The Best Cabins to Book in North Carolina

The Esmeralda Inn at Lake Lure is set on a wooded hillside overlooking the Rocky Broad River
The Esmeralda Inn at Lake Lure is set on a wooded hillside overlooking the Rocky Broad River | © The Esmeralda Inn at Lake Lure / Expedia
Photo of Claire Dodd
8 November 2021

The foothills and towering mountain ranges of North Carolina provide the perfect backdrop for a rustic cabin retreat. Though the state spans from the Appalachians to the Atlantic shore, the mountains offer everything from sprawling getaways for large groups to cozy boltholes for two. If you‘re looking for cabins to rent in North Carolina, here are the best – bookable on Culture Trip.

Highland Lake Inn and Resort, Flat Rock, for rural relaxation near the Flat Rock Playhouse

Lounge at the Highland Lake Inn and Resort, North Carolina
© Highland Lake Inn and Resort / Expedia

Founded in the 1900s as a country retreat for the gentleman elite, this 26-acre (11ha) estate with a large lake at its heart blends old-world charm with outdoor pursuits. Whether you’re boating, fishing or swimming, the grounds provide entertainment year-round. Hike the nature trails or canoe across the lake. Choose snug, comfortable private suites, cabin rooms and historic cottages blending period charm and outdoor space hugged by soothingly leafy grounds. Tuck into stoneground grits with cheddar at the homey Season’s restaurant.

Nantahala Cabins, Bryson City, for splendid isolation near Nantahala Outdoor Center

Lounge at Nantahala Cabins, Bryson City, North Carolina
© Nantahala Cabins / Expedia

A proper log cabin should be rustic, it should be in the woods and it should be snug. The 11 Nantahala cabins, tucked away in the Great Smoky Mountains, scratch all those itches. The cabins are located in the Nantahala Gorge, and you’ll truly feel as if you’re surrounded by nature, wrapped by the forest canopy, with the roar of the Nantahala nearby. Cabins range from studios to three-beds for up to eight guests. Use them as your base for hiking, biking, whitewater rafting, zip line tours, trout or bass fishing, horseback riding, jeep tours, boating on the lake or even gem mining.

The Cabins at Healing Springs, Crumpler, for wellness near North Fork New River

Exterior of the Cabins at Healing Springs, North Carolina
© The Cabins at Healing Springs / Expedia

In 1884, the discovery of a spring said to possess healing properties at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains led to the creation of a small rustic health resort. Many of the cabins built for early-1900s visitors still stand today, updated with modern conveniences such as private baths and kitchenettes, yet retaining many of their original charms. Choose from budget (the smallest) to treehouses and family cabins. At the farm shop, stock up on grass-fed beef, cage-free eggs and soaps made with spring water.

Springmaid Mountain, Spruce Pine, for a rustic retreat near Linville Falls

Lounge at Springmaid Mountain
© Springmaid Mountain / Expedia

With over 400 secluded acres (162ha), this retreat close to the Blue Ridge Parkway in Spruce Pine offers cabins and camping. Pick from all-wood retreats with anything from one to five bedrooms, made homely and charming with Americana and rustic timber; you won’t find any games rooms or hot tubs here. Instead, it’s all about nature – viewing the forest from the water bobbing downstream on a tubing trip on the North Toe River, or hiking up the waterfall trail.

The Esmeralda Inn at Lake Lure, Chimney Rock, for Blue Ridge Mountain bliss near Chimney Rock State Park

Lounge at the Esmeralda Inn at Lake Lure, North Carolina
© The Esmeralda Inn / Expedia

Keen to find out how the village of Chimney Rock got its name? Climb the 535-million-year-old granite monolith in the state park for panoramic views across Hickory Nut Gorge and Lake Lure. Set on a wooded hillside overlooking the Rocky Broad River, the views from these riverside cabins aren’t bad either. Drink coffee on your private balcony or cozy up beside the outdoor fireplace. Make sure you sample the shrimp corn fritters at the forest-view restaurant.

Asheville Country Cabins, for smart self-catering near Blue Ridge Parkway

Dining room at Asheville Country Cabins, North Carolina
© Asheville Country Cabins / Expedia

Serenity and action meet in Asheville, where zip lining, white-water rafting, river kayaking & SUP blend well with exploring the best food and craft beer in the area. The region is home to countless small breweries and independent restaurants; seek out the best barbecue joints for pulled pork, ribs, turkey and chicken smoked over hardwood. Kick back in one of two luxurious self-catering cabins, both sleeping six, complete with gas fires and hot tubs.

Fontana Village Resort, Fontana Dam, for messing about on the water near the Smoky Mountains National Park

Pool at Fontana Village Resort, North Carolina
© Fontana Village Resort / Expedia

Take to the water at the marina at this rural resort, where you can rent a boat, fish or paddleboard on Fontana Lake. Book into a homey cabin, all stone and wood with vaulted ceilings, and make the most of facilities such as a minigolf course, swimming pool and lazy river, and a relaxed bistro that sources local produce, including grilled meats.

The Pineola, Newland, for woodland wellbeing near Grandfather Mountain

Room at the Pineola, Newland, North Carolina
© The Pineola, Newland / Expedia

If you like your beer, go no further. This country motel has its own taproom to grab a brew in after a long day of exploring. Try the new weekly options, and nurse your beer out on the porch. Knotted timber, handmade wooden furniture and artsy rugs and throws create cozy comfort at this lodge, cabin and RV park well placed for exploring the Blue Ridge Mountains, with the Blue Ridge Parkway, Linville Gorge Wilderness, Banner Elk, Sugar Mountain and Beech Mountain all close by.

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