While the twin states of North and South Carolina are equipped with bustling cities like Charleston, Charlotte, and Raleigh, one of the most admirable attributes of the entire region is its sprawling shoreline. From Daufuskie Island to the Outer Banks, there’s no shortage of pristine forests, steaming swamps, and picturesque beaches to explore all across the coast—and these natural wonders come complete with top-tier accommodations right nearby.
As you plan your next foray into the wilderness of the Carolinas, these charming properties are perfect for getting up-close-and-personal with some of the region’s most fascinating flora and fauna.
Wild Dunes Resort
With more than 1,500 acres of surrounding wilderness to explore, Wild Dunes Resort serves as the perfect base for immersing oneself in the natural beauty of South Carolina. While the property is perfect for sunbathing and swimming, true ecotourism aficionados should be sure to book an excursion to Capers Island, a pristine barrier island located just east of Isle of Palms. Upon arrival, guests will embark on a wildlife safari that offers the opportunity to spot ospreys, bald eagles, and even bottlenose dolphins, followed by a trip to Capers Island’s pristine Boneyard Beach, a stretch of shoreline that’s home to large swathes of petrified driftwood.
Montage Palmetto Bluff
Located just south of downtown Bluffton, the Montage Palmetto Bluff is a shining example of how to offer first-rate hospitality while existing in harmony with the surrounding wilderness. With 20,000 acres of Carolina Lowcountry to explore across Palmetto Bluff, non-human residents include alligators, white-tailed deer, bobcats, and a massive array of native birds and insects—all of which can be discovered during a kayak excursion or while trekking along one of the area’s many hiking trails. As an added bonus, guests with a serious passion for wildlife are welcome to attend a lecture or join a research expedition with PhD-level staff at the Palmetto Bluff Conservancy, an organization focused on preserving the biodiversity of the Palmetto Bluff community.
Planning an outdoor adventure-focused getaway on North Carolina’s idyllic Outer Banks? Look no further than Sanderling Resort, a palatial property located on the coast of Duck. Beach access, a full-service spa, and three on-property pools are just a few of the plush amenities awaiting guests, but for a truly memorable stay, a foray into the wilderness is an absolutely essential activity. Equipped with a diverse array of excursions focused on land, sea, and air, visitors are welcome to soar above sand dunes on a hang gliding tour, spot the Outer Banks’ famous wild horses on a beach safari, or cruise along the coast in search of bottlenose dolphins.
North Carolina’s Crystal Coast is renowned for its abundant natural beauty, and few properties are as dedicated to preserving it as the Beaufort Hotel. Sustainability is a guiding principle on the property, with initiatives focusing on water conservation, LEED certification, and single-use plastic reduction in place to keep local wildlife safe—and this steadfast commitment to the environment has spurred massive potential for ecotourism in the surrounding area. Just south of the property, the sprawling Rachel Carson Reserve is a paradise for visiting wildlife enthusiasts, equipped with native shorebirds, river otters, sea turtles, and even wild horses.
Inn On Bath Creek
Officially chartered in 1705, the tiny town of Bath is one of North Carolina’s most underrated historic gems—and the idyllic Inn On Bath Creek serves as the perfect base for exploring the area. Each morning, guests can look forward to a hearty three-course breakfast, then head into town to grab a kayak and set off to explore the region. During the winter months, the nearby Lake Mattamuskeet offers a wealth of migrating waterfowl ranging from snow geese to tundra swans, while Goose Creek State Park is a top-tier destination for basking in the idyllic beauty of The Tar Heel State’s native cypress swamps.