Lara is a travel writer and editor with a closet full of musty thrift store finds from all over the world. Her ideal vacation is a big city one packed with live music and good food, but she admits there’s also a place for relaxing by the pool. Her all-time favorite getaway was a month hiding out in Brooklyn, getting the best museum, gallery and foodie fixes. The udon noodles at Samurai Mama still haunt her dreams...
Sweeping mountain views, impressive city landmarks, gorgeous barrier island scenery: the best North Carolina getaways come in all shapes and sizes. In a state where you can experience everything from sea cruises and beachcombing, to zip-lining, hiking, and mountain biking—plus world-class artwork and great downtown scenes—you really can cater your North Carolina vacation to suit your taste. But where do you start when you’re looking for a good place to stay? FlipKey is here to help.
Best Places To Stay In North Carolina
FlipKey offers affordable rental properties in destinations around the world, bookable right on our site. To develop our list of best North Carolina vacations, we analyzed all rental review scores across the state from FlipKey and TripAdvisor travelers (FlipKey is a TripAdvisor company), identifying cities and towns that have some of the highest-rated vacation properties. Locations needed at least 100 lifetime reviews and a minimum average score of 4.5 out of 5.00—the cream of the crop!
Travelers have rated the following destinations as some of the best North Carolina vacation spots for booking a rental, whether you’re looking at Oak Island beach houses or Blue Ridge cabin hideaways. A rental home gives you a private property all to yourself, complete with a full kitchen and amenities like laundry or an outdoor patio. Read on for FlipKey’s pick of best places to spend your North Carolina vacation!
“A special slice of heaven here on earth. This place is absolutely wonderful!” – Guest Review
The mountain town of Brevard has been raking in the accolades in recent years, including making Budget Travel’s list of Coolest Small Towns in America. Arrive in its magical landscape of over 200 waterfalls and scenic trails, centered around a tight-knit artsy community. Start off outdoors, hiking through the bountiful local forests and paddling by kayak down the French Broad River. Then shop the galleries for arts and crafts inspired by the natural surroundings, have an old-fashioned soda at the 1940s lunch counter at Rocky’s, then finish the day back at your cozy cabin retreat. Perfect.
Check out the city’s fascinating blend of architectural styles, wandering through Old Salem to soak up its preserved 18th-century feel, and stopping at the Reynolda House Museum of American Art to see its astonishing collection of paintings and furnishings. Gardeners will love the Moravian gardens in Old Salem and the flowers and maples of Reynolda Gardens. There’s also an exciting craft beer scene here, with plenty of pubs and breweries to welcome you in. Every first Saturday of the month you can even attend Beer School to hone your skills and taste a selection of local brews. Foodwise, you can try the regional cuisine in a range of contemporary eateries, or trace the city’s culinary history all the way back to its roots with an authentic taste of Moravian cooking.
A 40-minute drive south of Asheville and close to the stunning waterfalls and hiking paths of Dupont State Recreational Forest, this picture-perfect mountain town is a fantastic choice for your North Carolina getaway—whether you’re planning a vacation that’s romantic, sporty, or family friendly. In the summer months, you’ll be treated to free live music every evening. Go from brewery to winery, browse the antique stores, then pick up fresh produce from the local farmers’ markets and head back to your rental for a meal to remember. Find yourself a cabin with a view and you’ll be all set for an unforgettable stay.
Holden Beach is a family-friendly coastal town that’s popular without being overrun, although things do get livelier in the summer months. The Intracoastal Waterway is great for paddle boarding and spotting marine life. You can also book a fishing charter to bring back a catch for dinner back at your beach house rental!
“We could not have picked a better place. The house is absolutely beautiful in every way and stocked with everything we could possibly need. We loved it here.” – Guest Review
The serene retreat of Lake Norman has over 500 miles of shoreline to explore—grab a rental with a lake view for the ultimate experience. This is the place for boating, wakeboarding, or even powering along on a jet ski, and if you feel like changing things up a bit, it’s just 20 miles to the big-city sights of Charlotte. With top-rated rental properties to boot, Lake Norman is one of the best North Carolina vacations you can take.
Holden Beach’s equally lovely neighbor is Ocean Isle Beach, another relaxing coastal destination. Here you can play games in the pier arcade and fill up on breakfast at the grill, or rent a surfboard or jet ski to master the waves. Back on land, you can play a round on the pristine 18-hole golf course, keeping those Atlantic views in your eyeline, or join a wine tasting at the Coastal Wine Room. The Museum of Coastal Carolina is particularly good for younger visitors, with its aquarium and touch tank full of inquisitive marine creatures.
Trout fishing, antiques shopping, do-it-yourself gem mining—Franklin’s a unique little North Carolina gem that’s great for a weekend getaway or longer summer stay. Blue Ridge Outdoors readers voted this place 2016’s Top Small Town, so it comes highly recommended. While you’re here, tour the Currahee Brewing Company for a tasting with spectacular views, mine for native rubies and sapphires and have them incorporated into your own jewelry design to take home. All you need now is your rental nestled in the forest.
“Wonderful location and beautiful cabin. We enjoyed a four day stay fishing, relaxing, and observing nature” – Guest Review
No stranger to accolades, Asheville easily makes our list of best places to vacation in North Carolina. Chilled-out vibes and mountain air combine with a budding downtown and stellar beer scene in this great American city. Head downtown to soak up live music and good eats, or escape up into nature on a peaceful hike with soaring views. The jewel in Asheville’s crown is the impressive Biltmore House, which you can tour with audio guides before exploring the Biltmore Estate Trails. If you’re vacationing with your pooch, you’re in for a treat: excellent dog parks and even a dog bakery await you and your four-legged friend.
Beaufort enjoys a picturesque position on North Carolina’s coast, surrounded by pretty waterways. Spend a day kayaking through the Rachel Carson Reserve, island-hop to see wild horses at play, and watch pelicans soaring above you. The sunsets are just breathtaking, so book your beach home to be all set for the show.
This super-pretty town has a small community feel and offers spectacular Blue Ridge views all year round. The center is big on local arts and crafts, so you can pick up some quality souvenirs before sinking into one of the town’s famous rocking chairs and taking in the views. For something more adventurous, pull on the hiking boots or waders and step out into the surroundings to hike and fish to your heart’s content.
This forward-thinking college town really shines as a summer vacation destination, with outdoor movie screenings, brewery tours, and live music events. You’ll be spoiled for choice when it comes to eating out: feast on barbecue at Brew N Que or a hot chicken sandwich at Ashley Christensen’s well-loved Beasley’s Chicken + Honey. Tours of the North Carolina Museum of Art run daily and are well worth a look.
Escape the heat of the summer up in the welcoming Blue Ridge town of Banner Elk. This family-friendly destination offers tubing, rafting, and horse riding in summer, and there’s a sandy beach at Wildcat Lake. Take the car up to nearby Blowing Rock to appreciate the views and feel the unusual upward winds from the rock itself. For snowy stays, Beech Mountain and Sugar Mountain resorts provide all the ski terrain you need.
Bald Head Island is one of the best places to stay in North Carolina…because it’s completely free of cars! That means a vacation without exhaust fumes or engine noise, just beautifully preserved surroundings. There are sandy swimming beaches, marinas full of bobbing boats, and a beautifully landscaped golf course, and you can choose to cruise down the Cape Fear River or take a guided kayak tour through the creeks. In summer, join a Turtle Walk to see loggerhead turtles nesting and hatching.
This port city is another great option, with easy access to nearby Kure Beach, Wrightsville Beach, and Carolina Beach (all about a 20-minute drive away). You can wander the historic district to see the town’s tree-lined streets and antebellum architecture, or follow the paths through Airlie Gardens, bordered with oak trees and sculptures. Be sure to explore the Riverwalk, stopping for Southern cooking at the George or one of the other excellent neighboring watering holes.
This Blue Ridge town is one of the best places to vacation in North Carolina—that you may not have considered! You can get a taste of pioneer history at the Hickory Ridge Living History Museum, chug along the Tweetsie Railroad, or roll along the ridiculously scenic Blue Ridge Parkway, a stunning drive at any time of year. We’re not sure there’s a better place for a treetop zipline adventure or spa stay.
There are relaxed vibes all around in this little mountain community, with its downtown lined with local stores, museums, and dining spots. It’s a quiet, unfussy kind of place, plus it’s right on the doorstep of some thrilling outdoor adventures, such as horse riding, mountain biking, and kayaking on the Nantahala River. There are fantastic rentals in this area too, from cozy cabins to imposing mountain lodges, making it one of the best places to stay in the state.
Mind-blowing sunrises and sunsets over the Atlantic are in store in this Crystal Coast hub. Spend the days dolphin-spotting, shelling, fishing, cruising around the islands, or cycling to Fort Macon State Park, where you can see its five-sided Civil War fort. A short boat trip takes you over to Shackleford Banks to see the wild horses running free.
“It was very clean and well maintained. The kitchen had all you needed to prepare meals. The location is great for shopping, restaurants and going to the beach.” – Guest Review
The beach town of Kitty Hawk is a quaint Outer Banks vacation spot, home to the marshes and woodland of Kitty Hawk Woods Coastal Reserve—keep your eyes peeled for the gray foxes and otters. There are several sandy beaches here, plus a remodelled pier, and—the biggest draw of all—miles and miles of far-reaching ocean vistas. In nearby Kill Devil Hills, you can visit the Wright Brothers National Memorial, which marks the place where the brothers’ first successful test flight took off.
Oak Island has a pretty beach setting, complete with soft sands, rolling waves, and marshland—what’s more, you won’t have to share it with too many other people. There’s a sense of stepping back in time here, due to the relaxed pace and old-fashioned delights, such as kite flying, pier fishing, and rounds of mini golf. If that sounds like your ideal getaway, book your beach cottage and go.
Action-packed Charlotte rounds out our list of best places to vacation in North Carolina. The state’s largest city has so much entertainment to offer visitors: first-class museums and shopping, parks, breweries, and top-quality restaurants. You’ll find big family fun on the roller coasters at Carowinds Amusement Park, and there’s entertainment for racing fans at the NASCAR Hall of Fame. The Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, harboring works by Giacometti, Picasso, and Warhol, is a great choice for a cultured afternoon, and just outside the city you can escape into the calm of the Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden, complete with fountains and tropical plants.
If museum trips and beach time make you drowsy, it might be time to consider an adventure vacation this summer. These are our top picks for high-energy travel spots, along with some sweet vacation rental pads where you can unwind after scaling desert cliffs, kayaking rapids, or leaping from tall buildings (safely, of course). Because not every summer vacation should be relaxing.
Top Adventure Trips In America
America’s not for the faint of heart. The lower 48 alone have sheer rock walls, raging whitewater, and endless surf breaks. Add in Alaska and Hawaii, and you’re dodging grizzly bears and lava flows. Sound like fun? We think so too. If you’re planning a summer adventure vacation in the USA, every one of these destinations is bucket list material.
Vacation rentals—which you can book right here FlipKey—are a great choice for active trips, with room for the whole adventurous crew. Choose from homes with their own beachfronts, hot tubs, and fully equipped kitchens for cooking up your catch of the day. They’re affordable, too, so you can save some cash for a post-adventure massage (you might need one).
In the heart of the Black Hills National Forest, Custer is a great home base for an adventure vacation in South Dakota. Think “Home on the Range”: herds of bison, thick pine forests, and rocky peaks rising from the prairie. The Black Hills are a magnet for mountain biking and hiking, but to experience the scale of America’s great plains, check it all out from above on a hot air balloon tour.
Summer in Alaska means long days and sunshine, ideal for adventure trips to the surrounding mountains and coast, which get vast and wild just beyond the city limits. Search for grizzly bears and caribou on a wildlife tour from Anchorage, or hike the vast Matanuska Glacier, donning crampons for a hike across the ice.
A rainbow of towering sandstone cliffs below a huge desert sky—Zion National Park is among America’s most spectacular places for adventure travel. The options are endless here, and you can dare yourself to follow the vertigo-inducing path to Angel’s Landing, get wet while canyoneering in The Narrows, or try scaling the heights on a guided rock climbing expedition. We recommend staying in a Springdale rental, so you’re right at the park’s front door.
The Rocky Mountains erupt on the edge of Colorado Springs, an adventure travel hotspot with easy access to the Front Range. Scale the towering sandstone of Garden of the Gods on a rock climbing tour, then try off-roading into Colorado’s Pike National Forest, driving up to 11,200 feet above sea level.
The first national park on earth, it’s no surprise that Yellowstone appears on many adventure travel bucket lists. It’s a popular destination—with a West Yellowstone rental being the perfect home base—but there are plenty of ways to ditch the crowds, too. Instead of approaching the bubbling geysers and pools by land, launch a kayak into Yellowstone Lake for a completely different perspective on the volcanic landscape. Not exciting enough? Go look for wolves and grizzly bears on a private wildlife tour.
Red rocks and maze-like canyons hold a lifetime of hiking trails that that surround this new-age desert town. Locals swear it’s an energy vortex, but it’s also a great home base for some of the best summer adventure trips in the American southwest. Join a float trip down the Colorado River, or take an off-road Jeep tour to ancient ruins. Not all Sedona adventures mean getting dirty, though (this intuitive-led spirit journey goes way off the beaten path).
Forested peaks, churning rivers, and endless trails make the Pocono Mountains a stellar summer adventure vacation. You can ride a powerful surge of water on a white-water rafting trip that’s timed to a dam release, then rent a bike to take on the 26-mile Lehigh Gorge Trail, pausing for swim breaks in the nearby river.
Wind whistles through the Columbia River Gorge, whipping kiteboarders and windsurfers across the broad waterway at top speeds. Not that it’s all flat water at this adventure travel destination—white-water rafting on the nearby White Salmon River is a thrilling trip through Class III and Class IV rapids.
New Hampshire’s White Mountains aren’t as famous as the West’s large peaks, but don’t be fooled. Mount Washington, the tallest summit in New England, sees some of the most dramatic weather on earth. Just driving the super-exposed toll road to the top is an adrenaline rush. To really leave the crowds behind on an adventure tour, opt for a helicopter trip over the White Mountain peaks and valleys of Franconia Notch. Another fan favorite for getting a bird’s eye view is hopping aboard the Cannon Mountain Aerial Tram.
Take a pre-dawn hike up Cadillac Mountain and you’ll catch America’s first light—its peaks see the earliest sunrise in the continental United States for much of the year. The mountaintop is a favorite destination in Acadia National Park, a gorgeous adventure travel spot that sprawls across Mount Desert Island. Rappel down Otter Cliff then tackle challenging rock climbing as waves crash below your feet. For stellar views of the surrounding islands, scale the exposed paths up Beehive Trail, which features iron rungs sunk into the pink granite.
One of California’s most iconic spots for adventure vacations, Yosemite National Park is a pilgrimage place for outdoors-lovers. Get your heart pounding on a guided hike in the High Sierra, or climb the steep path up Half Dome, an exposed rock peak that’s a Yosemite Valley rite of passage. It’s not all so hair-raising, though: after a long day on the trail, find a shady spot by the Merced River to soak your feet.
The gateway to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Gatlinburg is a great summer adventure vacation destination in the South, with plenty of ways to get off-road and into the woods. Try renting a four-person ATV for a day of exploring that’s rugged and independent. If you’d rather hunt for some of the waterfalls hidden throughout the park, opt for a guided hiking tour that leaves marked trails behind.
If you’re a dog owner, there’s no doubt you consider your furry companion part of the family. But when it comes to taking a trip, he/she can make things a little tricky. Fear not! Here are our top pet-friendly vacations across America where your pooch pals are just as welcome as you are.
Top Dog-Friendly USA Vacations
If you’re the kind of traveler who just can’t bear to leave the dog at home, you’ve probably experienced the frustration of trying to book a getaway catering for both people and pets. Can my dog stay in this hotel? Can he/she visit the local coffee shop, or sit with me while I eat at a restaurant? And is there anywhere that allows dogs to run and play off the leash?
Vacation rentals are particularly good for this type of trip, as many accept animals and you’ll avoid the obstacles you might experience in other types of accommodation: cramped spaces, no outdoor area, or, most awkward of all, sharing communal areas with people who just don’t like dogs.
You’ll be pleased to hear that the residents of San Diego are barking mad about dogs, so you’ll meet little resistance if you’re bringing a furry companion. Try lunch at the Patio on Lamont at Pacific Beach, where there’s tasty Californian cuisine for you, as well as home-made dog biscuits for canines. There’s also the dog-friendly terrace at the Pier Café on West Harbor Drive. Have a run about at Nate’s Point Off-Leash Dog Park at Balboa Park (open 24 hours) or explore the dunes and surf of Fiesta Island. And why not go all out and book a pet photoshoot with Feather & Fur Pet Photography?
“Karen’s cottage is exactly as advertised. We brought our two dogs and it was a great property for them as well as a wonderful neighborhood to walk them in. The cottage is well furnished and lacks for nothing.” — FlipKey Reviewer
Pets are most definitely invited in charming Bar Harbor. Sit on the deck at Stewman’s Lobster Pound Downtown, order yourself something delicious, and then check out the special doggie menu for your furball. Margaret Todd Windjammer Cruises accept dogs on board, so you can sail around Frenchman Bay without leaving your favorite companion at the rental. Keep the leash on when exploring Acadia National Park, except at the Little Long Pond Leash-Free Area, where animals can run free.
West Austin Dog Park is a friendly place for pups and owners, and there’s also the park at Auditorium Shores, which has access to the water. If your dog’s particularly fond of swimming, head to the Red Bud Isle pensinsula for plenty of off-leash fun and lots of water to play in. In February, there’s a popular Mardi Gras Dog Parade, and there are a few other doggy events held throughout the year. Pick up some treats at the Groovy Dog Bakery to keep Fido happy back at the rental while you head out to hear some of that famous Austin live music.
Your first stop here should be Huntington Dog Beach, a stretch of true doggy heaven. Dog owners work hard to keep this place clean and the dogs under control, so it’s a pleasant place to visit. If you’re lucky, you might even see a four-legged creature whizzing past on a surfboard. Only in California… After all the excitement of the dog beach, you can book your pet in to freshen up in the Doggie Spa at Seacliff Village.
“This cabin is older and rustic but it was clean and cute. The fact that it was dog friendly was enough for us because we didn’t have to pay boarding fees…or miss our dogs. The cabin was quiet and had beautiful views. This was a very pleasant place to cook, have dinner on the back deck, drink a glass of wine, and watch the sunset.” — FlipKey Reviewer
Asheville’s got plenty to offer its canine tourists. There are 220 acres of grounds to cover with your pet at the Biltmore Estate, and there’s an onsite kennel where you can park the pooch while you tour the historic house. There’s also the French Broad River Dog Park, with a fenced-off, wood-chipped acre to run around in, and the river to splash in, too. Check out the Woof Gang Bakery for premium animal treats and toys. At Play with Sparky is a doggie daycare facility you could make use of if you’d like to tackle the more challenging local hiking trails sans dog.
Time to introduce the dog to the buzz of Key West! The Key West Dog Beach is small but friendly, and your pet is free to play in the waves to their heart’s content. If you’d like to get right out on the water together, get in touch with Lazy Dog Kayak and enjoy the surroundings as you paddle along. Get your fresh seafood order in at Nine One Five Bistro and watch the world go by together on the dog-friendly terrace.
You’ll find plenty of other happy dogs living it up in Atlanta. For lots of running space, try the Piedmont Dog Park, a designated off-leash area with a separate space for smaller animals. Pets are welcome on leashes at the Freedom Park and you’ll love discovering the peaceful Chattahoochee River National Recreation Park together. Let your dog take a well-deserved snooze at your pet-friendly rental while you hit the exciting bars and restaurants Atlanta has to offer.
This impressive city is studded with monuments and cultural institutions, many of them free to enter. Simply settle the dog back at your cozy rental to see the sights that are better for people than pups, then swing back to pick up your playmate and head out for a dog-friendly excursion. Enjoy a leashed walk in leafy Montrose Park, or try the off-leash zones at Shaw Dog Park, S Street Dog Park, and the designated dog run on the waterfront at The Yards Park. Canines can expect a warm welcome, a bowl of water, and a bit of a fuss from staff on the terrace of the friendly Logan Tavern.
Known for its skiing, beaches, and stunning alpine lake, this place is also a lovely spot to visit with the dog in tow. The Bijou Dog Park has shady areas, picnic tables, and fresh water to keep pets happy and hydrated. Pretty Kiva Beach is also dog-friendly as long as you keep the leash on. There’s a cage-free dog care facility called Tahoe Best Friends, where you can leave your pup in total comfort while you head out for a sophisticated dinner.
Four-legged friends are most definitely welcome in this scenic port city. The Java Dog Coffee House serves great coffee, dog treats, and welcomes dogs inside and out. The George Restaurant on the Riverwalk offers a range of tasty Southern dishes, and furry friends can join you on the deck outside. Take advantage of two acres of galloping room at the off-leash Wilmington Dog Park within Empie Park, complete with fencing and separate areas for pups large and small.
“The condo was clean, new, and modern. The location in downtown Portland was perfect! I look forward to my next vacation to Portland so I can stay here again.” — FlipKey Reviewer
How’s this for dog-friendly? Head down to the Tin Shed Garden Café on a Tuesday night to enjoy a free item from the dog menu for each human-friendly dish you order. Bargain! There are some nice off-leash sections for dogs in Chimney Park and Mt. Tabor Park. No visit to Portland is complete without ordering from its world-famous food carts. You can sign up for an official Portland Food Cart Tour and bring your leashed dog along too.
Sunny Albuquerque is a great choice for a vacation, with its endless sunshine, desert vistas, and punchy local flavors. It’s particularly good for those traveling with dogs, as it has more than 10 designated dog parks. North Domingo Baca Dog Park offers a wood-chipped play area, with separate spaces for big and small animals, and some shady spots. There’s also the Rio Grande Triangle Park, Coronado Park, Montessa Dog Park, and more.
“The fixtures in this two bedroom, 1.5 bath condo are high-grade: wide wood floor planks, granite kitchen counter tops, and enormous floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the surrounding treetops. Your dog will enjoy running across acres of freshly mowed fields between the house and the rural one-lane road.” — FlipKey Reviewer
Here you’ve got the stunning Blue Ridge Mountains and the spectacular Shenandoah Valley, where there’s plenty for you and your canine companion to look at on a scenic drive. Grab a burger at Miller’s in the dog-friendly outdoor area or some Cajun catfish on the large patio at the Timberwood Grille. Treat your pooch to a runaround at Azalea Dog Park or Chris Greene Lake Park—the latter has a roped doggy swimming area.
Rich in vineyards and characterized by its long, narrow bodies of water, the Finger Lakes area is a fascinating place to visit. This is wine country, but don’t feel like you can’t take your pet with you if you want to sample a local bottle. Many wineries around here allow dogs—just call first to check their policy. You’ll also find plenty of pet-friendly vacation rentals to make everyone feel perfectly at home.
One thing you’ll notice in Flagstaff is that a lot of the locals are dog owners. Many an establishment has its own furry incumbent ready to welcome you, so you won’t have a problem taking your dog out and about in the area. Diablo Burger has a pet-friendly patio where dogs can rest under a shady table while you enjoy one of the hefty house burgers. You can also get some great deals on vacation rentals in this area, leaving you more cash to spend on other things, like dog biscuits. Check out Thorpe Park Bark Park (try saying that really quickly), where you’ll find agility equipment and plenty of room for exercising.
Santa Barbara’s lovely wide beaches and sophisticated center attract visitors all year round. Dog owners should head to the Douglas Family Preserve, where there’s an off-leash beach and walking trails. There’s also an off-leash area at nearby Hendry’s Beach, or Arroyo Burro Beach. At the end of a day on the sands, you can relax with a craft beer and some dinner at the Brewhouse—you’ll be happy to hear it has its own dog-friendly menu, too.
Norm’s Eatery & Ale House isn’t just dog-friendly, it’s dog-themed. The walls are dotted with pooch portraits and you’ll find plenty of canine company already enjoying the surroundings when you arrive. Bark Espresso allows dogs outside or in their special hound-friendly lounge. Elegant Washington Park Arboretum welcomes dogs on leashes and Warren G. Magnuson Park has an off-leash area with some water access. Don’t miss the Fremont Oktoberfest Dogtoberfest, which welcomes leashed pets on the Sunday of the Oktoberfest extravaganza.
There are some pretty impressive attractions up here, including the craggy carvings of the Mount Rushmore National Memorial and the monumental buttes and spires of the Badlands National Park. Dogs are only allowed in restricted areas of the Badlands, but there’s plenty of forest and mountainside to discover with your leashed pet in the Black Hills. The little hub of Hill City has a lot of dog-friendly establishments, including the Naked Winery Tasting Room, where dogs are allowed on the patio, and the veranda of the Alpine Inn, a great lunch spot.
The area around this beautiful and sprawling reservoir is known for its fantastic golf courses, wineries, and, of course, water sports. There are several dog-friendly hubs around here, one being the waterfront Dog Days Bar & Grill at Osage Beach, where they host a Canine Cannonball jumping contest each year. To the south in Branson, you’ll find Elmo and Rosalea Marrs Dog Park, complete with agility equipment, picnic tables, and plenty of room to play. If you need to do a little fur-free sightseeing, check your dog into Branson Pet Resort, where they’ll be well looked after while you investigate the environs.
In friendly Rehoboth Beach you can explore the lively boardwalk, packed with entertainment and places to eat, or treat the family to a day at Jungle Jim’s Water Park, where you’ll find slides, go-karting, and mini-golf. Delaware Seashore State Park welcomes leashed dogs to play in the surf and on the sands, and The Big Chill Cantina is a pooch-friendly place for a drink at the end of the day.
“Coquina Cottage was perfect! We are used to the resort experience, but I have to say that this was just what we needed! We took our two dogs, Bella and Sadie with us… No need to bring a lot with you because everything was provided that we needed to enjoy our stay. We will certainly return again.” — FlipKey Reviewer
Sanibel Island is a cheerful vacation spot for pets and owners. Gulfside Beach, also known as Algiers Beach, is a good doggy destination, with calm, shallow waters to gallop through and sands strewn with beautiful seashells. Like all of the local beaches, dogs are very welcome, but you should keep them on the leash. Be sure to drop into the Island Paws pet shop for nutritious treats and high-quality toys.
Historic Nantucket Island is bordered with sandy stretches where dogs are welcome to roam on their leashes, such as Francis Street Beach and Surfside Beach. You can take your dog out on the water on a private charter with Endeavor Sailing Excursions or sit back and relax with a drink at the dog-friendly Cisco Brewers.
Dubbed “Brooklyn on the beach” by the New York Times, this Jersey Shore destination is on the up—and it’s getting its fair share of dog tourism. The famous Wonder Bar club and music venue hosts a popular Doggie Yappy Hour, where you can chill with a drink while your dog socializes in the large fenced area outside. There are two pools for them to splash in, dog biscuits at the bar, and there’s an organised dog run twice a week. The 8th Avenue Dog Beach is a fun spot, with plenty of canines enjoying the shallows and the dunes—check beforehand for timings as there are some restrictions.
The beautiful mountain resort of Stowe has two mountains to conquer and a lovely New England village to uncover. Smugglers Notch State Park is breathtaking and accepts all adventurers (including leashed dogs). When you’re done with your hike, you might want to try the Double IPA at the dog-friendly Alchemist Brewery. In nearby Jericho, Mills Riverside Park provides some beautiful meadows for dogs to explore—watch out for the signage telling you which areas are on or off-leash.
We love Fort Myers for its great shopping, fishing, and beaches. Bring Fido to Barkingham Dog Park or Woof-a-Hatchee Dog Park, both fenced and off-leash parks with watering stations and separate areas for big and small dogs. Two of the more fascinating attractions in the area are the Edison and Ford Winter Estates. Though not dog-friendly, we’d be remiss to leave them unmentioned. These neighboring properties were the winter homes of Thomas Edison and Henry Ford, and you can still explore the laboratory, homes, and gardens. With a pet-friendly rental, it’ll be no problem to leave your dog at the house while you experience these and other great Fort Myers attractions. Just be sure to bring them a treat when you return!
Secluded cabin rental for two? Step right this way for tried and tested romantic destinations where love is most definitely in the air.
Romantic Cabin Getaways Loved By Travelers
Reviews tell us a lot about the kind of vacations a destination is good for. So when we were looking for some of the best places for romantic cabin getaways, we checked what travelers had to say. At FlipKey (part of the TripAdvisor family), we used a special algorithm to analyze every single TripAdvisor review, identifying which locations across America had the highest percentage of reviews mentioning romance. What’s left are some of the top romantic cabin getaways that travelers rave about—each boasting secluded cabin rentals available to book on FlipKey. No matter the season, these inviting destinations make excellent retreats for couples in need of some time away together.
There’s no doubt that a cabin makes a pretty romantic setting, whether it’s nestled high up in the mountains or perched on a cliff by the sea. When you book a secluded cabin rental with FlipKey, you get the whole property and its amenities to yourselves, so you can take your morning coffee on a private porch, in a scenic garden, or tucked up in bed with a jaw-dropping view.
Here are 15 traveler favorites for romantic cabin getaways, from red-rocked desert towns to pretty lakeside villages.
A couple of hours’ drive away from the throng of San Francisco on a rugged stretch of Cali coast is where you’ll find lovely Jenner. This coastal village is ripe for seal-spotting, beach-combing, and uninterrupted ocean-gazing, and it’s one of the quieter spots featured in this list. Peace at last.
“This home exceeded our high expectations. First, the view took my breath away; it never got old. The elevation and combination of door walls, windows and screened porch off the back and side of the home provide a treehouse atmosphere, while cozy woodwork and furnishings convey warmth. We spent many hours sitting in the screen porch enjoying the sounds of birds and crickets chirping.” — FlipKey Reviewer
On the shores of Lake Michigan stands the small town of Saugatuck. Leave your stresses at the door of your rental—it’s time to relax. You can chill out on Oval Beach, hike across Saugatuck Dunes State Park, or browse the little art galleries in town. Alternatively, you could simply go from cabin to beach to cabin every day, making the most of your time out together.
Here’s another beautifully quiet place to hole up in a secluded cabin hideaway. When you’re ready to venture out, try a gentle forest walk in Lake Logan State Park or go boating on a lake full of catfish. At nearby Hocking Hills State Park, don’t miss the atmospheric Rock House, Ash Cave, and Cedar Falls.
“The house is perfect for a family or a couple looking for a centrally located place to stay with gorgeous views of the Gorge. It’s comfy and walking distance to eateries and local grocery stores. Can’t really ask for more than that. Nicely equipped for our needs along with a garage spot and laundry. We’re already looking at dates for a summer visit so we can enjoy the deck and a wonderful glass of wine.” — FlipKey Reviewer
Hood River ticks all the boxes for romantic cabin getaways, with the scenic Columbia River flowing by, plenty of hiking trails for long walks, and picnic stops for undisturbed lunches for two. There are also plenty of good places to eat here, with farm-fresh food lending a truly local touch.
People used to come to Manitou Springs to drink the naturally carbonated mineral water, thought to have healing powers. You can still taste it today, but if you’re here for romance, you’ll probably want to chug along taking in the views from the Pikes Peak Cog Railway. Here, the highest cog train in the world will take you up through a romantic landscape of rocky terrain and pine forest, finishing with gorgeous views over the Great Plains. Don’t miss the amazing Manitou Cliff Dwellings, preserved Anasazi homes full of artifacts to explore.
Not many people, plenty of space, and uninterrupted Pacific views. Sounds pretty romantic to us. Just book your private cabin and you’re all set for the couple’s trip of a lifetime. Driving the coastal road along this breathtaking stretch of California is up there with our all-time favorite activities—do make a stop to snap the famous Bixby Bridge in all its glory.
“Very gracious family home. We had a wonderful time. This home had everything for amenities.” — FlipKey Reviewer
It’s easy to see why so many couples choose Aspen for their romantic cabin getaways. Take a horse and carriage ride, ascend the mountain on the Silver Queen Gondola for awe-inspiring views, or book your places on the Aspen Cooking School’s culinary course for couples. We’re sure your first visit won’t be your last.
Discover the towering Redwoods, ocean views, and Victorian seaside homes of pretty Mendocino. There are beaches and walking paths to wander at Mendocino Headlands State Park, plus some charming villages to visit in the surrounding area. Just up the road is Fort Bragg, with its glistening Glass Beach and the Skunk Train chugging gently through the forest.
This is gold-rush territory, so you may want to start your visit at the fascinating Dahlonega Gold Museum, before wading into the river to pan for some of the sparkly stuff yourselves. After that, explore the pleasant historic center, which welcomes you in for romantic wanderings among its 19th-century structures.
“We love it. The yard is huge with 2 types of grills and a fire pit. The view is phenomenal. The interior is beautiful. The owner is very nice and easy to work with.” — FlipKey Reviewer
This is the cabin capital of Virginia, so you’re in the right place for a romantic cabin retreat. Luray is set in the spectacular Shenandoah Valley, so you can set off to fish and hike in Shenandoah National Park or paddle on the river. A visit to the atmospheric Luray Caverns is a must, with its lofty caverns and huge natural rock formations, all beautifully lit for visitors.
This area is rich in cozy cabins with glorious views. From spelunking to spa days, there’s plenty to keep couples entertained. Be sure to motor along the Blue Ridge Parkway with the top down for the ultimate romantic drive. Stop off along the way at the curious Blowing Rock itself, which directs the mountain winds upwards.
The mountain resort of Stowe is stunning throughout the seasons, whether you’re here to ski, leaf-peep, or simply escape the daily grind. This is one for the outdoorsy types, so peel yourselves out of your secluded cabin rental and get involved in the season’s activities. Finish up the day with an intimate meal, accompanied by remarkable alpine views, at the Austrian-style Cliff House Restaurant.
The lake is the focal point of romantic cabin getaways in Lake George, so be sure to board a traditional steamboat for a daytime tour of the shore, or, even better, a romantic dinner cruise when the sun goes down. Take a drive or hike up Prospect Mountain for unbeatable views of the surrounding area, or set off to the Natural Stone Bridge and Caves to see the largest marble cave in the east.
Leavenworth is utterly charming all year round, with its Bavarian character and warm welcome. Enjoy horse-drawn carriage rides through town in the spring, sleigh rides through the snow in the winter, and wine-tasting sessions whatever the weather. Simply heaven.
“We had everything we needed here for a comfy stay and we loved the location just minutes from Bell Rock trail and convenient to attractions, food and whatever you want to do in Sedona. The beds were comfy, the home was stocked with pots and pans and dishes, coffee and tea, plenty of towels, bedding and wifi.” — FlipKey Reviewer
Ok, ok, you won’t actually find a wealth of cabin rentals here in sunny Sedona. But this place scored way too highly on the travelers’ romance scale to be left out of this list. Whatever kind of rental you choose, expect a scenic desert town bordered with pine forests and imposing red rock. You can enjoy this striking landscape on a jeep tour, or head out just the two of you to catch some sun and slip down the natural water slide at Slide Rock State Park.
Don’t think you can afford a picture-perfect fall getaway? Take a look at these options—perfect for a wallet-friendly weekend (or even weeklong) escape. Bye, bye budget woes. Hello gorgeous New England fall foliage.
Budget Breaks For New England Foliage
At this time of year, we’re surrounded by tempting images of iconic New England foliage ablaze with red, orange, gold, and yellow. But you don’t need to empty your bank account to get those views in person. The following locations make fantastic fall weekend getaways for travelers on tighter budgets.
How are they so affordable? Well, once you’ve picked your prime New England fall foliage trip, pair it with a comfortable FlipKey rental. Vacation rentals can bring your costs down dramatically, giving you a better deal on your accommodation, not to mention more space and the freedom to choose a home that suits your personal style. Having a full kitchen saves money on meals out, and the laundry means you can pack less. Here are 10 affordable New England vacation spots where you can see breathtaking fall foliage without overspending.
Prices reflect the median cost for a weeklong stay in a two-bedroom rental in that destination, between the months of September, October, and November.
Image from TripAdvisor.com courtesy of RideAway Kayak in Sandiwch, MA.
Cape Cod Bay location, historic center, village-esque charm: that’s already three bonus points for Sandwich as a top New England foliage getaway. Enjoy uninterrupted autumnal views from the Sandwich Boardwalk, watch traditional glassblowers in action, or cycle the Cape Cod Canal Bike Path.
This cozy town offers a spectacular array of oranges, reds, golds, and lingering evergreens in the fall. Pack up a lunch in your private rental kitchen and head off for a day of walking, picnics, and moose-spotting, served with majestic views of Rangeley Lake encircled in a riot of leafy color.
“Great condo. Right behind the Tin Lizzy Trail with easy access to everything. Perfect for families.” — FlipKey Reviewer
Dover is located in the Mount Snow Valley, and is well known for its summertime and snowbound appeal. But it’s just as spectacular in the fall. Try a scenic ride on a chairlift for soaring leafy views from Mount Snow, or see the changing foliage on a drive culminating in a hearty meal at the West Dover Inn.
Bartlett offers up classic New England fall foliage views in several exhilarating ways. At the Attitash Mountain Resort you can choose from chairlift rides, speedy ziplines, and the Alpine Slide, where two chutes zoom you down the mountainside. Alternatively, take in the colors at a slower pace aboard a vintage train on the Conway Scenic Railroad.
There are plenty of leafy trails to explore in Camden Hills State Park, where you can look down from Mount Battie onto the harbor and bay below. You can see some more New England foliage by driving the Mount Battie Auto Road, camera at the ready.
Here’s a good New England fall getaway for those who prefer the quiet life. Walk the Warren Path through the hardwood forest for sublime views of the area and don’t miss pretty Warren Falls, with its pools, waterfalls, and natural rock formations.
“There is so much to do in the Lincoln area that keeping a large group entertained was not a problem. Strenuous hikes on the Appalachian Trail for some; sitting poolside in lounge chairs for others. This unit was especially nice for family gatherings, with the open kitchen connected to a family room and deck, with a small sitting room in a loft above.” — FlipKey Reviewer
This understated little town of clapboard frontages is blessed with soaring natural mountain views all around it. Now’s a beautiful time of year to hike the Flume Gorge, let a gondola lift you up the mountainside, walk along the Pemigewasset River, or join a Pemi Valley Moose Tour.
Bar Harbor’s town is charming and has fantastic water views, but autumn’s leaves will no doubt tempt you up for a hike through neighboring Acadia National Park. The colors are apparently at their finest in mid-October, so what are you waiting for?
This seaside village is just lovely in the autumn. Set out to discover Halibut Point State Park, with its granite quarries and tide pools, crunch along the stones on Pebble Beach, or take a picnic to Millbrook Meadow.
This magically scenic area boasts a handful of terrific towns that make for a great New England foliage getaway. Get back to nature in Beartown State Forest or October Mountain State Forest, then sit down to a farm-to-table meal and enjoy the fruits of this glorious rural setting.
Harvest festivals, cider tasting, and crunchy forest trails. We’re loving the cool fall evenings and rediscovering our local parks in their new finery—with the top Midwest vacations for some autumn splendor and fun fall activities.
Best Midwest Vacations In The Fall
This roundup includes small towns with lively hearts and big, bold cities where anything goes. In the fall, these places offer up colorful landscapes (whether they’re urban or rural) plus a range of festivals and events themed for the autumn season.
Whether you favor compact cabins, stylish condos, or multi-story townhouses, book yourself a rental home on FlipKey to come back to after a day of autumnal adventures. Rentals make sense in terms of cost, space, and independence, meaning you end up with a great Midwest vacation trip that’s tailor made for you.
Here’s our 10 top towns and cities in the Midwest where you can pick a pumpkin, try a tasting, and see some fantastic seasonal scenery.
“Everything was there. The kitchen was fully stocked with pots, pans, cups, glasses, plates, etc. Bedrooms/bathroom clean as can be. It was like coming into your own home.” — FlipKey Reviewer
Book yourself a cabin and set out to enjoy fall in Hocking Hills. Kick off at Old Man’s Cave, named after a local hermit who made this spot his home, and take advantage of the area’s excellent hiking terrain. Swing by the Circleville Pumpkin Show, with its parades, contests, and stalls selling all the pumpkin-based foods you can think of, and then some.
Kansas City offer several fall festivals and events. If you’ve got the family in tow, check out the Great Pumpkin Fest at the Worlds of Fun amusement park, where there’s a hay bale maze and kids’ pumpkin patch. You could also try Kansas City Zoo for beer and wine tasting, Halloween-themed events, and of course, plenty of animal fun.
Stay in this quiet mountain town and you’ll have the fall foliage of the Black Hills National Forest right on the doorstep. Climbing, hikers, motor-bikers—they all come here to enjoy Custer’s historic center and the views from the roads and trails around it. Make sure you seek out the passageways and caverns of the Jewel Cave National Monument and the iconic profiles of Mount Rushmore.
Start at Geisler Farms, with s’mores over a fire pit, then pick your way through the corn maze, and choose your own pumpkin to take home. Des Moines has more than 800 miles of trails to explore on foot or by bike, leading you around the city’s fall foliage and further out into the glorious Iowa countryside.
Start your tour of Galena boating down the mighty Mississippi River, watching leaves on the turn, or fishing for bass and catfish. You might prefer the aerial view from a hot air balloon with Galena on the Fly, or the arts and crafts at Galena Country Fair, amid the gorgeous autumnal setting of Grant Park. In the evening, try Matthew’s Haunted Pub Crawl for a ghostly local tour washed down with a few drinks.
“Our condo worked out perfectly for us for the vacation. We loved having the water park on site! Everything was very clean and any request we made was addressed very quickly. Would highly recommend!” — FlipKey Reviewer
The Waterpark Capital of the World is understandably popular year-round, but there are plenty of other things to do here. In the fall, board Dells Boat Tours to appreciate the beauty of the Wisconsin River and the Dells rock formations. The views are arguably even better on the sunset cruise, which comes with dinner provided. This is also a good time of year to zipline through the treetops and see those changing colors up close.
This lively college town has plenty in store in the autumn. Begin with a self-guided tour of Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum, bursting with shrubs and trees, and truly breathtaking at this time of year. Nearby Dexter hosts the Apple Daze festival, with hayrides, a pie-eating competition, and plenty of cider to toast the new season. Lest we not forget the main draw in Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan football team. Experiencing a game at the Wolverine’s stadium—the largest in America with a capacity of 111,000 (!) people—is a memorable experience.
“This property has everything you could need, including anything you might have forgotten. The atmosphere is lovely… We rented bikes from the owner, picnicked in the backyard under the sunshade, walked to groceries, restaurants, and coffee, biked to the beach.” — FlipKey Reviewer
Don’t miss the lovely Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, with its seasonal scarecrows, Sensory Garden, and Pumpkin House. If you’re already getting into the Halloween spirit, you might want to bag a ticket for October’s Zombie Pub Crawl, where you’ll be able to taste the best of the excellent Minneapolis craft beer scene (in full zombie garb).
Warm days, cool nights, and leaves crunching underfoot. This is a great time to book a rental in Traverse City, where you’ll find entertainment in the museums and casinos, and plenty of fall color around the inland lakes and on the sweeping drives from winery to winery. Taste farm-to-fork flavours at a local restaurant, catch your own meal from a fishing boat, or take off on a biking excursion among gorgeous autumn scenery.
“We loved everything about this place. It was in a perfect spot—not far from town, but out of the craziness. The owner was great to deal with, the place was very clean, and it felt like a home away from home! Beautiful setting and backyard, and everything we could possibly need was provided.” — FlipKey Reviewer
By day, admire the colorful landscapes of Brown County, catching the changing leaves of Yellowwood State Forest and Brown Country State Park. In the evening, you can see a bluegrass show, grab a first-rate Nashville dinner, and round the night off in a hot tub.
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