Ring in the season with an escape to some of the Carolinas’ most festive towns, cities, holiday hotels, and inns.
Whether you’re looking to skip town on the actual big day, or simply hoping to embrace the season in a new place for a weekender or day trip, traveling around the holidays is surprisingly fun, and quite easy if you keep it simple by choosing destinations within driving distance.
Break with tradition this year and let someone else do the cooking, cleaning, and hosting at one of these perfectly festive hotels. Or, pack up the car and take a roadtrip to your choice of the many towns and cities in the Carolinas that know exactly how to deck the streets and spread holiday cheer through the community.
The Inn on Biltmore Estate
Experience the holiday cheer of the iconic Biltmore, where a châteauesque aesthetic meets modern comforts. Enjoy the spectacular seasonal decor, cozy lodging and amenities unlike anything you have experienced in North Carolina before. The crown jewel of our state, Biltmore is sure to delight the whole family this holiday season.
The Biltmore Village Hotel
The Biltmore Village Hotel is also located on the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, but offers a more intimate experience. Guests will find themselves walking distance from the Antler Hill Village, Winery and Farmyard, with access to activities such as bird-watching and kayaking. In sum, enjoy a quiet escape with a stunning view of the Blue Ridge Mountains at the Biltmore. And stay for the glittering holiday décor that adorns each area of the estate from this holiday hotel.
Two Meeting Street Inn
A romantic bed and breakfast right in the heart of Charleston, and one of the oldest inns in South Carolina, Two Meeting Street Inn offers a perfect location in the heart of Charleston. Alongside unparalleled Southern hospitality, guests can indulge in a hot Southern breakfast in the morning. Or unwind and warm back up with the afternoon Lowcountry tea after a day of exploring the city.
Omni Grove Park Inn
Located in Asheville, overlooking the majestic Blue Ridge Mountains,the Omni Grove Park Inn provides an ideal holiday getaway for a variety of interests. Enjoy a hot chocolate on a brisk day at the Sunset Terrace, or experience the authentic Southern cuisine of the Blue Ridge restaurant. If you’re feeling especially festive, the annual National Gingerbread House Competition is for you. Experience the winter splendor of the nearby Blue Ridge Parkway, or get your holiday shopping done in downtown Asheville. As far as holiday hotels go, the Omni Grove Park Inn has much to offer for those wishing to experience the magic of the season, North Carolina-style.
Belmond Charleston Place
Enjoy the coastal breeze during your stay at Belmond Charleston Place. During the holidays, guests are greeted with a personal signature stocking and hot chocolate upon arrival. Find time to relax in their luxurious spa, or enjoy the panoramic views over a meal at The Clocktower Terrace. Don’t forget your furry friends: All pets are welcome at Belmond Charleston Place.
French Quarter Inn
Luxurious amenities await you at Charleston’s French Quarter Inn. Located on historic King Street, French Quarter Inn is the perfect destination for lovers of the Palmetto State. Experience the history and romance of Charleston while enjoying the mahogany furnished beds, fireplaces, and complimentary evening wine and cheese offered by the French Quarter Inn. The mild winter weather of coastal South Carolina makes spending your holiday here all the more appealing. Enjoy a proper Southern holiday at the French Quarter Inn.
Westin Poinsett, in Greenville, SC, is a sustainable, yet elegant hotel with a historic charm that has lasted for over 100 years. This hotel offers luxurious suites and is only a short walk away from The Peace Center, a performing arts concert hall that hosts plenty of seasonal entertainment.
Grand Bohemian Asheville
This beautifully luxurious holiday hotel is located right by the Biltmore in Asheville, NC. It is also pet-friendly, which is helpful for holiday travel. While at the Grand Bohemian, you’re granted full access to the beautiful scenery and lively city that will help you get into the Christmas spirit. Before you head home, dine on-site at Red Stag Grille, or enjoy the Poseidon Spa.
Experience the 1920s glamor offered at The Spectator Hotel. Well-known for their eclectic vibe, The Spectator has everything you need for a luxurious and unique stay. Specifically, book the Romance Package to enjoy several complimentary services, including in-room massages, and a carriage ride through Charleston’s Historic District.
The Ballantyne Hotel
Enjoy a “staycation” just minutes away from home at The Ballantyne Hotel. Just a 20-minute drive from Uptown Charlotte, this holiday hotel is a well-kept gem. Join the festivities on Christmas Day and enjoy the Ballantyne Ballroom Buffet, the hotel’s annual Christmas feast. Spend a day relaxing in the hotel’s luxury spa, or enjoy the high-end Southern cuisine at The Gallery restaurant, and make sure to have a sample of their whiskey collection, one of the largest in the Carolinas.
Reconnect with nature and relax at this immersive lodge. If you are looking for a peaceful escape, look no further than Chetola Resort, located a walking distance from the village of Blowing Rock in the mountains of North Carolina. From November through January, enjoy the annual Festival of Lights by walking or driving the pond loop. For more fun, head to the sporting range, the spa or indulge in seasonally-inspired dining at Bob Timberlake’s.
Explore Charleston’s historic district and experience a stay that is like no other at Charleston’s first and only art hotel, The Vendue. Each room has a different feel, staying true to its artistic nature and history. Guests can indulge in the Vendue over 300 works all over the property. This holiday hotel is the perfect place to stay for art lovers from all over. Enjoy nightly milk and cookies by the beautiful tree and twinkling lights in the lobby.
The Duke Mansion
Just two miles outside of the Queen City, the Duke Mansion allows guests to experience the lively city and relax away from the boisterousness of the city. The property covers 4 and 1/2 acres for guests to stroll through, and the Mary DBT Gardens provides guests with beautiful scenery. During the holiday season, enjoy the annual “high tea and shopping” event with local vendors on site, making this one of the best holiday hotels.
Franklin’s annual Winter Wonderland festival is the perfect place to spruce up your holiday season. Bundle up and sip on hot cider while you take a carriage ride through the quaint city streets. Or, opt to walk through the downtown, where you can shop and take in the sights and sounds of the season with several of the living window displays. Along the way, enjoy local shops where you can purchase artwork, pottery or handmade gifts. Plus, don’t forget to stop at Honeysuckle Bakehouse, which sells delicious cakes, pastries and other festive treats perfect to bring with you to a holiday party.
Sylva offers the perfect winter getaway. For those who want to brave the cold, take a hike at Pinnacle Park and take in scenic winter views. Or, head downtown and shop local for your gift needs. While there, you can stop at the Farmhouse Mercantile and Coffee bar, and sip on a delicious cup of coffee while you browse the boutique store.
To enjoy the flavors of the season, drive up to Davidson, NC. This cozy town, situated right on Lake Norman, is about 30 minutes north of Uptown Charlotte and home to several eclectic and unique dining experiences. Savor the season at Summit Coffee, where you can relax with a cup of their spiced apple cider. Without a doubt, head to Kindred, where the team carefully curates small plates that incorporate the best flavors of the season. Furthermore, expect Davidson to be decked out with twinkling lights and other festive notes. For one weekend in December, Christmas in Davidson, an annual festival, takes over the entire Main Street with vendors, a tree decorating contest, sleigh rides, and more.
Greenville really pulls out the stops for big holidays. In December, you’ll find Santa, carolers, tons of twinkly lights, and an outdoor rink for ice skating. Specifically, in NOMA Square, visitors will discover an oversized menorah, which is lit at the annual Chanukah on Main to mark the first night of the holiday.
There’s a ton of charm in Charleston during this time of year. Two of our favorite things to do are to attend The Charleston Festival of Lights and to enjoy walking the peninsula to take in the design-forward decor. Specifically, the drive-thru holiday light show is the perfect, family-friendly event. Held at James Island County Park, it runs nightly beginning in November and continues through the end of year. The festival opens at 5:30 p.m. and closes at 10 p.m. nightly. Moreover, if you want to take things at your own pace, grab a hot chocolate or a decaf coffee and walk the homes near the waterfront to see the lights, wreaths, and bows that dot nearly all of the stunning mansions.
North Carolina’s most iconic mountain town, the seasonal delights of Asheville are endless. Bundle up and enjoy the brisk weather as you explore the beautifully decorated North Carolina Arboretum, host to 434 acres of Christmas lights. Buy your loved ones a gift at one of Asheville’s many quaint shops, and celebrate the season with a stay at the luxurious Biltmore estate.
Forest City, NC
The small North Carolina town of Forest City is well known for its holiday festivities. Beginning with the lighting ceremony on Thanksgiving night, visitors can take a carriage ride down Main Street to enjoy the lights, or spend a romantic evening going ice skating like something straight out of your favorite Christmas movie. In sum, Forest City is the place for Christmas cheer.
Altogether, McAdenville is the perfect place for the whole family to visit during the holidays. This is a town known for their holiday spirit. Annually, they offer two special events; one of them is a tree lighting ceremony and the other the yule log ceremony. Drive through the town to take in the many twinkling houses. Indeed, with an abundance of beautiful lights and homes, and lots of Christmas spirit, visiting McAdenville is fun for the whole family.
Northwest of Columbia, Newberry is a charming, historic town that knows how to bring the joy of the season to all. The season kicks off with a community Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony, located in front of Community Hall. Each year, Main Street is transformed and visitors can peruse downtown for Christmas shopping. On Fridays in December, Newberry hosts North Pole Nights, which is a chance to visit Santa by our faux snow machines and stay for storytime with Mrs. Claus.
Bryson City, NC
If you’re looking for a place to visit for the fall weather, Bryson City is the place to be. Here, you’ll be able to visit the Great Smoky Mountains, hike, and embrace the season’s change. New in 2022 is the Smoky Mountain Christmas Light Spectacular, a drive-thru light show set to music. Other events include a holiday hayride, holiday shopping from local artisans, and an outdoor ice skating rink
Banner Elk, NC
This holiday season, take a trip up to Banner Elk, NC. Nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains, this quaint town offers visitors an opportunity to enjoy its sweet mountain air. Spend the day at Grandfather Vineyard and Winery, or enjoy the slopes during a stay at Sugar Ski and Country Club. Located at the top of Sugar Mountain, the resort offers year-round rentals that are just steps away from the piste.
For the perfect holiday getaway, enjoy a stay in Hendersonville, NC. Above all, take a stroll down Main Street, and stop by Moonshine and Magnolias to pick up the perfect unique gift. While you’re in town, have a bite at Postero and browse their well curated wine list. Lastly, make sure to stay for the annual tree-lighting ceremony and watch as Main Street lights up.