a weekend in highlands, nc

One of my favorite places in the whole dang world is Highlands, NC. Andrew and I first visited on a whim when we needed a long weekend to get away and get some fresh air a couple years ago. Ever since then, we fell in love with this gem of a mountain town and have made it a tradition to visit in the late summer or fall each year.


Situated close to the intersection of South Carolina, North Carolina and Georgia, Highlands is just about a 2.5 hour drive from Spartanburg. It's the perfect spot for a romantic getaway, a girl's weekend, a couple's trip, or just anytime you need a little break from reality. Whenever work is stressful or things aren't going great, Andrew and I joke, "Want to just move to Highlands?" #kiddingbutnotreally.

Great mountain views, delicious food, shopping, and great places to stay... this place has it all. Allow me to tell you more about my tips for the best weekend in Highlands, NC!

where to stay in highlands, nc

When we visit Highlands, we usually stay for two nights. I'm not going to lie-- some of the nicer hotels are a little pricey, but we've found a fun travel hack to save a little bit of moolah-- if you can swing a day or two off work, a Saturday night/Sunday night stay or Sunday night/Monday night stay is usually a little cheaper than spending two weekend nights! 

Old Edwards Inn

Chances are, you've probably heard of the Old Edwards Inn. It's a rustic, yet refined, resort nestled in the heart of downtown Highlands. The rooms are elegant and cozy, and if you come during the fall or winter months there are fireplaces to enjoy all over the place. It's conveniently located near lots of great dining and shops. I've never had the pleasure of enjoying the spa on the premises, but I've heard it's incredible!

A Christmas getaway to the Old Edwards!

A Christmas getaway to the Old Edwards!

The Inn at Half Mile Farm

My favorite place to stay in Highlands is The Inn at Half Mile Farm, which is an Old Edwards property right outside of town. It's a charming country-style inn situated on rolling hills next to the most picturesque pond. We loved exploring the property, enjoying the beautifully decorated common areas, and devouring the chef-made breakfast each morning. 

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Other places to stay include 200 Main (an Old Edwards property that's nice, but definitely more affordable!) and The Park on Main (a dog-themed boutique hotel). 

where to eat in highlands, nc

Mountain Fresh Grocery

My favorite part about Mountain Fresh Grocery is that you can get a delicious, hot breakfast in the morning, a yummy, freshly-made pizza for lunch, and a latte and pastry for an afternoon pick-me-up all in the same place! In my opinion, this place is kind of like a local Whole Foods-- lots of goodies to be had!

Bistro on Main

Bistro on Main is one of my favorite lunch spots, located at the Main Street Inn. I highly recommend the crab grilled cheese with lobster bisque... sound amazing, right?!

Ristorante Paoletti

Andrew studied abroad in Italy during college, meaning the boy has pretty high standards for Italian food. I can promise you that we've never had anything bad at Ristorante Paoletti! I can never decide between the pesto pasta or the seafood risotto....

On the Verandah

This upscale restaurant is known for its views, but every time we've been it's been too dark to see the (apparently) stunning lake around it! We come to On the Verandah for the ambiance, the amazing steak and seafood, and the service. Definitely a great spot for a celebration dinner!

what to do in highlands, nc

In addition to simply relaxing and enjoying the amenities of your hotel of choice and eating your way through town, hiking and shopping are two of my favorite things to do in Highlands!

shopping in highlands, nc

Highlands has tons of cute shops-- everything from a dog boutique to high-end clothing stores, antique and gift shops and more! Here are a few of my favorite spots:

  • Dutchman Designs- Two levels of fun, eclectic home decor and gifts! I try to come home with a little something from this store each year we visit Highlands!
  • Highland Hiker- Andrew loves to pop in here and look at all their camping gear and outdoor clothing and accessories!
  • The Southern Way- A men's and women's clothing boutique carrying quality brands like Southern Tide, Vineyard Vines, Tracy Negoshian and more!
  • CK Swan- A must-see for any interiors enthusiast or decor lover! This home decor shop has tons of beautiful furniture, accessories, coffee table books and more. The staff are always so friendly!

hiking in highlands, nc

Outdoors enthusiasts of all degrees will find that Highlands has incredible options for hiking and enjoying the great outdoors. Here are a few of our favorite hikes/waterfalls/lookouts:

  • Dry Falls- Enjoy a short descent down some stairs and then continue along for a really cool view behind the falls!
  • Bridal Veil Falls- These falls are a bit different-- you can drive your car right under them!
  • Whiteside Mountain- If you have to pick one outdoors-y thing to do, pick THIS hike! You'll end with the most amazing views. I'd say it's a moderately intense hike, and it's only about 2.5 miles round-trip. 
Views from Whiteside Mountain!

Views from Whiteside Mountain!


Other popular Highlands, NC activities include golfing, spa-going at the Old Edwards and visiting The Bascom, a visual arts center on the way into town!

Andrew has already asked about our next trip to Highlands, NC! It's definitely time to start planning. Have you ever been to Highlands? Tell me about your favorite spots!

xo, Ryann