Published by Christina Riley. Last Updated on February 15, 2024.
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
Whether you’re a new resident, a frequent visitor, or a local, we’re leaving no detail behind. If you live in North Carolina and are wondering, “What are the best winter getaways near me?” we think this NC travel guide will help you out!
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, especially if you bring kids.
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 People.
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.
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.
These are just a few reasons why we think North Carolina’s High Country is an amazing place to visit and one of the best romantic winter getaways 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.
Hot Springs is probably our favorite of the many winter resorts in North Carolina.
Keep reading, though, if you think we can change your mind!
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.
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?
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 Natural Healing 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 enjoy winter in North Carolina! Even if there’s no snow on the ground, the Hawksnest zipline is there to provide a thrilling ride.
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 Holidays
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 museums like the Mint Museum and the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
Discovery Place Science is one of multiple Discovery Place locations and is 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.
The city is also a big sports town, with the NBA’s Hornets playing at the Spectrum Center and the Carolina Panthers battling the NFL’s best at Bank of America Stadium.
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.
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 Historic Magnolia House as a place to stay in Greensboro.
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 for winter getaways in North Carolina. Festive fun joins those gorgeous watery scenes to make these places worthy of our list! Plus, the surf is most often pumping during these colder months.
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 many family-friendly things to do in Wilmington.
From the Wilmington Railroad Museum and the decks of Battleship North Carolina to the beautiful and festive Christmas lights at Enchanted Airlie (at Airlie Gardens), there are so many great things to do in the “offseason.”And none of the traffic!
- 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 winter. 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, pet friendly Atlantis Lodge in Atlantic Beach is always ready for you. We also think Atlantic Beach is one of the best beaches in North Carolina.
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 visit 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!