North Carolina might mainly encompass the rolling hills of the Piedmont and the salt-washed plains of the Atlantic Ocean, but the state veers into the great arc of Appalachia at its western end. It's there that amazing mountain getaways in NC can whisk you to moss-caked cabins, ski fields, and wiggling scenic byways that gaze over hazy peaks.

The style of mountain house rentals in NC

First thing's first. Before you pull on the walking boots and dust down the Nordic ski gear, it's a good idea to get a feel for what sort of vacation rentals are on the menu when you're delving into the Blue Ridge and the Great Smokies of NC. A few enticing examples are below…

Remote and rustic cabins

When it comes to mountain cabins, North Carolina is up there with the best destinations in the country. There are all shapes and sizes of these cozy highland retreats on offer in the Old North State. You can get large-scale family pads built of wood logs, with big porches topped with creaking rocking chairs. You can get romantic boltholes for two, where warming fires meet balconies overlooking the verdant valleys of the Blue Ridge.

Treehouse escapes you'll never forget

To really immerse yourself in the oaks, the hemlocks, the beech woods, and the web of snaking walking paths that runs between Asheville and Highlands, there's really nothing like a treehouse. These stays are a sort of glamping-cottage mashup, with perches deep in the forests, and even the occasional tree trunk poking through the porch.

Sumptuous mountain house rentals in NC

A crackling log fire, a sprawling master bedroom with views across the Smokies, a big garden with a fire pit and a steaming hot tub to bathe in under the stars – these are the sorts of alluring features in the most elegant of mountain homes in North Carolina. Of course, you'll need to fork out extra to enjoy these, especially if you're planning a trip in the popular summertime.

A destination guide for mountain getaways in NC

From the soaring Black Mountains and their spruce groves to the Great Smokies and their old-growth forests, North Carolina encompasses some of the most amazing corners of Appalachia. To help you navigate it all, the list below reveals some of the very best places to consider planning your mountain getaway in NC.

Sugar Mountain rentals – an all-round taste of the peaks

Set in a deep cleft in the Blue Ridge Mountains on the cusp of the Pisgah National Forest and the state line with Tennessee, Sugar Mountain rentals are your chance to hit one of the region's most accomplished winter sports hotspots. But while ski runs weave through the maples and oaks come December, spring and summer bring hiking up Grandfather Mountain and golfing in the valley below.

What about Highlands, NC, vacation rentals?

Closer to the border with Georgia than to Asheville, the resort of Highlands is a stepping stone to the southern Appalachian Mountains and all their wild glory. The whole town and the bulk of the vacation rentals Highlands, NC, are completely surrounded by national forest reserves. That means you won't have to venture far before the gushing Bridal Veil Falls and the panoramic outlooks of Sunrise Rock swing into view.

Conveniently poised between the ski fields of Beech Mountain and Sugar Mountain, with the Pisgah National Forest swirling all around it, the small center of Banner Elk is another of the great highland escapes in the north-west of NC. It's also a hub for wineries, with nearby tasting rooms and cellar doors showcasing the very best of the state's elevated tipples.

Black Mountain, NC, vacation rentals In-content

A whisker away from cute Biltmore Village and bustling Asheville, hearty Black Mountain has lodges and B&Bs close to some irresistible mountain sights. Leave behind your suite in the morning and you can trek the Point Lookout Trail past waterfalls to scenic viewpoints. Or, hit little Lake Tomahawk for miniature beaches and open-air swimming spots.

Asheville – for some city amid your peaks

To break up hiking expeditions on the Appalachian Trail or whitewater rafting on the squiggling French Broad River with a dash of refined art walks and perfectly brewed beer, Asheville is the place. It's the self-proclaimed capital of the NC peaks, which means it's only a quick breakaway from the Downtown before you're whizzing around the bends of the Blue Ridge Parkway.