Pinehurst Resort: The Ultimate Family Vacation Destination
Updated: Jul 16, 2019
Have you ever wondered if a golf resort and family vacation could co-exist? Golf resorts are well-known for having beautifully manicured landscapes, fine dining, gorgeous spas, exceptional service, and unique amenities. Okay, I know what you’re thinking: “Stephanie, I have three wild and crazy kids!” I know. I hear you. But what if you could combine this with endless activities and options for the whole family? Sounds like a dream, right? This perfectly explains our most recent family vacation to Pinehurst Resort in Pinehurst, NC. As someone who doesn’t even play golf, it was everything I could have hoped for and more.
This majestic century-old resort consistently ranks as one of the 'Best Golf Resorts in the US.' And there’s a reason for that. Read on to hear more on why Pinehurst Resort left a lasting impression in our hearts, and why you too, should consider it for your next family vacation.
Pinehurst Resort currently offers three different lodging options: The Carolina Hotel, The Holly Inn, and The Condos at Pinehurst. With both of our visits we stayed at The Carolina Hotel, and I can’t say enough positive things.
The Carolina Hotel exudes elegance and class: the top is adorned in copper and the grounds are surrounded by gorgeous landscaping. There is always a friendly face waiting to open your next door and upon entering the lobby you will be brought back to a time long ago. Both the traditional and premium rooms fit the needs of our family, although they were quaint, the rooms were clean, upscale, and included a mini-fridge, Keurig, and a large closet. (Comfy beds are a bonus!)
The Holly Inn was Pinehurst’s first hotel and although we have not stayed there, we paid a visit during a previous trip to dine at The Tavern. Located in the heart of The Village, it’s a great option.
The Condos at Pinehurst would be perfect for families or large groups as they have 2 and 3-bedroom choices available. And with views of the stunning greens and Lake Pinehurst, I can’t imagine you can go wrong.
The Manor Inn is another on-site property but is currently closed for renovations with an anticipated re-opening in August.
The activities at Pinehurst are endless and extend far beyond golf. And as someone who can’t sit still for more than 30-seconds (thanks, dad), a place like this is for me!
Although it would be difficult to pick a favorite activity, I think the horse-drawn carriage ride takes the top spot. Frank, the owner of Carriage Tours of Pinehurst Village Inc, has been providing carriage rides for over 30 years. Not only was the ride relaxing, but we learned a ton about the history of Pinehurst, local businesses, Annie Oakley’s presence, and the value of certain homes.
[Fun fact: Did you know that the Village of Pinehurst was first purchased in 1895 with a vision of 'a health resort for people with modest means?' The pine-scented air and glorious sunshine was thought to have healing properties for those recovering from respiratory ailments.]
As for the girls, they agreed they love the pools most at Pinehurst! Yes, plural! There is a small, shallow pool that was perfect for our fearless toddler. Meanwhile, the girls enjoyed the larger pool so they could test their swimming skills in the deep end, and even make a new friend! A small splash pad and over-sized hot tub are also nearby. In the center of the action sits a full-service bar. The servers were prompt and took great care of our crew that scattered the expansive area.
Adjacent to the pool you’ll also find a putting green, fireplaces, a playground, various games, and in the winter, a skating rink! Open mid November through early January, this is a must! All three of the kids laced up their skates last year and you really can’t beat it: hot cocoa in hand and ice skating in 50 degree temps the day after Christmas.
While at Pinehurst you can also work on your backhand on one of their 16-clay tennis courts. Before kids, Ryan and I used to have fierce tennis matches, but sadly we haven’t played much since expanding our family and have yet to visit the tennis facility at Pinehurst. But it’s on our bucket list! It's also nice to know that equipment is available to rent as well as semi-private and private lessons for those of all ages and skill levels.
Lawn Sports + Getting Around
Aside from golf, Pinehurst also draws crowds for its international lawn bowls and croquet tournaments. Two beautiful croquet courts and one lawn bowling green are open for resort guests to enjoy. But, if competitive sports isn’t your thing, you can explore The Village of Pinehurst using the Townie Go E-bikes that are available for rent. I would love to try this someday, however, with young explorers in tow, we have always enjoyed admiring the charming sights while on foot. With each visit we fall even more in love, immersing ourselves in its magic and swooning over the immaculate cottages that line the streets.
The Cradle, a 9-hole short course opened in 2017 is designed to be a family-friendly course for those of all ages and skill levels. Named by The Golf Channel as ‘the most fun 10 acres in all of golf,' we certainly agree! Rory instantly picked up on the concept and the girls had fun practicing their swings (and maybe running through the sand traps). We were a little apprehensive bringing three young kids onto a golf course, but we were instantly relieved to see dozens of other young families there too. It took us a little over an hour and the kids did great walking. However, Adalyn later admitted that she prefers ‘little golf,' which leads me to my next topic...
Got tiny travelers? Thistle Dhu, an 18-hole putting course, is free to resort guests and is a great way to get even the tiniest golfer in the game. The hilly green located in front of the clubhouse draws its inspiration from the first miniature golf course in America (built in 1916 on the grounds of a private home in Pinehurst, NC), and is one of our favorite go-to activities. I must say, it’s hard not to stop and take a few putts when walking by!
What can we say? We love shopping. And at Pinehurst, there are eleven locations across the resort where you can purchase apparel, books, golf equipment, and more! A short walk to The Village and you’ll discover unique boutiques, gift shops and numerous restaurants, all of which are located in the same historic buildings that symbolized Pinehurst over a century ago.
Five years into traveling with kids and we’ve yet to utilize an on-site 'kids club.' But if we’re going to do it, this will definitely be a spot we use in the future! The kids club at Pinehurst isn’t simply a daycare, but is a learning and play-based environment. Pinehurst really has made it seamless for everyone in the family to have a memorable vacation. With the kids club, your little ones can have fun while you relax and enjoy some alone time.
June 3-August 27, 2019
Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
Saturday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. and 6-9 p.m.
Children must be potty-trained to attend. See website for half and full day rates.
From date night with your spouse to casual dining with the family, there’s a dining option for everyone at Pinehurst. There are seven restaurants on site and one, the Pinehurst Brewing Company, that is a short walk off the property.
The Carolina Coffee Shop located in the hotel lobby is a great spot for a quick bite and your morning cup of joe. For breakfast, there’s no question, the Carolina Dining Room. We finally had the opportunity to experience the “most legendary breakfast buffet in golf” and what a treat it was! As you enter the dining room you’ll see beautifully decorated chairs, hear soft piano music, and be hit with fragrant smells of pastries, fresh fruits and omelets.
For lunch, it’d be a toss up between Pinehurst Brewing Company or The Deuce. At PBC their goal is 'Great food. Great beer. Great atmosphere.' Guess what? They nailed it. Located inside a historic steam plant, we enjoyed two satisfying and FUN meals there. (We all devoured the pretzel sticks!) Over at The Deuce, the food is spot on and the views aren’t bad either. The Deuce overlooks the 18th green of the iconic Pinehurst No. 2, has both indoor and outdoor seating, and kids get free dessert!
A spot of tea if I may? Ok, so afternoon tea isn’t really a dining option but for us it’s definitely a daily indulgence while at Pinehurst. Each day from 4-5pm, guests of the Carolina Hotel can enjoy a wide array of hot teas and cookies.
Speaking of dinner, we were all very pleased with our meals at The Tavern at The Holly Inn. A quick ride on the resort shuttle is reason enough to go! The restaurant is family friendly with both classic and unique offerings.
What’s a resort without a spa? Lucky for me, it was also MY birthday during this most recent visit. So, as a treat, I was off to the spa for a morning of pampering! Plan extra time as you’ll want to spend the whole day there. The environment is so relaxing and with amenities like a therapeutic whirlpool, lap pool, and a steam room, your stressors are sure to melt away. The staff was courteous and friendly, and the complimentary smoothies poolside were a nice touch. Next time, I’ll definitely plan ahead and allow for more time though (hello, kids club!). Maybe I’ll even hit up the fitness center located next to the spa. The fitness center is open 24/7 and offers a variety of cardio equipment, free weights, and strength machines.
If there’s one thing that separates an average experience from an exceptional experience, it's customer service. Everyone (and I mean everyone) at Pinehurst was friendly, accommodating, and went above and beyond to make our stay truly memorable. The kids were welcomed and well-catered to, a parent's dream!
There's something uniquely special about Pinehurst Resort. The people seem to smile a bit wider. The sun shines a bit brighter. The birds chirp a bit louder. The grass is a bit greener. And the air, yes, that pine-scented air. There's no doubt that it still holds its restorative powers.
Pinehurst Resort is family-friendly, affordable, and with it's outstanding service and array of activities, it truly is an ideal spot for a family vacation. But don't just take my word for it, experience its' magic for yourself! I can guarantee that it will make a lasting impression on your heart like it has ours.
Have you visited Pinehurst Resort? Did you become deeply enchanted?