Winter Vacation Ideas: Carolina Traveler 2024 Picks

The Latest From Carolina Traveler

Brrr…it's cold in here! Thankfully, not cold enough to prevent us from coming up with some excellent winter vacation ideas. Raise your hand if you need one!

In this issue of the Carolina Traveler weekly newsletter, we're rounding up winter vacation ideas for any type of itinerary. Whether you're looking for kid-friendly winter day trips, romantic winter dates, or off-the-grid cold weather retreats, you're bound to find your perfect getaway.

To add fuel to your fire, we're sharing discount codes to two fun winter events in the Carolinas — just another perk of being a Carolina Traveler follower!

To stay up to date with the latest events and “winter vacation ideas” in SC and NC, follow us on Facebook, where we regularly offer free tickets and other giveaways, and make sure to become a 2024 subscriber to Carolina Traveler magazine!

Young girls watching a science experiment at Catawba Science Center

A visit to the Catawba Science Center will be overflowing with fun!

Carolina Traveler's 2024 Picks: Best Winter Vacation Ideas

From the mountains to the coast, there are tons of museums and indoor attractions providing consistently exceptional entertainment to NC and SC travelers. In our Winter 2024 issue of Carolina Traveler, we feature some of the lesser-known museums housed outside of big-city metros.

While some of the best museums in NC and SC — like the Museum of Life and Science in Durham or the International African American Museum in Charleston — are highly rated and appealing to mass audiences, our picks are a bit more refined to particular type of traveler. Think astronomy-lovers, classic car enthusiasts, and fossil hunters. We even have a few outdoor activities that are lots of fun on a mild winter day. Check out our 2024 picks for the best winter destinations.

Win passes to Beech Mountain in Banner Elk, NC

Win Free Family Passes to Beech Mountain Ski Resort: Enter Daily to Win

If you have a family full of active individuals, winter can be a trying time. Lower temperatures and freezing rain that just can't go all the way to become snow can make it difficult to access favorite warm-weather activities like surfing, swimming, golfing, and beach volleyball.

Thankfully, western NC is your gateaway to one of our favorite winter vacation ideas: an epic snow sports weekend in Banner Elk! Beech Mountain Ski Resort has all the infrastructure to create faux snow, when needed.

Enter daily to win free family passes to Beech Mountain Ski Resort.

Not sure if this is one of the winter vacation ideas that will fit your group's needs? Read our latest Banner Elk weekend itinerary to get a feel for restaurants, places to stay, and other fun things to do in Banner Elk.

Young kids pumping water

Life on the farm has never been this much fun!

Check These Winter Day  Trips Off Your Bucket List

Here are three winter day trips to add to your list of winter vacation ideas:

  • Pendleton, SC: Uncover the charm of Pendleton, SC, with a delightful day trip. Explore the walkable downtown, starting with a swashbuckling rum tasting at Swamp Fox Distilling. Discover captivating art at the Art Gallery on Pendleton Square. The highlight is the Bart Garrison Agricultural Museum—think Disney World meets Old McDonald’s Farm, a hidden gem. Experience agritourism activities and end your day at the Clemson Little Theatre for a captivating production like “The Game’s Afoot: Holmes for the Holidays” and “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.” Pendleton promises an underrated blend of culture and agrarian fun.
  • Elizabeth City, NC: Embark on a historical journey in Elizabeth City, NC, founded in 1793 and now celebrated as a top East Coast living destination. Begin at the Museum of the Albemarle, delving into North Carolina's rich history. Explore the significance of hog farming, witness 18th-century artisans' craftsmanship, and recognize Indigenous Americans' role in preserving the Albemarle region. After a flavorful downtown meal, immerse yourself in the vibrant arts scene at Arts of the Albemarle, featuring art walks, open studios, and diverse exhibits by local talents. Elizabeth City promises a day filled with culture, cuisine, and creativity.
  • Beaufort, SC: Experience the charm of Beaufort, SC, a gateway to attractions like Hunting Island State Park and Hilton Head's dolphin-filled waters. This winter day trip promises a taste of southern cuisine without the crowds. Discover the Pat Conroy Literary Center, celebrating the iconic Lowcountry author. For family fun, visit the Kazoobie Kazoo Museum and Factory, where kids can craft custom kazoos and enjoy a musical history tour. Beaufort offers a perfect blend of literature, music, and coastal allure.
Discount to Eudora Wildlife Safari Park

Impress your date with a drive-thru safari expedition in the middle of winter!

Date Ideas in the Carolinas: Winter Edition

Have you passed the expiration date on your Netflix & chill dating approach? Plan a wild date in Salley, South Carolina at the Eudora Wildlife Safari Park — South Carolina's largest drive-thru animal park featuring more than 300 species! Take 50% off your general Safari Park admission when you book online using the code WINTER24.

Enjoy guided tours to observe and learn about exotic animals, engage in interactive experiences, and appreciate the beauty of the park's natural surroundings.

Check out our Google map of nearby restaurants if you plan to add a day trip in Salley, SC to your list of winter vacation ideas

Underground Pool at Grove Park Inn

Relax in the subterranean spa and pool at the Grove Park Inn.

Breathe In Serenity, Exhale Stress: Cold Weather Retreats

Looking to soothe your frigid digits in a tranquil hot tub? Sip on a glass of Biltmore wine in front of a gargantuan fireplace in your fuzzy robe and slippers? Make good on your 2024 commitment to self-care by adding one of these cold weather retreats to your list of winter vacation ideas. Our recommendations feature:

  • The Omni Grove Park Inn in Asheville, NC (spa & wellness)
  • Great Wolf Resort in Concord, NC (kid-friendly)
  • Hot Springs Resort & Spa (low-key & nature)
  • Carolina Beach (off-season beach escape)
  • Wentworth Mansion (downtown/cosmopolitan)
  • Devils Fork State Park (adventure/camping)
Runners starting a race in Georgetown

Ready, set, go!

Runners, Take Your Discount: Register for the Historic Georgetown Bridge2Bridge

Kickstart your New Year's fitness goals! Carolina Traveler subscribers/followers get 5% off Historic Georgetown Bridge2Bridge registration until February 1 with code GtownB2B24. Choose from 5K, 12K, and half-marathon races suitable for all runners. Prices rise as the April 27, 2024, race approaches, so register early for the best rates and embrace a healthier you.

Kids snow tubing in Highlands, NC -- one of our best winter vacation ideas

There's “snow way” you'll want to miss this event on January 27!

Happening This Weekend: Snowfest at 4118

Elevate your winter experience with Snowfest at 4118 in Highlands, NC (that's 4,118 ft above sea level!)

Enjoy a snowy paradise with activities like snowball toss, snow tube merry-go-round, ice-skating, snow slide, snowga (snow-yoga), magical igloos, and DJ beats. “Snow Much Fun” awaits at this free event—don't miss the excitement!

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