8 Unique Romantic Experiences in North Carolina

8 Unique Romantic Experiences in North Carolina

Book a stay in the North Carolina mountains, where you'll be inspired by the beautiful scenes

One of the essential aspects to planning a romantic experience is choosing a fitting backdrop. In North Carolina, our towering mountains, pristine beaches and bustling skylines offer a wide range of places to visit. Plan your trip around unique experiences such as relaxing in a treetop cabana, taking a bike tour on the coast inspired by romantic movies, and staying overnight at a vineyard.

Gail’s Room at The Swag

Gail's Room at The Swag

The Swag

Waynesville | With this luxurious second-floor room at The Swag, guests enjoy a private steam shower, sauna, fireplace and – the kicker – a private copper soaking tub on the balcony overlooking the Smoky Mountains. The resort also provides many ways to up your experience, such as an art tour for two, a souvenir stone vase with fresh flowers, or a packed gourmet picnic. A daily social hour on the front porch with hors d’oeuvres, breakfast buffets and farm-to-table dinners will round out your spectacular stay.

Treetop Soaking Cabana at Lakeview at Fontana

Lakeview at Fontana treetop cabana

Bryson City | Escape from it all as you lounge in a two-person soaking tub at Lakeview at Fontana, surrounded by views of the Smoky Mountains and Lake Fontana. The 90-minute session includes Dead Sea salt, candles and plush robes, but you can take the experience to the next level with the rose petals and champagne upgrade called appropriately “Cloud 9.” The inn also offers massages, a spa and yoga, so a stay here would certainly complete the heavenly experience.

Overnight Stay at Treehouse Vineyards

Treehouse Vineyards

Treehouse Vineyards

Monroe | What do you get when you pair wine, a treehouse, a horse farm, live music and a charming pond? Romance, of course. The family-owned Treehouse Vineyards has three treehouses, all available for overnight rentals and one, the Date Nite, available for hourly rentals for wine sipping privacy, too. Live music also plays most Friday and Saturday nights as part of the Live at the Vines concert series, with other events sprinkled throughout the year.

Dine on the Terrace at The Restaurant at Gideon Ridge Inn

The Restaurant at Gideon Ridge Inn

Gideon Ridge Inn

Blowing Rock | Is there any meal more romantic than dining al fresco? Well, at The Restaurant at Gideon Ridge Inn, if you add in long range views of the Blue Ridge Mountains, a new seasonal menu every day and a commitment to small batch producers, the answer is a resounding no. Start with options like escargot or beef tartare followed by a fresh salad and North Carolina duck, pork loin or wahoo, and finish with the dessert of the day for the perfect four-course experience.

Movie Date Night at Aperture Cinema

Aperture Cinema

Aperture Cinema

Winston-Salem | This cool, independent, nonprofit and much-beloved art house theater hosts more than 4,000 screenings and events per year, plus while serving beer and wine. Check out the theater’s calendar to see what movies pique your (love) interest. Pair this night out with a candle, fire or torch lit dinner at Tavern in Old Salem, Jeffrey Adams on Fourth or Willow’s Bistro, respectively, and you’ve just planned an amazing date night.

Mountain View Rooms at The Esmeralda Inn

The Esmeralda Inn

The Esmeralda Inn

Lake Lure | For a romantic stay in this scenic mountain town – an easy task considering that Dirty Dancing was filmed here – the Mountain View rooms at The Esmeralda Inn provide a front row seat to the beauty of Chimney Rock, Rocky Broad River and Hickory Nut Gorge. Each room includes a stunning outdoor stone Jacuzzi, also with these great views. Bonus points if you plan your trip for August when the annual Dirty Dancing Festival takes place.

Hungry Town Tours’ Bike Tours

Beaufort waterfront

Beaufort | Think back on those carefree days of your youth riding your bike. Now, recapture that feeling with Hungry Town Tours in this coastal town during the Early Morning Risers Tour, a peaceful morning peppered with pink skies, tree-lined streets and historic architecture. For an extra dose of romance, select the A Ride to Remember Tour, inspired by bestselling romance author Nicholas Sparks’ books and movies, many of which are set in North Carolina. Fun fact: Beaufort has ranked among the top of lists for coolest, most beautiful, most charming and most romantic towns in America by the likes of Expedia, Budget Travel and Travel + Leisure.

Full Moon Lighthouse Climbs

Bodie Island lighthouse at night

Outer Banks | Sure, a lighthouse tour during the day can be romantic, but try upping the ante with a moonlit climb. Full moon tours take place at three lighthouses on the North Carolina coast during select nights, June through September (you can go on regular self-guided tours daily from mid-April to mid-October). Venture out to Bodie Island Lighthouse in Nags Head, Cape Hatteras Lighthouse in Buxton and Cape Lookout Lighthouse (event known as Evening at the Cape) in Harkers Island. If you’re trying to figure out which of the three to explore, Cape Lookout National Seashore is home to the famous wild horses, which you may need a little luck and timing on your side to spot.

Shawndra Russell is a travel writer and novelist based in Asheville and has written for Forbes Travel Guide, BeerAdvocate and Travel + Leisure.

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