North Carolina has the kind of geography that makes it perfect for whatever kind of vacation you want. From its great beaches and extensive coastline to its foothills and mountains – with a sprinkling of spa resorts in between – your dream getaway is probably possible. Plus it’s home to a ton of championship golf courses, breweries, rivers, and lakes for all sorts of recreation.
Local agriculture makes farm-to-table cuisine the norm here. And the resorts exude Southern hospitality and charm, so you’ll feel at home and welcome wherever you go. Whether it’s beachy or luxury, explore the best places to stay in this state from the Atlantic Ocean to the Appalachian Mountains.
Let’s have a look at the best resorts in North Carolina:
1. The Umstead Hotel & Spa
The Umstead is in the heart of North Carolina’s Research Triangle Park but it feels like a spa retreat. Rooms include pillow-top beds, beautiful views, coffeemakers, and upgrades like balconies, patios, and walk-in closets. Other amenities range from nightly turndown service to complimentary shoe shines. In terms of their wellness options, guests can enjoy free bicycle tours and rentals, yoga on weekend mornings, and a 24-hour fitness center.
Their outdoor swimming pool has private cabanas and a pool bar, while their spa facilities include aromatic saunas, steam rooms, whirlpools, and meditation gardens. Book a massage, facial, nail service, or custom spa experience to enjoy everything it has to offer. Guests can taste locally sourced ingredients prepared by a James Beard Semifinalist chef at Herons, the AAA Five Diamond restaurant on-site. Or they can try elevated bar snacks and cocktails at the Bar & Lounge. All guests can have afternoon tea Wednesday through Sunday with live entertainment from a harpist.
2. Blockade Runner Beach Resort
A classic boutique beach resort, the Blockade Runner sits oceanside on Wrightsville Beach offering guests a unique coastal experience. Rooms combine harborfront or oceanfront views with spacious luxury and amenities like spa robes, glass-door balconies, and complimentary wifi. Of if you’re planning a big gathering or family reunion, rent out The Cottage with its 13 bedrooms, a full kitchen, and room for 20 at the dining room table.
Aside from beach access with loungers and umbrellas provided, the resort has a swimming pool, fitness center, boat slips, and soundside activities like kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, fishing, and sailing. And they have instructors and tours available too. Enjoy fresh seafood at EAST Oceanfront Dining, located outdoors on the property, or have drinks at the Aquarium Bar right next to colorful fish. Oh, and Friday night is lobster night!
3. The Inn on Biltmore Estate
You can stay at the legendary Biltmore Estate, once the largest privately owned house in the United States, if you book a room at this four-star Inn. They’re all about luxury, hospitality, attention to detail, and service. Accommodations come with 24-hour room service and concierge service, and your humble abode will include views of either the estate or downtown Asheville. Enjoy free wifi, in-room movies, and custom bathrobes, slippers, and bath products. Guests also receive complimentary shuttle service to the estate (or to town on Friday and Saturday).
The Spa at the Inn offers massages, skin care, beauty services, and signature experiences like body wraps with exfoliation, hot stones, and aromatherapy. Guests can have a casual meal, drinks, or afternoon tea in the Library Lounge, or enjoy elegant dinners in The Dining Room. That means there will be white linen tablecloths, fine china, and crystal involved, with dishes created from estate-raised ingredients like beef, lamb, and freshly-picked produce.
4. The Omni Grove Park Inn
Also located in Asheville, this resort is over a century old. With over 500 rooms, including 28 rooms on their private Club Floor, all guests get custom bedding and spacious accommodations. Suites come with walk-out balconies and views of the Donald Ross-designed golf course, while the Club rooms come with a private concierge and spa-inspired bathrooms. Guests have access to a sports complex that houses racquetball, aerobics, yoga, and other health and wellness programs.
You don’t even need to leave the resort to go shopping, as they have their own retail promenade filled with decor items, a spa boutique, pro shop, and gourmet treats. Perhaps one of their most impressive features is the 43,000 square foot subterranean spa with water features, mineral pools, and cavernous rock walls. Guests can enjoy contrast pools, saunas, inhalation rooms, and steam rooms, plus fireplaces and whirlpools on an outdoor terrace. Dine on local cuisine at Blue Ridge or southern comfort classics at Edison, or enjoy drinks on the Sunset Terrace or any one of their many other bars and restaurants on-site.
5. Sanderling Resort
Located in the coastal town of Duck, Sanderling Resort gives guests oceanfront luxury and exclusivity. A newly renovated Four Diamond Resort, people come for the beach but stay for the amenities. Rooms are set amidst sand dunes and elegantly but unpretentiously decorated. Choose from several locations, depending on whether you’re traveling as a family or couple, or rent one of the resort’s vacation homes if you need a whole house for your group. All rooms come with bathrobes, organic bath products, flat screen TVs, and free wifi.
They provide beach towels, chairs, and umbrellas if you’re hitting the sand, but the resort also has three pools (one indoor and one adults-only). Check out the Sanderling Spa and steam room, or venture out to take some sunrise yoga classes. They also offer paddle boarding and surfing lessons, and they can arrange kiteboarding, dolphin tours, or charter fishing. Dine at the one of their three restaurants which are inspired by local farms and local waters. Or have drinks and s’mores at the Beach House Bar with its patio and fire pit.
Guests can walk in the footsteps of greatness and enjoy true Southern hospitality at Pinehurst. They can stay in one of the three historic hotels located on the property, or if they’re traveling with a group, splurge on a villa or condominium. Rooms feature luxury and modern amenities like feather-top bedding, marble bathrooms, and wifi, but upgrade options include separate living areas and patios.
Play golf at one of America’s greatest courses – you’ll have nine to choose from after all. It’s the site of more PGA championships than anywhere else in the country, including the famous U.S. Open. But if you’re just waiting around for someone to finish playing golf, take advantage of The Spa at Pinehurst or play tennis, go biking, hit the swimming pool, or try your hand at some lawn sports like croquet and lawn bowling. For dining and drinking, you’ve got a Four Diamond option in their 1895 Grille, plus a lounge, tavern, coffee shop, and multiple other dining rooms to choose from.
7. Old Edwards Inn and Spa
Located in Highlands amidst the Blue Ridge Mountains, this European-style resort offers a mountain retreat despite being set close to downtown. Play 18 holes at the Old Edwards Club, or enjoy the shops, theaters, and art galleries nearby. The resort also contains one of the 20 Best Spas in the U.S. according to Condé Nast’s Traveler. It offers steam rooms, saunas, whirlpools, Swiss showers, a fireside lounge, and serenity solarium in addition to several personalized treatments.
Accommodations entail elegance mixed with mountain living, complete with period antiques and Italian bedding. Stay in the Inn, the Spa Suites, or one of their cottages or vacation homes with upgrades like private terraces and fireplaces. Enjoy North Carolina farm-to-table cuisine at Madison’s Restaurant, or just grab a light bite and drink at the Wine Garden or the Hummingbird Lounge. The Grille Room overlooks the golf course, while Art’s at the Lodge offers live music and cocktails, so you’ll have tons of options.
8. Fearrington Village
Luxury, service, and great food makes this particular resort a great getaway. The Fearrington is a AAA Five Diamond Relais & Chateaux property that attracts lots of guests who are getting married and celebrating special occasions. With only 32 guest rooms, attention to detail is everything here. Accommodations contain original artwork, antiques, luxury fabrics and sheets, and freshly cut flowers. A gourmet breakfast is included in your stay as well.
The Spa at Fearrington offers facials, body wraps, massages, manicures, and pedicures to help you relax. And the Fearrington House Restaurant is ranked one of the top 100 restaurants in the nation for foodies with its elevated farm-to-fork cuisine, seasonally changing menu, and extensive wine list. Elsewhere in Fearrington Village, guests can relax for a casual brunch at The Granary, coffee or wine at The Goat, or check out the live music, wood-fired pizza, and local brews at the Roost Beer Garden.
9. Chetola Resort
An upscale resort located within walking distance of the village of Blowing Rock, it contains 87 acres set in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Choose from a room in the Chetola Lodge, the Bob Timberlake Inn, or their condominiums with full-service kitchens and fireplaces. Room amenities include wet bars with refrigerators, microwaves, and some even come with luxury bathrooms and bidets. All guests receive a complimentary breakfast.
Timberlake’s Restaurant features an intimate wine room, three dining rooms, and waterfront dining on the patio. They’ve got special events like “steak on the lake,” jazz night, music and oysters, and bonfire nights every Friday at the fire pit. Guests can also grab a drink at Headwater’s Pub. Chetola has an on-site spa next to the resort’s indoor pool, sauna, and fitness room. And for recreation, try one of their fishing clinics or play tennis, pickleball, and horseshoes. You can even take a paddleboat out on the lake. Or you could just sunbathe…
10. The Winds Resort
Set on the coast in Ocean Isle, this resort beach club tempts guests with palm trees and sand dunes, plus three swimming pools and complimentary Southern breakfasts. They’ll give you bikes for free to explore the island, hammocks to relax in, and of course access to the beach for sunbathing all day long. There are over 100 golf courses within a 45 minute drive and the resort will arrange custom, all-inclusive golf packages for guests.
Have drinks and meals at their Thirsti Tiki Bar & Restaurant with choices like burgers, pizzas, and wings, and drink options like frozen cocktails, beer, and wine. They’ve got smoothies and ice cream for the kids too. Accommodation ranges from hotel rooms to suites with one, two, or three bedrooms. Groups can look into renting their Resort Cottages with up to six bedrooms, full kitchens, and spacious decks with rocking chairs. They’ve even got pet-friendly rooms.
11. Festiva’s Blue Ridge Village
Another resort located in the mountains near Banner Elk, Blue Ridge Village is set back in the woods for a secluded, relaxing vibe where guests can unwind. There’s plenty of sightseeing and hiking to do nearby, but there’s also shopping and exploring in the nearby town of Blowing Rock. In the winter, you’ll be located next to several ski slopes, including Sugar Mountain and Hawksnest Resort. And during any season, you could head out to Grandfather Mountain or Linville Falls.
Guests can choose between one, two, and three bedroom villas with amenities like fireplaces, free wifi, whirlpools, and private decks. Play tennis, chill on the big patio, or swim in their indoor pool which has a hot tub and sauna. Guests can play putt putt or cornhole, hit the fitness center, or use the resort’s paddle boats for free. With Pisgah National Forest as the resort’s backdrop, there’s plenty of nature at guests’ fingertips.
12. The Ballantyne
The Ballantyne is a Luxury Collection Hotel by Marriott, and it’s located about 18 miles outside of uptown Charlotte, the biggest city in the state. Though it’s surrounded by retail, dining, and entertainment options, you may not need to leave the resort. They have indoor and outdoor pools on-site, plus a sauna, tennis courts, fitness center, and personal training available. The Golf Club at Ballantyne is a public PGA championship golf course, and the resort can offer you packages, club fittings, and even golf school.
The Spa at Ballantyne received four stars from Forbes, and uses indigenous products for many of its treatments, like the Carolina Lavender Spa Collection. Accommodations include comfortable robes, marble baths, and plush bedding, plus minibars and 24-hour room service. On-site dining at the Gallery Restaurant involves contemporary American and progressive Southern fare with private dining rooms, al fresco seating, and a long Scotch, whiskey, and bourbon selection.
13. Grandover Resort
Set in the foothills of the state near the city of Greensboro, Grandover is all about golf, luxury, and providing a great space for conferences and meetings. The East Course and the West Course are open to the public, and the resort can arrange tee times, tailored golf packages, and instruction for guests. Their spa offers relaxation in the form of facials, nail care, and massages, plus use of their steam rooms, saunas, hot tub, and swimming pool. They also have clay tennis courts with the option of lessons for guests.
Grandover considers itself one of North Carolina’s premier conference centers, and the resort houses small VIP boardrooms as well an elegant ballroom, with space for up to 1,000 people in over 45,000 square feet of meeting space. Guest rooms contain 42” flat screen TVs, coffeemakers, wet bars, and jacuzzi bathtubs. Their Di Valleta Restaurant serves an elegant breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner, while the Colony Bar offers an extensive martini list, candlelit patio, and indoor stone fireplace.
14. Beau Rivage Golf & Resort
Located just outside the city of Wilmington, this resort provides guests with a coastal golf getaway. Their championship course features gently rolling hills, longleaf pines, and plenty of challenging water hazards from the nearby estuaries of the Cape Fear River. But if you’re not trying to hit the links you’ll still have plenty to do. Just a short drive away, there are several beaches to relax on, a historical downtown to explore, lots of restaurants and bars to frequent, and you can even take a river tour.
The centerpiece of the resort is the Clubhouse, which is modeled after an old Southern plantation with guesthouse wings on either side. It’s also got room for business meetings, conferences, receptions, and banquets. There’s an Olympic-sized swimming pool with a tiki bar at its edge, and two tennis courts at your disposal. Their spacious Clubhouse Suites contain common areas with wet bars and mini fridges, along with free wifi and private balconies or patios.
15. Sea Trail Resort
Located on Sunset Beach, this resort offers three award-winning, world class golf courses just next to the coast. Along with your tee time, they can offer guests instruction, a driving range, putting green, and junior golf programs. Lounge by their enormous outdoor swimming pool or take a fitness classes like Zumba or yoga. Relax on the deck, head to the nearby beach, or go kayaking, horseback riding, or deep sea fishing.
Guests can choose from suites or multi-bedroom villas with spacious floorplans decorated in Southern coastal style. Amenities include complimentary wifi, kitchenettes or full kitchens, and the occasional balcony or patio depending on your room choice. For country club-style dining, head out to either of the two restaurants located in their clubhouses. Grab a snack, light meal, or some comfort food from the laid back Brassie’s Pub or take a seat at Magnolia’s for their classic American fare and themed buffet dinners.