Travel Well: Carolina Winter Destinations

Carolina winter destinations

It’s easy to stay at home during the coldest, darkest months of the year, but one of the best ways to keep active and well is to continue to explore and change your scenery. If you want to de-stress while staying true to your New Years’ resolutions, check out these local Carolina winter destinations, from resorts and inns to charming towns and national parks. We gave recommendations for how to make the most of your visit there while prioritizing physical activity and mental decompression.

Biltmore Estate

Plan a visit to the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC and explore the largest house in the U.S. Walk the property of this 8,000-acre estate, or book a guided horseback ride. Bundle up and go for a guided or solo hike or bike ride. The estate has three beautiful places to stay overnight: The Village, The Inn, and four historic cottages.

Carolina winter destinations

Great Smoky Mountain National Park

Located throughout both Tennessee and North Carolina, be prepared to take a glimpse at the best scenery of your life at the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. In the winter, you can see for miles. Bike, walk and drive to see different wildlife, camp, or feel the cool spray of a waterfall. But pack up some warm clothes, especially at the higher elevations. It’ll be cold!

Old Edwards Inn and Spa

Take some time to relax and explore the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains at the Old Edwards Inn and Spa in Highlands, NC. Breathe in the cool, crisp fresh air of the Blue Ridge Mountains.The Inn has a spa, golf course, and fresh dining options. Take advantage of their Winter All-Inclusive offer where you can explore the mountains, indulge in luxury amenities, and dine on their farm-to-table cuisine.

Sugar Mountain Resort

Take advantage of the winter weather at the Sugar Mountain Resort in Banner Elk, NC. Take the whole family to go ice skating, tubing, skiing, and snowshoeing. Make sure to visit some of the restaurants surrounding the resort, like Bella’s, for all-day breakfast at a cozy cafe located in the heart of Banner Elk.

Carolina winter destinations

Montage Palmetto Bluff

Located in Bluffton, SC, the Montage Palmetto Bluff resort has no shortage of activities at their 20,000-acre retreat. Take a shopping trip at their French-inspired market, enjoy the outdoors with one, or multiple, of their amenities like paddleboarding, horseback riding, and golfing, and explore coastal South Carolina’s art and history. Don’t forget to indulge in their luxury spa, salon, and fitness classes.

Morganton, NC

In the center of Burke County, you will find Morganton, a wonderful starting point for exploring the many surrounding mountains of the Linville Gorge Wilderness. This quaint town offers seclusion amongst the trees and romance with its fine dining options and beautiful downtown. While hiking and exploring, be sure to keep an eye out for the many waterfalls in the area, particularly the cascading Linville Falls. If you are looking to connect with nature and experience something new, Morganton is the place to be.

Hilton Head

At Hilton Head Island, everything is perfectly laid out for easy walk, or bike, ability. You can visit the beaches of Hilton Head, explore the downtown shops and eateries, go fishing or kayaking, or take a break at one of their distilleries and wineries.

Riverbanks Zoo and Gardens

If you’re looking for something active to do with the kiddos, take a trip to Riverbanks Zoo and Garden in Columbia, SC. Here, there is no shortage of fascinating animals to learn about and botanical gardens to roam through. Take a stroll through the gardens in the winter months to look at the pansies, violas, and winter vegetables. During winter break, kids, K-4th grade, can learn about the wildlife in the zoo.

Beech Mountain Resort

Although the Beech Mountain Resort offers fun throughout the year, it has even more so in the winter! Located 20 miles from Roan Mountain, Tennessee, this is the perfect place for winter sports fans. With a brewery at the resort to enjoy some downtime and the 15 ski slopes to get your adrenaline pumping, there are plenty of things to do at this resort.

Bald Head Island

On this island in North Carolina, you are in for a treat during the off-season. Spend the day at the beach or visit Golf Bald Head Island Club’s championship course. Go and discover Old Baldy Lighthouse, first commissioned by Thomas Jefferson, and explore the island’s protected creeks and maritime forest.

The Grove Park Inn

Located in Asheville, North Carolina, The Grove Park Inn is a beautiful homebase for exploring Asheville. The Inn offers a fitness center and an expansive spa. Off-site, you can spend your days hiking on the nearby Blue Ridge Parkway. Or walk through downtown Asheville and enjoy any one of the many health-focused eateries in Asheville, including Plant, Green Sage, or Karma Cafe.

Art of Living Retreat

This retreat center nestled in the mountains of Boone, NC is for the vacationer looking to do a deep dive into their health and wellness. The Art of Living Retreat provides 380 acres of land and comfortable room and board catered to whatever type of replenishing retreat you may need. Their programs include happiness retreats, R & R programs, meditation and yoga, and plenty more so that you can leave feeling fulfilled and recharged. Feed your soul in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains at this tranquil sanctuary.

Deerwoode Reserve

Located in Brevard, NC, the Deerwoode Reserve is home to nine unique cabins. The reserve stretches across 175 acres of conservation land and is the perfect place for a rustic mountain getaway. At the reserve, you will find endless trails for hiking, a beautiful view of snow-covered trees wrapped around a huge lake, and the peace and quiet you have been looking for. Deerwoode is also a short distance away from the infamous Looking Glass Falls, Sliding Rock, Moore Cove Falls, and many other waterfalls in the area.

Wild Dunes Resort

On Isle of Palms in South Carolina, you will find the beachfront Wild Dunes Resort sitting tall right on the edge of the ocean. This award-winning paradise offers a spa, pools, golf, tennis, fine dining, and a boardwalk leading right up to miles of stunning beaches.

Hotel Bennett

Hotel Bennett in downtown Charleston lives up to the praise. The various rooms offer city views and private balconies and a key-access retreat for a more secluded and exclusive getaway. The key-access includes a spa, private cabanas, and personalized service with the utmost attention to detail. The spa offers a range of services from facials to massages. It’s perfect after a day of lounging on your private balcony. Relaxation is easy to come by at Hotel Bennett, where all your needs are catered to.

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