakfast dishes served from Caroline’s Kitchen – Alaskan Omelette, Lobster Benedict, Lemon Curd Belgian Waffle. Makes me want to book right now.
Staying in Southern Pines, you’ll be surrounded by some of America’s best golf courses. If you aren’t a golfer then there are plenty of other things to do like shopping, outdoor activities at Aberdeen Lake or Weymouth Woods.
The Ivey’s Hotel
This luxury boutique hotel located in downtown Charlotte (that is actually called uptown) will have you steps aways from many of the city’s popular attractions. They partner with places like the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center, The Mint Museum Uptown, and the NASCAR Hall of Fame so you can get the best price on tickets.
Breakfast is included with your stay at the Library Lounge where they also have snacks all day and an evening charcuterie board. In the same building as The Ivey’s you’ll find The Social Lounge where you can grab craft cocktails and 5Church, one of the best restaurants in Charlotte. Room service is also available from 5Church.
Yadkin Valley Wineries
The price point will vary for each winery, but in general this would be a mid-range purchase. What could be better than taking a morning walk through the grape vines? Here are some of my favorite wineries that also offer lodging and their individual perks.
Carolina Heritage Winery – The Olde Farmhouse was renovated in 2018 and has beautiful views over the fields of grape vines. You won’t find a friendlier staff and the view of the sunset from the porch is gorgeous. Sit back and relax with a glass of Chambourcin (my personal favorite) or try their sweet wine, Apple Pie. Check availability here.
Grassy Creek Vineyard/Klondike Cabins – These four log cabins of varying sizes are sure to take you back in time. The location can’t be beat as you’re one mile outside of Elkin on 100 acres with a fishing pond and the Grassy Creek hiking trail that is part of the Mountains-to-Sea trail which stretches from Clingman’s Dome to Jockey’s Ridge. Check availability here.
Elkin Creek Vineyards – This beautiful spot right beside Elkin Creek offers four different cabins to choose from. Make sure that your visit includes staying through Sunday afternoon because they have handmade, brick oven pizzas that will knock your socks off. Check availability here.
River Landing Inn
Located right next to the Haw River in Saxapahaw, NC, this little Inn makes for a quiet weekend in the country while you’re still only 20 minutes from Chapel Hill, Mebane, and Hillsborough. A continental breakfast is included with fresh ground coffee each morning.
It is in walking distance to Benjamin Vineyards & Winery so what more could you want? Haw River Canoe & Kayak Company is nearby if you want to paddle the river or you can explore one of the nearby towns. If you don’t feel like driving to town then grab a bite to eat either at The Eddy or Saxapahaw General Store.
The Piedmont isn’t hurting for camping options either. You’ll find gorgeous views at each one of these state parks: Pilot Mountain State Park, Hanging Rock State Park, Stone Mountain State Park, and Crowders Mountain State Park.
Places to Stay at the NC Coast
The Sanderling Resort
Even the tiniest details aren’t overlooked at The Sanderling Resort. The guest rooms are immaculate, there are three pools, three beach accesses and a concierge to ensure you book the perfect excursions. Enjoy their indoor or two outdoor pools, one of which is adults only. This is definitely one of the best oceanfront hotels in North Carolina.
While you’re there be sure to indulge in a treatment from their spa overlooking the Currituck Sound. They also have two restaurants on site, the Lifesaving Station and the Sandbar where you can enjoy local cuisine.
The Inn on Turner
Beaufort, NC is one of the cutest little towns on the North Carolina coast. It’s just across the bridge from Morehead City and Atlantic Beach where you can enjoy the beach with fewer crowds even in the height of summer. The Inn is right in downtown Beaufort just steps from the local shops and some of the best restaurants around.
During your stay enjoy the coastal feel of the rooms and relax on their front porch for a while. Gourmet breakfast is also included in the room rate as are evening happy hour drinks. If you need some ideas for activities I can highly recommend Hungry Town Tours for a food tour or head over to the Rachel Carson Reserve where you’ll likely see the wild horses.
The Sunset Inn
This beautiful Inn offers incredible views of the marsh while it’s still only a quick walk from the beach and fishing pier. Each room has a king bed, wet bar, refrigerator, and a deck with rocking chairs for lounging.
The buffet breakfast will be sure to fill you up before a day at the beach. (Though due to COVID breakfast is currently grab & go) Sunset Beach is a quiet little beach that offers a much needed escape for how hectic life can get.
Cape Hatteras Bed & Breakfast
Enjoy some of the best coastal fishing in North Carolina or a relaxing day on the beach here at Cape Hatteras National Seashore. This award winning bed & breakfast is the perfect home-base for an adventure at the coast. You’ll fall in love with the beautiful view of the NC coast and the homemade breakfasts that will greet you each morning.
Try your hand at kitesurfing, paddleboarding, kayaking, skimboarding, and all kinds of other beach sports. Climb the iconic Cape Hatteras Lighthouse or make a trip to Pea Island Reserve. And don’t miss the little village of Buxton!
Mother Earth Motor Lodge
Kinston may not be the first place you think of when you start brainstorming weekend getaways in North Carolina. But between Vivian Howard at The Chef & The Farmer and father/son-in-law duo Stephen & Trent at Mother Earth Brewing they are revitalizing this farming town and making it a fun spot for locals and tourists alike.
At Mother Earth Motor Lodge you’ll enjoy a throwback to the 70’s with the decor plus a pool and 9 hole mini golf course. At the front desk they sell beer from their sister company, Mother Earth Brewing, of course plus wine and snacks. While in Kinston don’t miss the Neuseway Nature Park where kayak & canoe rental is free, Ironclad Axe Throwing, and Kinston Music Park.
See Sea Motel
The See Sea Motel is newly renovated and you can’t beat the rooms, location, or amenities for the price. Each room has a toaster oven, mini-fridge, and Keurig coffee maker while the suites have a full kitchen. All 23 rooms are decorated uniquely but still with that tropical theme. The pool is centrally located and you’re just across the street from the beach access.
Kill Devil Hills draws people from all over because of its famous history in aviation. Right up the road at Kitty Hawk is where the Wright Brothers took their first flight. Don’t miss the Wright Brothers National Memorial and you should also visit Jockey’s Ridge State Park.
Camping at the coast is best during the fall or spring because summer brings an unbearable heat when you’re trying to sleep. Fall is especially good if you love to fish because that’s when they are running. Some of the best camping spots can be found in Hammocks Beach State Park, Cape Lookout National Seashore, Merchants Millpond State Park, or the Roanoke River Camping Platforms.