By Hayley Hutson
Whether you have lived in the beautiful Sandhills region all your life or are visiting for a romantic weekend getaway, there are plenty of ways to enjoy a special day or night in the Pinehurst and Southern Pines area. From mouthwatering farm-to-table meals to unforgettable live entertainment, stay tuned for some truly epic inspiration for your next date night.
Here are 10 of the best date night ideas in the North Carolina Sandhills:
1. Stroll through the Sandhills Horticultural Gardens.
The Sandhills Horticultural Gardens span 32 acres of vibrant floral displays, enchanting gardens, and wetland trails for guests to explore. You can visit for free any day of the week between sunrise and sunset. If you and your partner love the outdoors, an afternoon or pre-dinner stroll through the gardens is a perfect date. There are even designated areas throughout the gardens where you can enjoy a picnic if you’d like.
2. Catch a live show at the Sunrise Theater.
The Sunrise Theater is a beloved Southern Pines staple and a fabulous place to enjoy a show. The renovated 1940s theater ushers in warm feelings of nostalgia from the moment you walk in and features everything from art-house movies to live concerts. Enjoy an indie flick inside or head to the outdoor theater for a concert before grabbing some after-dinner drinks at the upstairs lounge for an intimate end to the night.
3. Drink your way through the Sandhills Wine Trail.
If you’re a fan of wine, you won’t want to miss drinking your way through the Sandhills Wine Trail and stamping your passport along the way. Start by grabbing your passports at any of the six featured locations and ask for your sticker when you pay. Sample your favorite wines as you explore the best wine shops and vineyards in the region until you have completed your passport to earn a prize. Prefer beer? Try the Sandhills Pour Tour!
4. Enjoy live music and tasty bites at Red’s Corner.
One of Southern Pines’ trendiest hangout spots, Red’s Corner boasts the kind of atmosphere that works brilliantly for a romantic date night or a fun family outing. This beer garden and food truck park features a plethora of permanent and rotating food trucks, along with a bar that serves beer, wine, and seltzers. You can bring your own chairs (or a picnic blanket) or try your luck at landing an open table. Be sure to stop by over the weekend if you’re hoping to enjoy live music with your meal.
5. Relax with a soothing spa treatment.
Couple’s massage, anyone? The Sandhills region is teeming with highly-rated resorts and day spas that make for a restorative afternoon with your favorite person. Indulge in facials at Donna Lane Day Spa, reflexology at Euro-Body Therapies, or personalized massages at Massage Envy. If you’re looking to enjoy a luxurious spa day without breaking the bank, consider opting for a Tranquility Pass at the Spa at Pinehurst.
6. Explore the area on the Sandhills Trolley.
The Sandhills Trolley provides a fun, modern take on the traditional trolley experience. Unlike other sleepy trolley tours narrated by historians, the Sandhills Trolley cruises feature interactive performances by local actors, comedians, and musicians. Each cruise ranges from ‘mild’ to ‘wild’ with themes like Back to the 80s, Pinehurst History, and Late Night Trolley for your own moving variety show. For a unique date night that includes a little bit of everything, the Sandhills Trolley is a stellar option.
7. Visit the animals at Aloha Safari Park.
Cameron’s Aloha Safari Park is a must-visit destination for animal lovers. As you walk through the sanctuary exhibits, you’ll find a wide array of exotic animals like zebras, tigers, monkeys, and lemurs. Most of the animals at this family-run zoo are rescues that were previously abandoned or neglected, so your support contributes to an incredible cause. If you aren’t up for a day of walking, you can opt for the drive-thru to pet and feed all sorts of furry friends in a one-of-a-kind experience.
8. Grab craft beers at Pinehurst Brewing Company.
After a long day of golf with your honey or exploring the Village of Pinehurst, what better way to wind down than with some of North Carolina’s finest craft beers? The menu at Pinehurst Brewing Company features a little bit of everything, so you’re bound to find a drink you love. Set in a historic steam plant that was originally built in 1895, this local hotspot still maintains its charming character while serving as one of Pinehurst’s most beloved watering holes.
9. Shop and dine in the Southern Pines Historic District.
With so much to do and see, there’s plenty to keep you entertained in the Southern Pines Historic District for a sweet afternoon or an evening. Embrace the small-town charm as you peruse the locally-owned specialty shops, grab a bite at Chef Warren’s Bistro or The Sly Fox Pub, check out the art at some local galleries, and cap off the evening with a treat from The Ice Cream Parlor.
10. Enjoy an upscale meal at the Carolina Dining Room.
No trip to the Sandhills would be complete without a visit to the iconic Pinehurst Resort. If you don’t plan on staying at the resort, you can still experience it by booking a meal at the esteemed Carolina Dining Room. This elegant farm-to-table restaurant serves up elevated versions of Southern classics and is best known for its steaks and handmade pasta. For a true fine-dining experience in Pinehurst, this is the place to be.
Hayley Hutson is a freelance travel writer based in Charlotte. Channeling her passion for exploration into her work, she loves writing about everything from charming towns off the beaten path to luxury spa resorts in popular destinations. When she’s not on the road, you can often find her listening to a podcast or wheezing her way through a hot yoga class. Follow her on IG @haaayleyh.