Written by: Hayley Swinson
Grab your overnight bag, your beloved, and hop in the car. You needn’t look further than our vast and beautiful North Carolina to go honeymooning. Within a few hours or less you could be sipping champagne under the stars, watching wild horses on a beach or soaking in mineral springs. Staying close to home for your honeymoon means less time travelling and more time with one another. We’ve rounded up a few of our favorite places to help with your planning.
Outer Banks Lighthouse Tour
Calling all history buffs! Have you considered a coastal lighthouse tour? Start in the Outer Banks at Currituck Beach Lighthouse, where you may get lucky enough to spot the wild horses of Corolla. Make a stop in Kitty Hawk on your way down to the Bodie Island lighthouse. Kitty Hawk Kites offers hang gliding packages for the adventurous, ranging from a three-hour beginner lesson (including 5 solo flights!) to a tandem flight with an instructor at 2000+ feet. Combine both for a two-day adventure you and your significant other will never forget. Hang gliding not your thing? Kitty Hawk Kites offers dozens of other tours, from horseback riding on the beach to biplane tours over the islands where you can spot several of the region’s other lighthouses.
The Inn in Rodanthe
Stay at the real inn from the film “Nights in Rodanthe” where Richard Gere and Diane Lane fell in love, and relive their romance as you watch the sunrise over the ocean. The Rodanthe Inn which was featured in the movie is available as a beachfront vacation rental. To get there, take a drive down the Outer Banks Scenic Byway and drink in the views of the dunes and wilderness. Nearby, you’ll find the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge waiting to be explored.
The southernmost village of Hatteras Island’s seven villages, Cape Hatteras, is home to the iconic black and white spiral-striped lighthouse, the tallest in the United States. The town is famous for its exceptional fishing holes, so if you love fishing, this is the place to charter a boat and enjoy a day on the water. The Inn On Pamlico Sound is a luxurious boutique hotel that offers beautiful waterfront views and has several “Romance Packages” with optional champagne, floral arrangements, and rose petals strewn across your bed.
Ocracoke is one of the few islands in the region accessible only by ferry. Locals claim it is “the cure for the common beach.” All of the island’s miles of pristine beaches are owned by the National Park Service, making it a bird-watcher’s paradise. Surfside Hotel offers an Oceanfront Honeymoon suite with a private balcony and a big, two-person jacuzzi. Take a break from touring the island’s quaint shops to sit on the beach and enjoy the sound of the ocean.
Bald Head Island
Bald Head Island boasts 14 miles of beaches on its eastern, western, and southern sides, meaning you can watch both the sunset and the sunrise over the ocean. The island is perfect for nature lovers, with 10,000 acres of nature preserves, salt marshes, and a winding tidal creek worth exploring by kayak or canoe. For those who love hiking, you’ll find miles of trails and captivating live oak trees strung with Spanish moss.
Two hours north of Wilmington, the quaint coastal town of Beaufort has a lot to offer, from its historic downtown district to a plethora of outdoor activities. Book your stay at one of the many beautiful inns within walking distance of the romantic waterfront. The Inn on Turner includes an extensive gourmet breakfast and optional dinner. In the evenings, they offer a complimentary carafe of wine and appetizers for your enjoyment.
Just off Beaufort’s coast, a herd of wild horses roams on the Rachel Carson Reserve. To get there, rent kayaks or book a romantic four-hour Wild Horse Cruise with Lookout Adventures. The guide knows all the local history and lore, and guests are encouraged to bring snacks and beverages along for the ride.
Shackleford Banks offers campsites for visitors, so take the opportunity to live among the wildlife for a night or two. Visitors regularly spot horses, scallops, crabs, and various sea animals, including loggerhead turtles nesting in the summertime.
Fuquay-Varina Mineral Spring
The natural mineral spring at Fuquay-Varina was discovered in 1858 and was believed by many to have healing powers. In the years following its discovery, a small tourist district developed around the spring, attracting visitors since the mid 19th century. Fuquay Mineral Spring Inn & Garden offers romantic accommodations and honeymoon packages. Book an in-house Swedish massage or a two-hour cooking class with your sweetheart. Stroll the inn’s gardens and don’t forget to pay a visit to the mineral spring just across the street.
Epic Excursions Glamping
If you’re up for an outdoor adventure, book the Ultimate Island Glamping Experience with Epic Excursions for a romantic stay on a deserted island. A large tent includes a comfortable hotel-quality queen size bed, rugs, furniture, and supplies for cooking over a campfire (you bring the food). For a little extra, they’ll provide champagne and flowers, and you can rent paddle boards or surfboards to take full advantage of your private beach haven.
For those looking for a more cultured experience, book a room at Duke Mansion in Charlotte. They offer suites as well as “porch rooms” that open onto a shared porch. The house boasts stunning halls and rooms reminiscent of the Antebellum south. Sign up for their “Picnic for Two” package and enjoy a lazy afternoon in their 4.5 acre private Mary D.B.T. Semans garden. In the evening, catch a show at the nearby Blumenthal Performing Arts Center, then retire to the mansion’s library or your stately guest room.