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All-Inclusive Family Resorts in North Carolina: Your Wishlist Revealed

Here at Family Vacation, it’s my motto that a vacation should be easy. I think we’ve all been in scenarios where the vacation prep is so arduous that we feel like we need a vacation from our vacation! I especially know how that feels toting around five kids, hubby, and me. It ain’t easy.

All-inclusive vacation experiences can make the planning part that much easier. This is a chance to relinquish much of the planning around a getaway and let the resort take care of it.

North Carolina has plenty of these resorts, so you can spend more time at Carowinds, Battleship North Carolina, the North Carolina Zoo, or whatever is on your itinerary.

Let’s review some of my favorites to help you plan!

Great Wolf Lodge



Is there a better kid-centric resort for your next escape to North Carolina? I’m hard-pressed to think of one.

Great Wolf Lodge is a version of kid heaven. Its biggest attraction is its indoor water park, which guests can access for free. The water park is open all year long and is always comfortable and warm, no matter the temperature outside.

What I love about this water park is how the rides are appropriate for kids of all ages, from toddlers to older kiddos eager for thrills and teens who want to ride rip-roaring towering water slides all the way to the bottom.

But the Great Wolf Lodge doesn’t stop there, no sirree. It also features attractions like a ropes course, bowling, VR adventures, a 4D movie theater, Build-a-Bear Workshop, laser games, and mini golf. Live events are always on the horizon, giving you a new experience every time.

The suites run the gamut from standard rooms to premium suites and themed areas with rustic campfire décor. The Grizzly Bear Suite, a premium lodging option, has room for six to eight people, with two queen-sized beds, one king bed, and a sleeper sofa.

You also have more of the amenities you need, including three televisions, a patio and balcony, and two full bathrooms for privacy. You inclusive stay even has dining, with enough kid-friendly options you can avoid the eternal struggle of what to eat.

» MORE: 11 Great Wolf Lodge Resorts That Lead the Pack

The Ballantyne, A Luxury Collection Hotel



Sit in the lap of luxury for a while at The Ballantyne, an upscale boutique hotel with accommodations for families. Besides the onsite playground, you and the kiddos can enjoy an outdoor (seasonal) or indoor pool with cabana rentals and complimentary cruiser bikes for rent.

The Amp Ballantyne sometimes hosts free events (the others require you to purchase tickets), like live concerts, food trucks, and performances, with room for up to 3,500 people.

I didn’t even get to the best part yet, which is the Stream Park. The park has a climbing wall, slides, and other kids’ activities outdoors in that gorgeous, serene North Carolina air.

Deluxe and grand deluxe hotel rooms are spacious, but the hotel suites afford the most space, as they’re between 800 and 1,200 square feet.

In-room dining with kids’ menus is available around the clock, and The Ballantyne also has an onsite restaurant called Gallery Restaurant that serves three meals a day and brunch on weekends. The Americana menu should appeal to everyone’s taste buds.

Fontana Village Resort & Marina

Fontana Dam


Experience the woodsy side of North Carolina at Fontana Village Resort in Nantahala National Forest overlooking the Great Smokey Mountains. Drink in Fontana Lake views and breathe in that mountain air.

There’s always something to do here, no matter when you visit! Outdoor movies, arts and crafts, live music, and roasting marshmallows around a campfire are just a smattering of the seasonal activities on the event calendar.

Otherwise, you can fill your time in NC at the indoor arcade, playing disc golf, hiking or biking, putting mini golf on an 18-hole course, trout pond fishing, and playing sports from softball to volleyball, basketball, and pickleball.

This idyllic resort has lodges for up to four guests and cabins for up to eight. You’ll appreciate the quiet seclusion of your lodging option as well as the stunning views that surround you from every angle.

And filling your belly? Fontana Village has got you covered. Wildwood Grill should appeal to kids, as it serves American food like burgers. This resort also has a Stone Creek Pool Snack Shack and Fontana Ice Cream Parlor (both open seasonally) for satisfying your sweet tooth.

Asheville Cabins of Willow Winds


Asheville, North Carolina skyline nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Image:

Fall in love with the magic of Asheville and the Blue Ridge Mountains at the Asheville Cabins of Willow Winds. The resort is situated near the Mountains-to-Sea Trail and the Blue Ridge Parkway, with an extensive woodland garden that’s 40 gigantic acres!

It’s the ideal landscape for strolling or hiking, fishing, and lounging together as a family. If you’re feeling more ambitious than that, the resort also has two playgrounds, a lower and upper area.

The lower playground features swings, tetherball, a fort for climbing, volleyball, and badminton. Near Trout Trail, the upper playground has a basketball hoop, more swings, a volleyball net, and another space to play badminton.

The Game Porch invites you to play entertaining and old-school games like ping-pong, basketball, air hockey, foosball, skeetball, and table shuffleboard. Across the large-scale resort, you’ll also find activities from horseshoes to a life-sized chessboard.

Get away to a three-bedroom cabin for up to eight if you have a big brood like mine. The gorgeously warm cabins have two bathrooms apiece. If you’re traveling as part of a smaller group, the two-bedroom cabins have the space for six, with two bedrooms and bathrooms apiece.

The Swag



The Swag invites you to get away, ensconcing yourselves deep in the beauty of Waynesville, including the tree-lined hills with dancing flowers. The resort offers private access to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and is a rustic retreat through and through.

Put on your hiking shoes and explore the beauteous 250 acres of resort property or the more than 500,000 acres of the nearby Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Assemble puzzles together by a roaring fire as a family, explore the resort’s rustic library, or go on a picnic.

The Swag also offers croquet, badminton, a pond for swimming and fishing (seasonally), lawn games, and a treehouse the kids will never want to leave. You can even saddle up for an afternoon of horseback riding, a truly unforgettable experience.

Trinity Cottage is a great pick for families, as it features three master suites. The picture-perfect log cabin boasts a private Swag Garden, an outdoor shower, two balconies, and a 22-foot fireplace.

Sanderling Resort



One of North Carolina’s best resorts, Sanderling is situated on the Outer Banks and conveniently located near the Wright Brothers National Memorial, Audubon Trail, Wild Horse Adventures Tours, Corolla Beach, Jockey’s Ridge State Park, and more.

A stay here promises a good time. If you’re traveling as a small group, you can explore the selection of guest rooms. Luxury suites are also available, as are vacation rentals for large groups of eight to 16.

For example, the Harris House with room for eight has an outdoor shower, three bedrooms for privacy, and two living areas. You’re also right outside the beach, so you won’t have to worry about lugging your gear far.

All the fun you could want on a North Carolina vacation is afforded to you at Sanderling, with water sport rentals available. You and the family can go skimboarding, boogieboarding, surfing, paddleboarding, or kayaking. Lessons are available if you need help riding!

Imagine going dune hang gliding together or renting bikes. Dolphin tours, fishing charters, and horseback riding will also make your time unforgettable.

Crowne Plaza Resort Asheville, an IHG Hotel



It’s time to play! This is your vacation, after all, and you’ve earned the fun time. The Crowne Plaza Resort will facilitate it.

There are so many kids’ activities here that your little ones will never be bored. KidZip is a zip line for children at least four years old (through 10), or you can go cycling together. A heated outdoor pool means it’s ready to use nearly any time of the year.

Plan a family nature walk, go biking together, or try some fly fishing. Seasonal swimming is available at the hotel pool. I’m sure the kids will go gaga for the Treetops Adventure Park, which features five adventure trails with swinging, jumping, walking, zipping, and climbing.

The Treetops Adventure Park also has swinging hula hoops and a flying kayak, so it’s certainly something!

The Crowne Plaza Resort has 272 deluxe guest rooms, including nearly 20 King Executive suites that have all undergone renovations to be as fresh, appealing, and accommodating as possible. Your room will include a flat-screen television with a satellite and cable package, high-speed internet, and a private balcony or patio.

The Terrace Hotel at Lake Junaluska

Lake Junaluska


An incredible slice of heaven on the lake, The Terrace Hotel should be on your shortlist as you plan your North Carolina family vacation this year.

The packages make your trip more affordable, and with an outdoor pool overlooking Lake Junaluska, the nearby Rose Walk, and other walking trails, and sports courts, you’ll be ready to enjoy an outdoorsy kind of vacay.

Don’t worry about breakfast; it’s covered! Each morning, you and the family can enjoy a hot meal, with options like sausage, bacon, grits, eggs, cereal, yogurt, fruit, and waffles served up fresh.

The gorgeous, spacious rooms surrounded by lush trees offer enchanting lake views that will capture your whimsy and get you excitedly out of bed each morning.

Old Edwards Inn and Spa


Image: Old Edwards Hospitality Group

No list of all-inclusive family resorts in North Carolina is complete without mentioning the Old Edwards Inn and Spa. This Blue Ridge Mountains resort has European stylings but is all NC at heart, don’t you worry.

All sorts of thrilling experiences await, from discovering the beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains during outdoor exploration to diving deep into the area’s thriving arts and culture scene.

The variety of dining options will keep stomachs full the entire vacation, with options like the Rooftop Terrace, Falls Pool Cabana, Hickory Pool Cabana, The Spa Café, The Grill Room, Art’s at The Lodge, Four65, Hummingbird Lounge, The Wine Garden, and Madison’s Restaurant.

Some of these options are intended for dining sans kids, of course, but there’s still enough family-friendly choices on the menu.

The Falls Cottages Two Bedroom Suite is a top option for families. The dual king-sized beds in one bedroom apiece provide comfy lodgings and plenty of privacy. Ensuite bathrooms are a nice touch, as are the balcony and fireplace.

The Inn on Biltmore Estate



Another best of Asheville is The Inn on Biltmore Estate, a Forbes Four-Star hotel that has claimed that prize for more than 20 years in a row.

Kid-friendly ideas and activities are plentiful here, including hiking and biking and the Farmyard in Antler Hill Village, a seasonal offering with demonstrations on how to trim hoofs and brush and milk goats.

The Antler Hill Barn features live demos from all sorts of turn-of-the-century craftspeople, including woodworkers and blacksmiths. Kids will also get to engage in unique crafts and games.

Naturalist is a nature experience on the 8,000 acres of natural land on the Biltmore. The programs require additional payment, and some are open seasonally, but are worth considering.

You can choose from guided bird walks, flower petal art, Intro to Nature Journaling, falconry, monthly naturalist talks, Project FeederWatch, winter birds, mindfulness walks, and Nature Glimmer Hunts.

The Pisgah Playground at Antler Hill Village is another place where kids can burn off their energy; nearby shopping will keep parents entertained.

The inns here offer an incredibly unique experience, with quaint stylings, charming gardens, optimal privacy, and enough space for the entire family. Bring your appetite, as you can enjoy meals at the Library Lounge, seasonal poolside dining, and in-room dining if you’d rather keep it cozy.