Last Updated on February 10, 2023
Last Updated on February 10, 2023
North Carolina is an incredible travel destination throughout the year, with things to do for every season. In this article, though, we’re going to focus on our favorite winter getaways in North Carolina.
From spa resorts to winter bonfires, there are plenty of ways to relax and enjoy winter all across the state. Of course, we can’t forget about skiing, snow tubing, and more fun.
If you’re searching for specific parts of the state for your winter getaways, we’ve organized this post into the following sections:
- Western North Carolina Winter Getaways
- Skiing and Snow Tubing Winter Getaways
- Central North Carolina Winter Getaways
- Eastern North Carolina Winter Getaways
If you’re familiar with this time of year in our state, let’s see if your favorite winter vacation spots made our list!
Read More: The North Carolina Bucket List
List of Winter Getaways in North Carolina
To visually plan your trip, these winter getaways can be found on our NC Travel Map.
- The High Country
- Hot Springs Resort
- Maggie Valley
- Beech Mountain
- Sugar Mountain
- Hawksnest Snow Tubing
- New Bern
- The Outer Banks
Read More: The Best North Carolina Breweries
Western North Carolina Winter Getaways
With beautiful mountains and valleys filled with incredible winter getaways, it’s a given that we’d start out west for this guide.
North Carolina’s historic Biltmore Estate is like a magical fairy tale in the winter. Christmas at Biltmore brings more visitors than any other time of the year as the house is decorated for the festive season.
The winter gardens are perfect for walking, and the Red Wine & Chocolate Tasting experience is a perfect way to stay warm.
Beyond Biltmore, Asheville is an incredible travel destination in the winter. With plenty of breweries to keep you warm, restaurants to fill your belly, and museums to learn a thing or two (like the Asheville Art Museum), there are plenty of things to do in Asheville in the winter.
Read More: Airbnbs in Asheville
One major reason we think Cherokee belongs in this guide to winter getaways in North Carolina is the amazing Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort. This wonderful place is a popular destination in Cherokee throughout the year, but the colder months make it even more alluring.
We highly recommend you stay and play at this Harrah’s location, but we also think there’s more to see in Cherokee.
You can start by learning about Native American heritage and history at the Museum of the Cherokee Indian.
If the weather cooperates, we think you should visit Mingo Falls and Soco Falls. Both are among our favorite waterfalls in North Carolina.
Read More: 50+ Beautiful Waterfalls near Asheville
The High Country
If we haven’t said it before, North Carolina’s High Country is one of our favorite spots to vacation.
While the fall colors are perfect and temps remain mostly mild in the summer, the mountain towns of Blowing Rock and Boone (Banner Elk, too!) also make for fantastic winter getaways.
Any of these cool Airbnbs in Boone and in nearby High Country towns would be awesome enough winter getaways on their own.
Cuddle up under a blanket for Chetola Resort’s Bonfire Nights, sled down the hills near the Blue Ridge Parkway (MP 294), and grab a pint at one of Boone’s breweries before exploring the town’s fun things to do.
Some of our favorite Christmas tree farms in North Carolina happen to be in the High Country, concentrated in Ashe County and around Boone in Watauga County.
These are just a few reasons why we think North Carolina’s High Country is an amazing winter getaway!
Read More: 25 of the Most Amazing Winter Hikes in North Carolina
Hot Springs Resort
While not your typical luxury “resort,” the hot mineral tubs at Hot Springs Resort and Spa are perfect during winter. The busiest time of year is during fall when the leaves change, so you won’t have to battle the crowds either.
You can access the hot tubs that sit along Spring Creek throughout the day (reservation required) or book a cabin that comes with its own tub. All are supplied with healing natural mineral water.
Four luxury suites and a deluxe cabin await you, but you don’t have to stay at the resort to soak in the mineral baths! Release your stress and worries along the creek, and then get a massage for a relaxing way to ease into winter.
Based on all of this, we might pick Hot Springs as the winner of winter getaways in North Carolina.
Keep reading, though, if you think we can change your mind!
Read More: Max Patch Trail (A Short Hike to Beautiful 360-Degree Views!)
Maggie Valley is one of our personal favorite mountain vacation spots, especially when the temps start to drop! From your base here, you can hit the slopes at the Cataloochee Ski Area, take in the Christmas lights in Waynesville, and drive for epic views at Newfound Gap.
The Oconaluftee Visitor Center at Great Smoky Mountains National Park is always a treat, especially if you visit when the elk are out. Stay tuned for more on this wonderful spot inside an amazing national park.
Read More: 20+ Wonderful Restaurants in Waynesville NC and Nearby!
Skiing and Snow Tubing Spots
Beech Mountain offers fun throughout the year but it really comes alive in the winter! With 15 slopes at Beech Mountain Ski Resort, an open-air ice rink, and hills made for lasting winter memories, Beech Mountain is the ultimate North Carolina winter getaway.
We’ve seen some interesting debates between Beech Mountain and the next place in our Facebook Group. If you’ve been to both, which is your favorite?
Read More: Winter in Boone (20 Great Activities, Snow Tubing, and More!)
Sure, there is incredible skiing at Sugar Mountain, but did you know there are also 700-foot-long tubing lanes and a magic carpet lift? As if those weren’t enough, there is also a 10,000-square-foot outdoor ice skating rink where you can glide like an Olympian.
After you’ve spent time playing outside, warm up with some hot cocoa or a wellness visit to the Serenity Day Spa.
Read More: Christmas in North Carolina
Hawksnest Snow Tubing
Hawksnest Snow Tubing sits close to Banner Elk and is an excellent way to truly enjoy winter in North Carolina!
For starters, it’s the largest snow tubing park on the East Coast, with four different areas and over 30 lanes dedicated to snow tubing. Prices are incredibly reasonable, so spend the whole day making winter memories!
Read More: Ski Resorts in North Carolina
Central North Carolina Winter Getaways
The mountains aren’t the only place to find wonderful winter getaways in North Carolina. Here are a few of our favorite spots in the center of the state.
In case you don’t already live in Charlotte, we think you should keep Queen City high on your list of winter getaways in North Carolina. Charlotte has some pretty awesome hotels and places to eat (especially healthier options).
Book a stay at Hilton Charlotte Center City or the Historic Dunhill Hotel and you’ll be close to many of the city’s Uptown attractions, including the Mint Museum, the NASCAR Hall of Fame, and the Spectrum Center (for Hornets games, of course!).
Discovery Place Science is one of multiple Discovery Place locations and great for families traveling to the big city. If the weather cooperates, you should spend time outside at one of Charlotte’s many parks (Freedom and Independence) or at the US Whitewater Center.
Of course, the pool is closed during colder months but you can still rock climb and zipline before grabbing a meal and drink at the Pump House Biergarten.
Read More: Things to Do in Concord and Cabarrus County
Check into Proximity Hotel and never leave! This eco-friendly and sustainable hotel is an absolute beauty and also has fantastic on-site dining.
But if you plan on leaving, Greensboro has plenty of delicious restaurants, interactive museums, and great breweries to keep you busy!
The Greensboro Science Center is perfect in the winter as is the
Miriam P. Brenner Children’s Museum (formerly the Greensboro Children’s Museum).
Both make our list of our favorite kid-friendly museums in North Carolina!
Make sure to stop by the International Civil Rights Museum while you are there to learn more about Greensboro’s place in history. Speaking of history, we also suggest the Magnolia House as a place to stay in Greensboro.
Read More: Things to do in Greensboro and Kid-friendly Activities
With plenty of delicious restaurants and breweries (also, museums!) there are so many ways to travel during the winter in Raleigh.
If the Hurricanes are in town, hopefully, you can grab one of the NHL’s hottest tickets and sit close to the ice.
Head to the NC Museum of Natural Sciences and the North Carolina Museum of History to enjoy some of the best things to do with kids in Raleigh, also free! That includes the amazing North Carolina Museum of Art, too!
Check yourself into the Umstead Hotel and Spa in Cary and rejuvenate your soul all while enjoying all the wonderful greenways and indoor venues. We also love the Mayton in Cary and think you will, too!
Read More: Airbnbs in Raleigh
Eastern North Carolina Winter Getaways
Don’t count out the coast when it comes to winter getaways in North Carolina. Festive fun joins those gorgeous watery scenes to make these places worthy of our list!
Read More: 50+ Easy Day Trips from Fayetteville (Great Getaways!)
New Bern is a beautiful riverside town with plenty of things to do. With bear statues all across the city, a great activity to keep is to see how many you can find!
As North Carolina’s first permanent capital, there is a lot of history packed into the streets of New Bern. Take a tour of Tryon Palace and make sure to stop by the Pepsi Store, in case you didn’t know Brad’s Drink originated here!
And if you are in town for WinterFeast (typically held in January), shuck an oyster or two for us! If you can’t make that great event, don’t worry because there are plenty of delicious New Bern restaurants to enjoy throughout the year!
Read More: Historic Towns in North Carolina
Much like Raleigh, Port City has plenty of indoor activities that are perfect for winter getaways in North Carolina! And thankfully, there are also a lot of family-friendly things to do in Wilmington.
From the Wilmington Railroad Museum, the decks of Battleship North Carolina, to the beautiful and festive Christmas lights at Enchanted Airlie, there are so many great things to do in the “offseason.”
The great collection of restaurants and breweries will keep you warm when in Wilmington during the winter, too. Oh, and don’t forget about the beaches nearby, which include the following:
- Carolina Beach
- Kure Beach
- Masonboro Island
- Wrightsville Beach
Read More: The Best Beaches in North Carolina
Beaufort is a very popular summer destination, thanks to a friendly boat marina, winter is actually an excellent time to visit this Carteret County town!
Across Taylor Creek, the Rachel Carson Reserve fills up with birds and wildlife during the winter months. With less vegetation, this makes the birding spectacular!
Grab a meal at Moonrakers during your visit and if you’d like to stay closer to the beach, Atlantis Lodge in Atlantic Beach is always ready for you. We also think Atlantic Beach is one of the best beaches in North Carolina.
Read More: How to Explore the NC Oyster Trail (10+ Adventurous Ways!)
The Outer Banks
We know that the Outer Banks is typically THE summer destination, but there are plenty of ways to enjoy the beach in the off-season! The prices at vacation rentals are lower, the temperatures are mild, and the sounds of the ocean are still perfect for waking up to each morning.
Explore the friendly Outer Banks towns, wander around kid-friendly hikes, and chow down at one of these restaurants for a fun experience. We think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how wonderful North Carolina’s coast is during the winter!
Read More: How to See Outer Banks Wild Horses
Ready for These Winter Getaways in North Carolina?
With a mix of outdoor and indoor fun, we think these places are the perfect winter getaways for your next cold-weather vacation in North Carolina. It’s tough for us to choose but we’d love to know which one will you be visiting first.
If there’s a place you think needs to be added, let us know in the comments or by email and we’ll be happy to chat more!