The Tarheel State is known for a variety of terrains, with stunning sandy beaches all along the coast and many majestic mountain ranges throughout. There are plenty of romantic getaways in North Carolina for all to enjoy year round. Along with this natural wonderland of landscapes, there is a sense of heritage and history that results in an abundance of charm.
North Carolina is filled with quaint towns creating an ambiance of romance. Discover the meaning of southern hospitality through the exploration of diverse cultural destinations. Find folksy hamlets, bustling boroughs, and everything in between. Each spot has its own unique, alluring aura awaiting you for the ideal couples’ retreat.
Romantic Getaways in North Carolina
Enjoy the Art Scene in Nags Head
Nags Head boasts the largest oceanfront stretch in the picturesque Outer Banks. It also has the largest selection of galleries and studios in the Banks. Gallery Row is a thriving art scene full of painted, sculpted, and carved treasures. It’s super fun to browse the collections and guess each other’s favorite works. Its name is steeped in pirate lore adding to its mystery and intrigue. There are two fishing piers, both scenic and whimsical.
In Nags Head you will find Jockey’s Ridge State Park, the tallest sand dunes in the east. These otherworldly formations are enchanting and offer uninterrupted natural landscape and sweeping views of the town itself. There are ample options for entertainments and amenities here while still feeling laidback, making it the perfect coastal town for an intimate excursion.
Explore Historic Gastonia
Gastonia is a treasure trove of fun for any couple. It’s a mid-sized city in central Carolina with plenty to do. Known for its variety of antique shops, this is the best place to hunt for retro riches. Dallas Lavender Lane Farm smells just as beautiful as it looks. With six acres of botanical bliss, it’s ideal for a whimsical wander or romantic photoshoot.
Crowders Mountain State Park has many trails to choose from for all skill levels. There are several breweries serving up unique hoppy North Carolina creations. Be sure to make a trip to Schiele Museum of Natural History to contemplate all the mysteries of the living world together. Downtown Gastonia is an historic district of cute shops and southern eateries to explore.
Enjoy the Coastal Breeze in Beaufort
As it inspired the setting for the famous novel, A Walk to Remember, this town is no stranger to romance. Beaufort is a small town on the Crystal Coast known for its architecture and atmosphere. It has an old-world southern charm as well as world class fishing. It offers a sweet slice of life with many boutiques and antique shops to stroll by. One of the best things to do in Beaufort is fish in the morning and stroll the town in the evening together.
The dock provides views of sailboats, sparkling shores, and even island wild ponies. Treat your honey to one of the many tasty places in the area such as Clawson’s, No-Name Pizza, General Store, or the weekly farmers’ market. There are plenty of water ventures to partake in including, diving, kayaking, and cruising.
Enjoy the Farmer’s Market in Carrboro
This charming town has so much to offer and is the perfect spot for a romantic getaway in North Carolina. It’s a creative haven that inspires joy. Truly a unique and underrated vacation spot, there is much to explore. Progressive and vibrant, it was originally a mill town and railway depot. You will find a plethora of live music everywhere, from small DIY venues to outdoor beer gardens. The North Carolina Botanical Garden is a flora filled wonderland with romance written all over it.
The Carrboro Farmers’ Market has fresh and local produce along with artisanal craft goodies, all sold by the creators themselves. We love to wander the funky shops on Main Street, sip a coffee at the dreamy Cafe Driade, find our favorite microbrews at Steel String, and, of course, no Carrboro trip is complete without a bite to eat at Elmo’s Diner. Crossties BBQ is a must for a true Carolina experience set in vintage train cars. As the home of college basketball, it’s always fun to try and catch a game. If you prefer cinema to athletics, the Varsity Theater is a vintage staple of the community.
Weekend Escape to Bald Head Island
Bald Head Island feels like a real escape from the everyday. Leave your car and your troubles on the mainland and hop on a 20-minute ferry ride to paradise. Most of the island is made up of protected nature preserves, creating a pristine wilderness adventure. The tranquility of the island translates to an oasis for eco lovers.
The maritime forests are home to a variety of unique plant and animal life to encounter. Old Baldy is one of the oldest lighthouses in the state and a climb to the top serves up sentimental scenes overlooking the whole of the island. It’s a secret gem where you will make memories you won’t soon forget.
Chase Waterfalls in Brevard
One of the best things to do in North Carolina is get outside in Brevard. Brevard is known as the land of waterfalls, what could be more amorous? The picture-perfect landscape of this town will steal your heart. It is a place of adventure and is perfect for an action-packed escape from reality. There are over 250 waterfalls and 1000 miles of hiking trails. The area is rich with woodlands – try a trek in Pisgah National Forest or Dupont State Recreational Forest.
It’s an unspoiled destination, with endless outdoor activities from rock climbing to kayaking to mountain biking to ziplining. In downtown Brevard, Main Street is an Americana dreamscape. It’s home to many quirky festivals, so be sure to plan your visit to coincide with one such festive event. You must also try and catch a glimpse of the most famous residents here, the White Squirrels!
Escape the Crowds in Ocracoke
Ocracoke is an idyllic island of undeveloped and uncrowded coast and has some of the best beaches in North Carolina. Its raw and untamed spirit is infectious in all the best ways. Feel the freedom of life lived off the grid together. Time slows down on the island, allowing for lavish and lazy forays into fishing, kayaking, surfing, or strolling through the village.
Ocracoke lighthouse is a must visit. For the best photo ops, hit it up at golden hour and then catch the sunset from the tip top. Many charming local spots host live music, perfect for a drink and dance with that special someone. The harbor here is home to quaint shops, eateries, and beautiful views for the classic Carolina experience.
Chase Fireflies in Hendersonville
If you are looking for a mellow mountain town to imbibe all the best local beverages, head to Hendorsonville. The Cheers Trail showcases 16 different breweries, wineries, distilleries, and cideries. We love the Mineral and Lapidary Museum, a rare and sparkling collection of minerals, artifacts, fossils, gems, and geodes. Jump Off Rock is a small, secret, panoramic park perfect for a sunset picnic.
Rural North Carolina is traditionally home to an abundance of fireflies, only adding to its alluring charm. However, Hendersonville has a special specific type of lightning bug named the blue ghost firefly. They are the subject of many a magical myth and are known for glowing (as opposed to flashing) which creates a glittering blue wonderland around you.
Stroll Through New Bern
Famous for its role in The Notebook, New Bern is a deluge of fairy-tale delight within the Inner Banks. Its other claims to fame are being the birthplace of Pepsi and the original capital of the state. Needless to say, New Bern has a lot to be proud of and celebrates through charming cultural attractions. See if you can spot each and every kitschy bear statue scattered around the town.
The coastal Carolina history, along with southern hospitality, makes for a fun and friendly feel that’s more than welcoming. Its waterfront is vibrant, its downtown is bustling, and its art scene is abundant. There is also plenty of nature to explore at the heart of the Twin Rivers and many museums to learn more about this eclectic community. You will never be bored in New Bern.
Go Hiking in Blowing Rock
Known as North Carolina’s oldest travel attraction, Blowing Rock is a small mountain town called the crown of the Blue Ridge. The downtown is just sleepy enough while still having many adorable shops for every interest. It’s easy to spend a day wandering, shopping, sipping and eating here. The Blowing Rock History and Art Museum is a pleasant cultural outing for couples to discover more about the area together.
There are several picturesque North Carolina hikes in the area. Glen Burney trail is our favorite forested escape complete with dreamy waterfalls. The views from the eponymous cliff overlooking the rolling, lush peaks are enough to make anyone swoon. The quirkiest attraction is Mystery Hill. Located in an old apple orchard, it’s the site of a naturally occurring gravitational anomaly. It will turn your world upside down. Blowing Rock is truly a breath of fresh (mountain) air.
Soak in a Hot Spring in Hot Springs
Nothing says relaxing and is one of the best romantic getaways in North Carolina like a dip in the restorative mineral waters of natural hot springs. The geothermal heat creates the perfect temperature for a sweet and steamy soak. The town itself is a rustic haven for retreats with a history of healing. The Appalachian Trail runs right through the downtown, and Hot Springs is a popular stop.
To really pamper yourselves – let’s be honest you deserve it – enjoy a massage after your rejuvenating bath. If you want to kick it up a notch, try out the white-water rafting for some thrills on the French Broad River. There is a wonder-filled hike aptly called Lover’s Leap where you can gaze upon all of the Hot Springs from a scenic mountain overlook. Stop at the General Store to make a picnic and share a special snack with a view.
Stroll along the pier at Sunset Beach
One of the nicest beaches in the state – and the country, if you ask us – Sunset Beach lives up to its name. The coastline feels untouched and peaceful with endless expanse of sandy shores. Due to its special formation, you can see both the sunrise and sunset on the beach here for breathtaking views. There are many marine activities, and there is even a museum dedicated to their spectacular starry skies. However, if you chose to do nothing more than soak up the sea and seek out the perfect shell, we wouldn’t blame you.
The Kindred Spirit Mailbox tells you all you need to know about this sweet, serene town. Anyone who visits the mailbox is invited to write and share any thoughts, stories, or words of wisdom in the available notebook. It’s drawn contributors from all over the world and remains as a testament to the intrinsic love of people and the area.
Enjoy the Art scene in Weaverville
This tiny town just outside of Asheville is the perfect example of southern hospitality. The warm and welcoming ambiance feels friendly and familiar immediately upon arrival. It’s a great escape for anyone with an affinity for the outdoors or history or wants a quiet break from the everyday hustle and bustle. The art scene is immersive with many open studios to watch local artists create.
Zebulon B. Vance is a restored pioneer homestead, shrouded in history and surrounded by idyllic scenery. A day at Lake Louise Park to reflect, read, or relax will leave you feeling rejuvenated. Half dog park, half beer garden, Wagbar is a unique set up and a favorite for friends both furry and human. Gotta Have It is a local vendors market selling any and every specialty item you never knew you needed. Honey and the Hive is another uniquely Weaverville experience, as a one stop shop for all things bee related.
Meet the Locals in Tryon
Tryon is a tiny town with a big personality, dubbed “The Friendliest Town in the South,” it’s hard to have a bad trip here. They thrive off a quirky climate and offbeat attractions. If you’ve ever found yourself daydreaming of existing in Prairie Home Companion, Tyron is the getaway for you. It’s an old railroad town turned creative haven, with the likes of F. Scott Fitzgerald calling it home.
Equestrian enthusiasts come from around the world to visit Tryon International Equestrian Center. Be sure to stop and see Morris the Horse, a beloved wooden statue and mascot for the town. The Old Mill Market Square is full of whimsical vendors to browse. You can also visit the humble cabin home tucked away in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains where legendary jazz singer and activist Nina Simone taught herself to play the piano at the age of three. Tyron is sure to put a sweet spell on you.