From Nicholas Sparks tours and dolphin-watching to secret speakeasies, these spots will take your relationship to a whole new level
We’ve already declared that North Carolina is for lovers, but here are some ideas for romantic getaways to put that love into action. Trust us, your partner will be impressed no matter which one you go with.
Live Out a Nicholas Sparks Romance Novel IRL
As many bookworms and movie buffs know, the famous romance author Nicholas Sparks set many of his books (and subsequent film versions) in the incomparable state of North Carolina.
Visit North Carolina put together a four-day itinerary for people who want to check out some of the most romantic locales, including Edenton (The Rescue), New Bern (A Walk to Remember, The Notebook), Ocracoke (The Wish), Wilmington (Safe Haven), and elsewhere. You can even leave love letters to each other in the Kindred Spirit Mailbox on Bird Island, which served as the inspiration behind Every Breath.
The trip will take you to tons of specific locations from both the books and movies, and the charming scenery will make you and your partner feel like you’re living in an actual romance novel. “If you’re a bird, I’m a bird!”
Relax at a Highlands Inn
Old Edwards Inn and Spa is “the perfect mountaintop destination for couples to get away for some ‘us’ time.”
The European-style property in the heart of Highlands is just steps away from boutiques and music venues but is surrounded by the pristine lakes and waterfalls of the Blue Ridge Mountains, making it the ultimate spot to relax with your loved one.
Make the most of your stay by booking the Romantic Mountain Escape package, which includes two nights at Old Edwards Inn, a three-course dinner for two at any Old Edwards restaurant, two $100 spa credits, and champagne with strawberries.
Take your Romance to New Heights in a Treehouse-Turned-Airbnb
Nestled in the woods near Charlotte sits the treehouse of your dreams. For $309 per night, you can rent The Carolina Treehouse, which has a 4.93-star rating on Airbnb and was Charlotte’s No. 1 wish-listed property in 2021.
The photos will make you drool, but the description says it all: “We built this place for dreamers to reset, reflect, and create. Designed with a ‘slow’ pace in mind. Our hope is that you enjoy every part of your stay at our Carolina Treehouse; from enjoying your morning cup of pour over coffee to selecting your favorite record to play as the sun sets or curl up underneath on our swing bed that overlooks the private pond in this lodge-chic treehouse all while being surrounded by nature.” Idyllic.
If you want to look for a treehouse closer to home, check out this extensive list from Treehouse Trippers.
Wine and Dine Along the Surry County Wine Trail
Vineyards exude romance and offer the perfect opportunity to wine and dine your better half. In the heart of Yadkin Valley—aka “The New Napa”—there are over a dozen vineyards and wineries tucked away in the rolling hills.
The best way to experience them all is to follow the Surry County Wine Trail, which includes 18 different wineries. That includes Stony Knoll Vineyards, which has been in the same family since 1896, and three that are official Homegrown by Heroes farms—meaning they’re owned and operated by veterans).
Fill your cup with love (and Chardonnay).
Soak Up The Love in Hot Springs
The town of Hot Springs may only have a population of 567, but it holds big adventures. While there’s mountain biking, horseback riding, llama treks, whitewater rafting, local breweries, and log cabins, the most romantic thing to do in the village is go to the namesake hot mineral springs that have been enjoyed by lovers for centuries.
Both the Hot Springs Resort and Spa and Broadwing Spa offer soaks, although the private tubs at the latter are only available if you book a cabin to stay in. Hot Springs Resort and Spa, on the other hand, offers private hot tubs by the hour. The secluded outdoor decks are strewn along the scenic Spring Creek and French Broad River and are right across the road from the Hot Springs Campground.
Relax and let the flowing water ease your bodies and minds. Afterward, you won’t have a care in the world.
Scratch Your Globetrotting Itch in Little Switzerland
If you have dreams of traveling the world with your significant other but time and finances keep getting in the way, check out Little Switzerland. The quaint, alpine-style village located just an hour outside of Asheville will give you a taste of Europe with all the convenience of a day trip or staycation.
Switzerland Inn, which opened its doors in 1911, has breathtaking views of the Blue Ridge Mountains and offers indoor and outdoor dining at the Chalet Restaurant. They also have a more low-key pub attached that serves local brews. The downtown has a bookshop and coffee shop, Swiss-style stores, art galleries, an ice cream parlor, and more. Nearby, there are plenty of outdoor adventures that await, including an historic orchard.
You’ll be singing the soundtrack to The Sound of Music all weekend long.
Golf in the Blue Ridge Mountains at Omni Grove Park Inn
Omni Grove Park Inn is one of the highest-rated hotels in the state, so a stay there will certainly impress your sweetheart (especially if you’re a couple who likes to golf).
There are incredible guest rooms (some are even pet-friendly), a Donald Ross-designed golf course, tennis courts, an outdoor adventure center, onsite shopping, a spa that was voted one of the Top Resort Spas in The US by Condé Nast Traveler, and delicious cuisine.
Sunset Terrace, the hotel’s sophisticated steak and seafood restaurant, is hands down the most romantic spot on the property. It not only won the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence five separate times, but it provides an unbeatable view of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Unwind and Unplug at Lakeview at Fontana
If you look up romantic getaways in North Carolina, you’ll find that Lakeview at Fontana graces every outlet’s list. Whether you decide to stay overnight at the Bryson City spot overlooking the Great Smoky Mountains and Fontana Lake or just enjoy the two-person soaking tub in a treetop cabana, it’s bound to be a romantic time.
We recommend the Cloud 9 offering, which includes a 90-minute soak for two, complete with bath salts, chilled champagne, luxurious skin products, and robes.
Spot Dolphins and Wild Horses in the OBX
Seeing the legendary Spanish Mustangs prance along Outer Banks beaches and watching dolphins dive in and out of crystal clear water makes for a date that will definitely go down in the books.
You can set out to see the horses on your own (preferably with a four-wheel-drive vehicle that can get you beach access), or you can book a guided tour with a company like Corolla Outback Adventures or Wild Horse Adventure Tours. There are also plenty of companies in the area that offer dolphin-watching boat trips, including Kitty Hawk Kites, Capt. Ron’s Island Tours, and Crystal Coast Lady Cruises. Then there’s Crystal Coast Ecotours, which offers both.
Turn Up the Romance at Raleigh’s Speakeasies
North Carolina’s capital is arguably the most romantic city in the state. Whether you’re longtime residents or visitors craving a date night in the city, there are plenty of interesting and romantic things to do.
For example, there are tons of secret speakeasies strewn across the city, from The Merchant (where the entrance is disguised as a vintage vending machine) to The Green Light (which is hidden behind a bookcase) and Foundation (which is below a Fayetteville Street alley).
The dimly lit rooms, clandestine vibes, and delicious cocktails will undoubtedly spice up your evening.
Explore the Opulent Biltmore Estate
The iconic Biltmore Estate in Asheville combines so many of the ideas on this list into one. Considered “America’s Largest Home,” the 19th-century mansion hosts rotating art exhibitions, an award-winning winery, multiple restaurants, 20 miles of nature trails, ornate gardens, and unforgettable overnight stays.
Whether you choose to spend a day exploring the 8,000-acre oasis or make a whole weekend out of it, romance is sure to abound.