I have long been proud to call North Carolina home, and if one thing came out of this pandemic, it is an even deeper appreciation for the beauty and culture of our state. One of the main reasons I started writing a blog was to showcase places that y’all should experience across the state. So, with that in mind, here are some of my favorite North Carolina destinations!
10 North Carolina Destinations Perfect for a Socially Distant Getaway
Western North Carolina Destinations
Black Mountain is known as the “Front Porch of Western North Carolina” and it is a stunning place to spend a weekend. There is something for everyone, whether you are interested in art and culture, shopping, eating, or outdoor adventures. I highly recommend having brunch on Louise’s front porch and spending the day walking around exploring the town. Grab a flight from Pisgah Brewing Company and listen to live music. You can also walk around Warren Wilson College, a beautiful campus! Black Mountain is also 20 minutes from downtown Asheville, if you wanted to venture there for an afternoon! See the original post here.
Photo by Tammy Torres Photography
There is just so much to do in Greensboro, whether you are a history buff, or you’re looking for new restaurants and breweries to try, or you enjoy art museums and murals–The Gate City has it all! If you make an overnight trip of it, I recommend a stay at the beautiful Proximity Hotel, and definitely order the truffle fries at the hotel restaurant, Print Works Bistro. If you’re a beer enthusiast, try the beers at Little Brother Brewing and Preyer Brewing Co. I’m also partial to the menu at 1618 (ask the server for their recommendation!) and Crafted. For the history buff or those wanting to learn more, you can’t miss the Civil Rights Museum and Guilford Courthouse Park. And if you head to UNC-G campus, be sure to stop in the Weatherspoon Art Museum after grabbing lunch at Boba House! See original posts here and here.
Winston Salem is quite possibly one of my favorite cities in North Carolina. There is so much to do, including exploring the beautiful Reynolda House, checking out the art galleries and local breweries, and the amazing women owned businesses in town. Grab brunch from Mary’s, take in the RJ Reynolds building that has been repurposed to a spectacular Kimpton Hotel, and have dinner at the Katharine Brasserie. Staying overnight? You can’t beat a stay at the Graylyn! I also recommend exploring Old Salem, including the Moravian Bridge! And get lunch at Mozelle’s for the best tomato pie ever. Original posts here and here.
Yadkin Valley Wine Trail
The Yadkin Valley Wine Trail is a great spot to taste new beers and the best of North Carolina wines. While North Carolina might be famous for their muscadine wines, the wineries out in western North Carolina put out some award winning wines that you would typically see in Napa Valley. A lovely starting point is JOLO Vineyards, in Pilot Mountain, where you can have lunch either on the patio of the restaurant, End Posts, or take a picnic into the vines. I also recommend the views at Round Peak Vineyards. Shelton Vineyards is a staple in the area, and has a Hampton Inn right down the street from the property in Dobson, NC. Elkin Creek vineyard has a stunning outdoor space, serves delicious pizzas on Sunday (call to reserve your dough in advance, seriously!), and cabins to rent. Also, I cannot recommend Parkway Vineyard Tours enough to safely get around after sampling wine and beer in the area! Original post here
Central North Carolina Destinations
Photo by Glory Roze Photography
Chapel Hill is hands down one of the most beautiful places in central North Carolina! Depending on your interests, stay at The Siena where you can have a delicious Italian meal on the patio at Il Palio downstairs. The Siena is also pet-friendly, so you can bring your favorite four-legged friends, too! Another lovely spot is the quintessential Carolina Inn! You can experience some of the best of Chapel HIll without ever leaving the property with gorgeous outdoor spaces. If you venture out, be sure to walk through campus and spend some time in the beautiful arboretum. Have dinner at Lantern, grab frozen yogurt from YOPO, and spend an afternoon on the patio at He’s Not Here. And whatever you do, get a biscuit from Sunrise Kitchen, either on your way in or out of town! Original post here.
The Bull City is such a shining star in the state from their recent murals product, to their amazing food scene, and their gorgeous downtown. If you decide to stay overnight, I recommend the 21c Museum Hotel with their art gallery to explore with your favorite beverage. Right across the street is the Unscripted Hotel with an amazing rooftop patio/pool/restaurant perfect for warmer days. And the Durham Hotel has stunning rooftop views of the city. I adore the specialty cocktails and mocktails created by my friends at Kingfisher! I could go on and on about the restaurants, but Bull City Burger and any of the M Restaurants are favorites! If you’re looking for good barbeque, leave downtown and check out Picnic BBQ for delicious sides, pies, and eastern NC style BBQ! Original posts here and here.
Looking for a good spot to truly unwind? Pinehurst is a gorgeous getaway with sprawling front porches, a relaxing spa experience, and some of the best golf courses in the country. Even if you don’t hit the links, there are tennis courts, the pools on site at the Carolina Hotel and the Holly Inn. I spent all morning relaxing by the pool at the spa before strolling through the quaint village visiting shops. We also enjoyed reading in the rocking chairs on the porch and our favorite dinner spot was the Pinehurst Brewing Co. Original post here.
Eastern North Carolina Destinations
Pine Knoll Shores
Looking for a warm retreat? Look no further than Pine Knoll Shores on the beautiful Crystal Coast, right outside of Atlantic Beach. The Inn at Pine Knoll Shores has spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean and great, affordable amenities, including a pool and easy beach access. If you’re just heading down for the day, there are plenty of public beach access areas, as well! And no trip to Pine Knoll Shores is complete without a stop at Big Oak Drive-In where you can get the best shrimp burger!
I fell in love with Southport a couple of years ago while waiting for our ferry over to Bald Head Island. Southport is a slower pace, small town right where the Cape Fear River meets the Atlantic Ocean. The town is easily walkable or accessible by bike and there are great bed and breakfast options and Air BnBs. Have a meal at Provision Company and enjoy views of the Intracoastal from the porch with an ice cold beverage and a crab cake sandwich!
Wilmington is a perfect spot to make an escape whether you are into gardens, such as the beautiful Airlie Gardens, beaches, parks, the riverfront, or dining al fresco. If you’re looking for a spot right on the riverwalk, stay at the Hotel Ballast and enjoy the shops and restaurants on one side, and breathtaking tours on the other. If you’re interested in a quieter spot, check out the Front Street Inn for a welcoming spot. Take a river boat tour while you’re in town to get out on the water and learn a bit more about the area. If you’re into history, don’t miss the U.S.S. North Carolina Battleship! If you go down on the 4th Friday of the month, you can join in the Fourth Friday Gallery Walk. Check out Pilot House Restaurant for lunch and Dram & Morsel for dinner! Original posts here and here.
*Please remember to practice social distancing guidelines and wear a facial covering to protect yourself and others during this global pandemic. Also, some places may be closed because of COVID-19 or have limited seating capacity. We recommend calling ahead for the most up to date information. Travel safely and be kind to one another!
For more North Carolina travel ideas, visit my Travel tab for tips, travel guides, hotel reviews, and more!
Shop the Post
Which of these North Carolina destinations are you most interested in visiting? Let me know in a comment below!