Maybe grandma’s house just isn’t big enough to host a holiday gathering for the whole gang anymore. Or perhaps it’s time to bring the entire clan together for an old-time family reunion. Regardless of the need – but especially during Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Eve and long winter weekends – there are plenty of sizable lodging options ranging from charming B&Bs to welcoming resorts that cater to large groups with fun plans that only North Carolina can provide.
1 The Polar Express and Cozy Hotels
1 The Polar Express and Cozy HotelsRowan CountySee on map
All aboard in Rowan County! Here, lodging providers team up with the North Carolina Transportation Museum for special packages that include a free ride on The Polar Express in Spencer when you book an overnight stay in participating hotels. Take your pick of multiple cozy lodging locations such as the Courtyard by Marriott Salisbury (state-of-the-art lobby with a large gathering space), Holiday Inn Express (complimentary breakfast) and Home 2 Suites by Hilton (the county’s newest hotel). Bring holiday joy to everyone as you sing, dance, enjoy a reading of the popular book, feast on hot cocoa and cookies, and bring home a sleigh bell on this family-friendly train ride where pajamas are encouraged. After, be sure to check out other festive events in the area.
2 Boyd Mountain Log Cabins
2 Boyd Mountain Log CabinsWaynesvilleSee on map
If the mountains are calling, Boyd Mountain offers a collection of seven rustic cabins – each sleeping between four and 10 people – nestled in a peaceful 150-acre cove with stocked fishing ponds, a trout stream, nature and hiking trails, and landscaped grounds dedicated to relaxation. Each cabin has been lovingly restored and furnished with antiques while still offering modern conveniences. A centerpiece of the land is a sprawling tree farm specializing in Fraser firs where you can even choose and cut your family Christmas tree.
3 Inner Banks Inn
3 Inner Banks InnEdentonSee on map
If you’re seeking something a bit more stately, consider the Inner Banks Inn settled gracefully across more than 2 acres in the historic district of Edenton, named one of “America’s Prettiest Towns” by Forbes. Lodging options include a Southern Victorian mansion, a converted tobacco barn, a Greek Revival known to be one of the town’s oldest original homes and a charming coastal Carolina cottage. The inn prides itself on blending historic homes with modern luxuries, plus sophisticated services of a boutique hotel that include fine dining. And a short stroll to the waterfront opens the gate to boating, sailing, kayaking, canoeing and fishing, plus guided area tours of historic sites including the Roanoke River Lighthouse.
4 GraylynWinston-SalemSee on map
Take a step back in time when you gather at Graylyn, which is just minutes from downtown Winston-Salem yet presents the seclusion of a country estate. Accommodations range from the vintage 1930s main house to a selection of cottages set on more than 50 acres. Just across the road is the historic Reynolda District composed of Reynolda House, Reynolda Gardens, and Reynolda Village with its shopping and dining options. Pro tip: a jaunt into downtown is a worthy endeavor to sample Winston-Salem’s diverse cultural landscape and revitalized central district.
5 The Horse Shoe Farm
5 The Horse Shoe FarmHendersonvilleSee on map
If your tastes run more toward rustic elegance, then The Horse Shoe Farm might be the perfect place for your group. This 85-acre riverfront estate can host up to 50 in cottages that are individually styled and furnished. The Silo Cookhouse is the central gathering spot to eat, drink, and enjoy family companionship with indoor and outdoor dining – and, yes, there is a table that seats 50. For relaxation and wellness, the farm’s spa, housed in a beautifully restored stable, provides a full menu of services. Or you can enjoy a yoga class, meditation or a dip in the outdoor hot tub. And don’t forget the climb to the top of the farm’s silo, which has been converted into a meditation spot, for sweeping views of the surrounding mountains.
6 Wild Horse
6 Wild HorseOuter BanksSee on map
If your crew desires to put their toes in the sand, then the North Carolina coast abounds with worthy choices, including colossal beach houses that beg for a mighty cast of visitors. An ideal example is Wild Horse, a custom-built estate on 10 oceanfront acres with a whopping 23 bedrooms and 23 bathrooms. Just getting to the house is an adventure in itself – the only way to and fro is on the beach via a four-wheel-drive vehicle. But once you’ve arrived, there’s the calming sound of the surf and a soothing sense of seclusion. There’s also a heated pool, theater room, and numerous porches for lounging and connecting. And always be on the lookout for the famous wild horses that wander through the dunes.
7 Singletree Gun & Plough
7 Singletree Gun & PloughDanburySee on map
Surprise your group with a truly unique getaway when you escape to Singletree Gun & Plough, situated on more than 1,000 acres with 5 miles of frontage on the Dan River and 12 miles of private hiking trails. The wilderness feel gives a new meaning to “a walk in the woods,” but there are plenty of other activities including kayaking, ziplining, tubing, fly fishing and horseback riding. And if you’re looking for something more esoteric, Singletree offers “forest bathing” and a “digital detox” package that disconnects you from technology and reconnects you with nature.
Wherever the family decides to gather, rest assured that North Carolina will provide lasting memories that will turn into stories passed down for generations to come.