3 Best Weekend Getaways in North Carolina, According to Locals


North Carolina, a state celebrated for its diverse offerings, invites travelers to indulge in brief escapes, from the tranquil mountains to the vibrant coastal towns. The locals take pride in the state’s richness, whether it’s the mountain ranges, the pristine beaches of the Outer Banks, or the walkable cities, each with a unique vibe and a culinary scene rivaling the best in the country. Here are a few weekend getaway destinations in the state, picked by locals.


For those seeking a mountain retreat in North Carolina, Highlands emerges as a charming option. Nestled in the embrace of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Highlands paints a picturesque scene for weekend retreats. The town, with its cobblestone streets and rustic charm, lives up to its accolade of the best mountain town.

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Positioned within a convenient drive from major cities like Atlanta, Nashville, and Charlotte, Highlands offers a mix of charm and luxury. Old Edwards Inn & Spa, Highlander Mountain House, and Skyline Lodge provide delightful and cozy accommodations for romantic getaways. Beyond the allure of stunning waterfalls like Dry Falls and Bridal Veil Falls, the town also boasts culinary gems like Ristorante Paoletti.

Bryson City

Nestled amid the breathtaking landscapes of the Great Smoky Mountains, Bryson City in North Carolina stands out as an adventurer’s haven, serving as the gateway to the renowned Smoky Mountains National Park.

Boasting heart-pounding activities such as hiking, rafting, and scenic train tours, the town caters to thrill-seekers, offering a diverse range of options for an action-packed weekend escape. From challenging hikes with panoramic views to exhilarating whitewater rafting adventures on the Nantahala River, Bryson City ensures an immersive experience amidst lush greenery and mountain vistas, making it an ideal destination for those seeking outdoor excitement and natural beauty.


On the coastal front, Beaufort, pronounced “bow-fert” to distinguish it from its South Carolina counterpart, is a historic gem in North Carolina. With its charming historic streets and colonial-style homes, Beaufort invites leisurely strolls, providing glimpses into its rich past.

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The town seamlessly blends history with modernity, where morning rituals at the cherished Cru coffee bar transform into a lively establishment in the evenings. As the sun sets, the Rhumbar by the waterfront offers an ideal setting to unwind, surrounded by 100-foot yachts and sailboats that grace the shore. Beaufort in North Carolina perfectly captures the essence of a bygone era while embracing contemporary coastal living.