The South's Best Resorts 2022

Biltmore
Photo: Mattew Turley

Do you like to fill your vacation days with rounds of golf or maybe a tennis match every morning? Hiking, kayaking, biking? Or are you more of the sit-and-sip by the pool vacationer? Beach or mountain? Sunshine or snow? Not to worry. Our readers' picks for the South's best resorts include all of the above. Yes, we love a boutique property where the rooms are individually decorated and the scale is intimate and cozy. But still. Sometimes you just want to check into a has-it-all resort and, for once, forget where you put the car keys on purpose. Want an upscale date night dinner? It's waiting downstairs—or maybe oceanside. A facial, massage, or manicure? Yep, yep, yep. Cultural attractions? Just ask the concierge. Total escape from all attractions? That can be arranged. Check in (to your room) and check out (of the ordinary). Forget about traffic, your to-do list, your daily planner, your grocery list...these resorts are ready to take care of YOU.

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10. The Resort at Longboat Key Club

The Resort at Longboat Key Club, Florida
Courtesy of The Resort at Longboat Key Club

Longboat Key, Florida

Stay on a barrier island paradise that's within easy reach of Sarasota's city charms. The Resort at Longboat Key Club, complete with its own deep-water marina, has 222 plush rooms on 410 acres that include unspoiled Gulf beaches. Enjoy onsite food and drink, golf and tennis, a spa, and all kinds of fitness offerings. A 2021 renovation upgraded accommodations and amenities, making a beautiful resort even better.

220 Sands Point Road, Longboat Key, Florida 34228, longboatkey.com

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9. Perdido Beach Resort

Perdido Beach Resort, Alabama
Courtesy of Perdido Beach Resort

Orange Beach, Alabama

Perched smack on the Gulf of Mexico—and all the sugary sand and salty surf it delivers—Perdido Beach Resort aims to be your no-need-to-leave-once-you-get-here stay. All your beach rentals—chairs, umbrellas, kayaks, jet skis—are right there. Gulf waters are steps away. Dining and sipping options abound. And we'd be willing to bet you'll hear a Jimmy Buffett tune or two while you're there. You'll be so content that you might even forget to go to the Flora-Bama.

27200 Perdido Beach Boulevard, Orange Beach, Alabama 36561, perdidobeachresort.com

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8. Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort & Spa

Two-Day Escapes

San Antonio, Texas

Hyatt's 300-acre, 500-room Hill Country enclave near San Antonio brings on the Texas charm and rolls out the welcome mat for families. A five-acre water park including a lazy river and FlowRider wave machine guarantees a respite from the Texas sun. Play golf, tennis, or sand volleyball, explore the great outdoors, or ramble the Hill Country. You're in your own little world, but it's a stone's throw from SeaWorld and also a quick drive from Six Flags Fiesta Texas and San Antonio's Riverwalk. File this one under "best of both worlds."

9800 Hyatt Resort Drive, San Antonio, Texas 78251, hyatt.com

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7. Blackberry Farm

Blackberry Farm in Walland, Tennessee
Helen Norman

Walland, Tennessee

The Beall family have been welcoming guests to their idyllic Smoky Mountain farm since the late seventies. Today, they continue the legacy of the late visionary Sam Beall, fulfilling his dream of creating a special place where land and people are nurtured, and the food and culture of Appalachia are celebrated. The new Blackberry Mountain property opened in 2018, with over half of its 5,200 acres set aside for conservation, and the Main House was just updated. Lodging on the mountain includes upscale treehouses with wood-burning stoves and spectacular views too.

1471 West Millers Cove Road, Walland, Tennessee 37886, blackberryfarm.com

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6. Sweetgrass Inn at Wild Dunes Resort

Sweetgrass Inn
Wild Dunes Resort

Isle of Palms, South Carolina

A new addition to Wild Dunes lodging, Sweetgrass opened in 2021, bringing next-generation appeal to the venerable 1,600-acre resort, just a half-hour from Charleston. Wild Dunes is a longtime favorite of golfers, with two Tom Fazio-designed courses: the Links Course fronting the Atlantic Ocean and Harbor Course along the Intracoastal Waterway. The addition of Sweetgrass brings a fresh, modern appeal to the resort yet remains anchored in the natural beauty and Lowcountry mystique of the Isle of Palms.

5757 Palm Boulevard, Isle of Palms, South Carolina 29451, hyatt.com

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5. The Grand Hotel Golf Resort & Spa

The Grand Hotel Golf Resort & Spa
Courtesy The Grand Hotel Golf Resort & Spa

Point Clear, Alabama

This 550-acre resort began life as a 40-room hotel in 1847. Now part of Marriott's Autograph Collection, The Grand underwent a multimillion-dollar renovation that brought in new restaurants and updated the historic property, which is known for its old school Southern charm and sunset views over Mobile Bay. Play golf and tennis, take a swim, or chill in the 20,000-square-foot spa. No matter what you do, The Grand will make you feel as if you're visiting genteel relations for the weekend.

One Grand Boulevard, Point Clear, Alabama 36564, grand1847.com

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4. The Greenbrier

White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia
ablokhin/Getty Images

White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia

In 1946, "America's Resort," open since 1778, got a makeover from pioneering interior designer Dorothy Draper, who also designed its famously palatial indoor pool. Draper's love of color and bold prints—including an enthusiastic embrace of stripes and chintz—is evident at The Greenbrier to this day. Book a resort room or spacious suite, a cottage, or even an estate home. Outdoors, reserve your tee time or court time, or take advantage of the mountain scenery for more activities than you can shake a (hiking) stick at: SUP and kayak adventures; whitewater rafting; fishing, hiking, and climbing; Jeep driving, biking, and horseback riding. Note: The Greenbrier is all about old-school elegance, so there's a dress code. Fellas, leave your baseball caps at home.

101 West Main Street, White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia 24986, greenbrier.com

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3. Kiawah Island Golf Resort

The Sanctuary at Kiawah Island Golf Resort
Courtesy of Kiawah Island Golf Resort

Kiawah Island, South Carolina

Just 20-ish miles from Charleston lies a stunning island getaway—the kind of place that makes you forget you ever had a care in the world. Or even a schedule. It's a splurge, but what a fine one—10 miles of Atlantic beaches, not to mention more watery adventure by river, marshland, and lagoon. An island-wide expansion and many renovations have been ongoing for several years. The Sanctuary Hotel, with its luxury-meets-tranquility vibe, opened in 2004 and remains a primary reason to head for this barrier island—along with golf, tennis, nature programs, and so much more.

1 Sanctuary Beach Drive, Kiawah Island, South Carolina 29455, kiawahresort.com

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2. Dollywood's DreamMore Resort and Spa

Dollywood's DreamMore Resort and Spa
Courtesy of Dollywood

Pigeon Forge, Tennessee

Dollywood's DreamMore Resort and Spa took Gatlinburg-Pigeon Forge lodging to a whole new stratosphere when it opened in 2015, and it remains a terrific family-friendly base camp for exploring Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the surrounding towns. Picture lots of stonework and cozy fireplaces on the inside and an outdoor pool stellar enough to lure you away from those crystal mountain streams. Bonus: Guests get lots of Dollywood access perks.

2525 DreamMore Way, Pigeon Forge, Tennessee 37863, dollywood.com

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1. Biltmore

Biltmore
Mattew Turley

Asheville, North Carolina

George Vanderbilt's dream of a self-sustaining country estate in the Blue Ridge Mountains lives on as a self-contained getaway and one of the most popular destinations in the South. Biltmore's 8,000 acres include the largest historic estate home in America, grounds and gardens designed by legendary landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, a top-tier winery, more than 20 miles of trails to explore, and several lodging options, including the never-want-to-leave-here Inn on Biltmore Estate.

Plan your trip.

One Lodge Street, Asheville, NC 28803, biltmore.com

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