North Carolina is a beautiful and diverse state, offering a variety of attractions and accommodations for travelers to explore. From the majestic mountains of the Western part of the state, to the picturesque Atlantic coastline in the Eastern region, there’s a perfect destination for everyone. In this article, we will share some of the best places to stay in North Carolina, ensuring that you have an unforgettable experience during your visit.
While the state has numerous urban centers, such as Charlotte and Raleigh, visitors will also be delighted by the charming towns like Asheville and Wilmington. These bustling cultural hubs boast a unique mix of historic sites, world-class art scenes, and incredible culinary delights. The Omni Grove Park Inn in Asheville, Biltmore Village Inn, and the Grand Bohemian Hotel are just a few of the many luxurious accommodations available in the state.
For those looking for outdoor adventures, North Carolina is home to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, multiple state parks, and pristine beaches along the Outer Banks. Many vacationers opt for campgrounds or vacation rentals in these areas, allowing them to truly immerse themselves in the natural beauty that surrounds them. So, whether you’re craving a luxurious city getaway or dreaming of a serene beach vacation, North Carolina offers a plethora of options to suit your needs.
Where To Stay
Major Cities to Consider
Asheville is a vibrant city nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains, known for its thriving arts scene and historical architecture. This picturesque city offers a variety of accommodations, such as the Omni Grove Park Inn, which boasts rustic, antique, and elegant décor.
Fun Fact: Asheville is home to the Biltmore Estate, America’s largest privately-owned home, with over 250 rooms.
Things to do:
- Visit the art galleries and studios in the River Arts District
- Drive along the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway
- Explore the Biltmore Estate and its beautiful gardens
Charlotte, the largest city in North Carolina, is a business hub with a diverse range of accommodations for all travelers. The lively city is known for its cultural attractions and sports events.
Interesting Story: Charlotte is affectionately nicknamed “The Hornet’s Nest” due to the tenacity of its Revolutionary War residents who were said to swarm like hornets when the British tried to occupy the area.
Things to do:
- Visit the NASCAR Hall of Fame
- Explore the Levine Museum of the New South
- Attend a Carolina Panthers football game
Raleigh, the capital of North Carolina, offers a mix of urban attractions and small-town charm. As one of the fastest-growing cities in the US, Raleigh is a great place to experience history, arts, and culture.
Fun Fact: Sir Walter Raleigh, the namesake of the city, never actually visited North America.
Things to do:
- Tour the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences
- Visit the North Carolina State Capitol
- Stroll through the JC Raulston Arboretum at North Carolina State University
Wilmington is a coastal city that attracts visitors with its historic downtown, beautiful riverfront, and nearby beaches. The city offers a wide variety of lodging options, from charming bed and breakfasts to luxury hotels.
Interesting Story: Wilmington is home to the USS North Carolina, a World War II battleship that now serves as a museum.
Things to do:
- Visit the USS North Carolina Battleship
- Stroll along the scenic Riverwalk
- Relax on the beautiful beaches at Wrightsville Beach and Carolina Beach
Hotels and Resorts
North Carolina offers a wide range of hotels and resorts to suit every traveler’s budget and preferences. Some popular cities with an abundance of hotels include Charlotte, Asheville, Raleigh, Greensboro, and Durham. Some of the best hotels in North Carolina are known for their excellent service, luxurious amenities, and convenient locations near popular attractions.
Bed and Breakfasts
For a more intimate and personalized experience, consider staying at a charming bed and breakfast. North Carolina is home to many quaint B&Bs, such as the 1898 Waverly Inn in Hendersonville. These small establishments often offer cozy accommodations, and some even provide activities like guided fishing, hunting, and mountain biking.
If you’re looking for a home away from home, vacation rentals are a great option. North Carolina has a variety of vacation rentals available, from beachfront cottages to mountain cabins. Companies like Carolina Designs Realty offer a wide selection of rentals for you to choose from, ensuring a comfortable and enjoyable stay for your entire group.
Camping and RV Parks
For nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts, camping and RV parks provide an immersive way to experience North Carolina’s natural beauty. From the stunning Blue Ridge Mountains to the picturesque Outer Banks, there are countless locations to pitch a tent or park your RV. Some parks offer modern amenities like electric hookups and Wi-Fi, while others provide a more rustic and off-the-grid experience.
Fun Fact or Interesting Story
Did you know that the Brookstown Inn Hotel in Winston-Salem was once the Arista Cotton Mill Complex? Today, it has been beautifully transformed into a historic hotel with unique, character-filled accommodations for visitors to enjoy.
Things to do
No matter which type of accommodation you choose, you’ll never run out of things to do in North Carolina. From exploring bustling cities to hiking through serene national parks and forests, there’s truly something for everyone!
When visiting North Carolina, there’s no shortage of beautiful coastal destinations to choose from. In this section, we highlight three popular areas for beach vacations: Outer Banks, Cape Hatteras, and Emerald Isle.
The Outer Banks is a picturesque stretch of barrier islands, offering pristine beaches and charming coastal towns. For a comfortable stay, consider the Hampton Inn & Suites Outer Banks, which provides private beach access, indoor and outdoor pools, a lazy river, a hot tub, and a fitness room. Plus, you’ll start each day with a complimentary hot breakfast.
Fun Fact: The Wright Brothers National Memorial in the Outer Banks commemorates the location where the first successful airplane flight took place.
Things to do: Enjoy the area’s numerous historic lighthouses, beach activities, and fresh seafood at local restaurants.
At the southern end of the Outer Banks, you’ll find Cape Hatteras. This stretch of coastline is famous for its Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, one of the tallest brick lighthouses in the world. Accommodations in the area range from quaint bed & breakfasts to spacious vacation rentals.
Interesting Story: Cape Hatteras is known as the “Graveyard of the Atlantic” due to the numerous shipwrecks that have occurred in its treacherous waters.
Things to do: Explore the rich maritime history at the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum, partake in water sports like kayaking and surfing, or enjoy a day of birdwatching and nature hikes.
Located on the southern coast of North Carolina, Emerald Isle is a family-oriented beach town with crystal-clear waters and charming local shops. The Harborlight Guest House offers stunning ocean views, luxury bedding, and a complimentary full breakfast.
Fun Fact: Emerald Isle got its name from its lush maritime forest, which provides a green backdrop to the sparkling Atlantic Ocean.
Things to do: Rent a bike and explore the island, indulge in an afternoon at the spa, or participate in local fishing tournaments and other seasonal events.
Blue Ridge Mountains
The Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina offer some of the most breathtaking views and serene landscapes for a perfect mountain retreat. This region is known for its incredible natural beauty and is an ideal destination for outdoor enthusiasts.
One of the best places to stay in the Blue Ridge Mountains is Heritage Hill Cabins, nestled in the heart of the scenic landscape. Here, you can unwind, relax, and enjoy various outdoor activities like hiking, fishing, and skiing. Another excellent option is the Chetola Resort in Blowing Rock, NC, offering luxurious accommodations and access to a range of amenities.
Fun Fact: The Blue Ridge Parkway, which stretches over 469 miles, is touted as America’s Favorite Drive and offers stunning panoramic views of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Things to Do: While exploring this beautiful region, be sure to visit Linville Gorge, referred to as the “Grand Canyon of the East,” and explore the surrounding hiking trails.
Great Smoky Mountains
In the Great Smoky Mountains of North Carolina, you’ll find a peaceful and rejuvenating retreat with a multitude of accommodation options. One such serene escape is the Fire Mountain Inn, Cabins and Treehouses, which offers picturesque vistas of the surrounding mountains and valleys.
Another fantastic option in this region is the Lakeview at Fontana Inn & Treetop Soaking Cabins in Bryson City. This charming mountain resort provides a unique lodging experience with its treetop soaking cabins, perfect for a romantic getaway.
Interesting Story: The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is home to over 1,500 black bears, making it one of the largest protected bear habitats in the eastern United States.
Things to Do: While in the Great Smoky Mountains, consider taking a scenic train ride on the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad or hiking to Clingmans Dome, the highest peak in the park.
With a plethora of outdoor activities, stunning landscapes, and unique lodging options, a mountain retreat in North Carolina is sure to create lasting memories.
Family Friendly Destinations
Theme Park Proximity
North Carolina offers several family-friendly destinations close to theme parks. One popular destination to consider is Charlotte. It’s home to Carowinds, a thrilling amusement park featuring roller coasters, water attractions, and age-appropriate rides for kids. Many hotels nearby can accommodate families, so you can find the perfect place to stay just minutes away from the park.
- Centrally located
- Wide variety of attractions for different age groups
- Near family-friendly hotels
Another great option is Greensboro, which boasts the fun-filled Wet’n Wild Emerald Pointe water park. With a vast selection of water attractions and slides for all ages, it’s an ideal destination to cool down during the warm months.
- Water attractions and slides for all ages
- Relaxing and thrilling options available
- Several nearby accommodations
North Carolina is also rich in destinations that offer educational experiences for the entire family. Visiting Asheville, you can find the North Carolina Arboretum, where you can explore beautiful gardens, nature trails, and exhibits, all while learning about the region’s diverse flora and fauna.
- Pleasant natural surroundings
- Educational exhibits and activities
- Accessible trails and pathways for various skill levels
Another fascinating destination for an educational trip is the North Carolina Transportation Museum in Spencer. The museum offers a unique opportunity to learn about the history of transportation in the state, with exhibits featuring historic trains, automobiles, and aviation artifacts.
- Interactive exhibits and displays
- Fun train rides available
- Engaging for all ages
Fun Fact or Interesting Story:
Did you know that the Biltmore Estate in Asheville is the largest privately-owned home in the United States? This sprawling mansion features 250 rooms, including a bowling alley, indoor pool, and an impressive library. A visit to this stunning estate with the family allows you to explore the magnificent gardens and immerse yourself in the history of the Vanderbilt family.
Things to do:
- Tour the historic Biltmore House and gardens
- Enjoy outdoor activities like hiking and horseback riding on the estate grounds
- Participate in special events and workshops offered throughout the year
Tips for Choosing the Right Place
When planning a trip to North Carolina, it’s essential to consider several factors to help you find the perfect place to stay. Here are some tips to keep in mind while making your decision.
Consider the regions and attractions you want to explore in North Carolina. Whether you’re interested in the mountains, beaches, or bustling cities, each area offers unique experiences. For a luxurious mountain getaway, consider staying at The Omni Grove Park Inn in Asheville. For a more urban experience, explore options like Brookstown Inn Hotel in Winston-Salem.
Type of Accommodation
North Carolina offers a variety of accommodations, from hotels and inns to vacation rentals and resorts. Think about the type of experience you want – a cozy bed and breakfast, a historic hotel, or a modern resort – and choose accordingly.
Some unique options include:
Budget and Amenities
As with any trip, consider your budget and the amenities you desire. North Carolina has options for all budgets, from affordable lodgings to luxurious resorts. Be mindful of your wants and needs, such as on-site dining, pet-friendly accommodations, or wellness facilities.
Did you know the Biltmore Estate is America’s largest home? Visiting this historical landmark is a popular activity in North Carolina.
Things to Do
Consider the activities and attractions you want to enjoy during your stay. North Carolina offers a diverse range of experiences, such as hiking, skiing, golfing, shopping, and cultural activities. Make sure the location you choose has easy access to your preferred activities.