Top 18 Resorts and Hotels for Fall Foliage in the U.S.
K.C. was a featured writer for Yahoo! Travel before joining trips to discover in 2013. She is the author of Best Travel Guide for First Time Visitors to Ireland, an Amazon bestseller every year between 2013 and 2016. She has been a featured expert on Newsweek, Travel + Leisure, Travelocity, among others.
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What better way to escape the rat race during autumn than to spend some time among the beautiful fall colors? There are spectacular destinations across the U.S. where you can enjoy fall festivals, cooler temps, and photo-worthy fall foliage. These resorts and hotels offer the chance for an ideal getaway during this spectacular season.
Enjoying a New England autumn offers the quintessential fall experience, and it’s hard to find anything better than this tiny town in eastern New Hampshire. The Wentworth, built-in 1869, is bordered east of the beautiful Jackson Falls of the Wildcat River and framed by the 18-hole PGA Wentworth Golf Course to the west. A top place to stay in New Hampshire, it features stylish rooms in the main house and outlying cottages equipped with hardwood floors and gas fireplaces, all surrounded by an abundance of recreational activities and wildlife. A short stroll will bring you to the heart of multi-colored fall foliage by visiting any time between mid-to-late-October. Guests can also enjoy an authentic New Hampshire breakfast or dinner with locally sourced ingredients.
The 1887 Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island sits in Lake Huron. This storybook island prohibits motorized vehicles, so you’ll get to the hotel by boat and get around by horse-drawn carriage or bicycle. The property boasts the most extended front porch in the world and is an iconic resort offering everything from horseback riding to biking and swimming in its outdoor pool. The fiery reds and golds of autumn in this region are vivid and stretch endlessly. Taking the Agawa Canyon Train, you can venture a hundred miles into Canada to see them. This historic, elegant white resort features a wide variety of rooms, some with a balcony. Dining is an exceptional event, with extraordinary food, service, and ambiance, including the Main Dining Room, where formal evening attire is required and a stunning view overlooks the Straits of Mackinac.
The Ashby Inn is located about 20 miles from Skyline Drive, renowned as one of America’s most incredible fall foliage routes. This historic property was built in 1829 and welcomed Stonewall Jackson during the Civil War. It retains its refined country look with cozy rooms decorated with 19th-century furniture and four-poster beds. The Settle Room boasts a wood-burning fireplace and a private porch with Adirondack chairs overlooking the Blue Ridge Mountains. The restaurant is a destination in and of itself, serving creative farm-to-table cuisine and a range of wines, beers, and spirits derived locally. It’s an ideal place to stay to enjoy hiking under the gorgeous foliage umbrella of Sky Meadows State Park, just a half-mile away.
Tucked within the Great Smoky Mountains near Gatlinburg, The Lodge at Buckberry Creek offers an Adirondack-style endless mountain view and luxurious rooms with balconies overlooking the vibrant reds, yellows, and oranges that explode from the oaks and maples. After a scenic drive, a day of hiking, or visiting Gatlinburg’s funky shops, eateries, and numerous attractions, including a world-class aquarium, you can look forward to unwinding with unsurpassed views. When hunger pangs hit, the lodge restaurant has an innovative menu that features only the freshest local and seasonal ingredients. Outdoor dining offers spectacular views of Mt. LeConte and the Great Smoky Mountains.
The Chebeague Island Inn is a restored 1920s Greek Revival Inn that overlooks the ocean on one of the most beautiful islands in Maine’s Casco Bay. While you’ll feel like you’re worlds away, it takes just a 25-minute water taxi ride from Portland to get here. Each charming guest room is unique, featuring furnishings and artwork from Maine artists and artisans. For the best of the best, choose an ocean-view room. After a day of leaf-peeping, enjoy cozying up to the vast stone fireplace or unwinding on the wrap-around porch. Walking to the rocks at Deer Point provides excellent views of the bay and island.
One of the best hotels in the U.S., the Amangani is an ultra-luxury resort with luxury suites that overlook the breathtaking Grand Tetons and Snake River Valley from its cliff-top location. The resort’s name means “peaceful home” in the language of the Shoshone, exemplifying the atmosphere you’ll find that allows stress to melt away. In autumn, the aspen and cottonwood run gold and red while the air is crisp and cool, and the skies are almost always blue. Suites are spacious, boasting fireplaces and oversized bathrooms with deep soaking tubs, while resort amenities are the best in Jackson Hole and include a world-class spa, heated outdoor pools, hot tubs, and horseback riding. Guests can also enjoy a gourmet restaurant for an unforgettable dining experience.
As its name suggests, Hidden Pond hides on 60 acres of enchanting woodland in Kennebunkport and is known as one of the best places to stay in the town. It offers a luxurious escape in a picturesque New England setting, with autumn bringing out some of its best. Visit in the fall, and you’ll find the property nestled among a stunning mix of rouge, russet, and burnt umber. The private cottages feature screened-in porches and indoor/outdoor showers. The romantic bungalows, away from the main lodge, are ideal for couples, affording lots of privacy and a floor-to-ceiling stone gas fireplace. At the same time, the spacious cottages are perfect for families who will appreciate the spacious living and dining areas and a fully-equipped kitchen. After a day of exploring the beautiful surroundings, gather around the massive stone fireplace at the lodge, or take a dip in the heated pool. If you’d like to indulge, head to the spa.
The only hotel on the lake itself, the Lake Placid Lodge, is balanced on the edge of the village and forest, bringing the opportunity to enjoy the trees around the water that burst with flaming reds, oranges, and soft yellows during the autumn months. Accommodations at this lavish lakefront retreat include rooms with stone fireplaces, featherbeds, and lots of one-of-a-kind pieces created by local artisans, along with views of the lake or the woods. Some offer balconies as well. A stay here includes a long list of activities on the property, including mountain biking with complimentary bicycles available for guest use. Artisans, the onsite restaurant, is a popular draw on its own, serving organic, farm-to-table fare made from locally produced ingredients.
The Chena Hot Springs Resort is located some 60 miles east of Fairbanks, accessible by a road that’s been called Alaska’s most spectacular drive. From late August through the middle of September, the surrounding mountains are covered in a magnificent blanket of reds from the falling leaves of bearberry plants, while the birch and aspen trees turn shades of yellow, gold, and orange. This is a fantastic time to visit, as the greatest light show on earth, the aurora borealis, fills the skies with stunning luminescent lights from about late August and can be viewed right from the natural hot springs that the resort was built around. The spacious lodge rooms and cabins are cozy and authentic, and the resort also features campsites as well as yurts.
Located in the heart of the Berkshires, this historic property was built in 1890 as a gentleman’s farm and opened to guests in 2011. Modernly adorned with world-class luxury, the upscale suites at Stonover Farm are adjacent to a duck pond with 10 surrounding open acres. Select suites offer gas fireplaces or Jacuzzi tubs, with the three-room Suite One also including a sitting room with a comfy armchair and ottoman that offers views of the opposite field and forest. Stockbridge Bowl and the endless beauty of the Berkshires are right out your window. As the bucolic roads around Lenox are perfect for pedaling, you may want to rent a bike to ride through the stunning autumn scenery.
As a turn-of-the-century B&B in the historic Montford District, Applewood Manor sits across 1.5 acres filled with maples, pines, and giant oaks. You’ll be just a 10-minute drive from the Blue Ridge Parkway, legendary as one of the most spectacular fall drives, though you may want to kick back with a good book in a rocking chair on one of the porches. There are multiple rooms to choose from, with the York Imperial arguably the best. It contains a gas log fireplace, a sleigh bed, and a private balcony with Adirondack furniture for taking in the magnificent foliage display. If you’re up for an adventure and more leaf-peeping, consider hiking a portion of the Mountains to Sea Trail along the Blue Ridge Parkway.
The 80-mile Columbia Gorge was the nation’s first declared National Scenic Area, cutting into the Cascade Mountains to form a natural border between Washington and Oregon. Beautiful all year round, it’s especially magnificent in autumn, when the Oregon ash, firs, big-leaf maples, and cottonwoods begin to display their colors. The Columbia Gorge Hotel – “a grande dame of gorge hotels” – makes an ideal place for experiencing the golden and bronze hues and the famous waterfalls the area is best known. The property overlooks the Gorge, a 208-foot-high waterfall, and beautifully landscaped formal gardens. Guests can also enjoy massage and body treatments in the tranquil spa and rooms with elegant touches like canopy beds. Fall brings more good reasons to visit – rates drop after summer ends. And this is also harvest season, the perfect time for wine enthusiasts to explore local vineyards.
The Point is an ultra-exclusive property that evokes the spirit of great Adirondack camps as a secluded property set upon a forested peninsula on Upper Saranac Lake. The Adirondack Mountains are the largest natural wilderness region in the Eastern United States. It has an exceptionally tranquil escape in its spectacular array of brilliant orange, fiery red, and golden yellow hues of fall foliage, including oak, maple, birch, and beech trees. Spend the day out among them and return to this lavish retreat, where guest rooms blend rustic furniture with luxurious antiques and rich fabrics. Each features a stone fireplace and lake views, while some include private decks or patios and pine-lined cathedral ceilings. The capacious Boathouse overlooks the lake and is a favorite with romance seekers. Enjoy continental breakfast in your room or tableside overlooking the lake.
This 3,000-acre resort sits atop a foothill in the North Cascades mountain range, an ideal spot for admiring brilliant autumn colors. By booking one of the Sun Mountain Lodge’s Mountain View guest rooms, you’ll enjoy uninterrupted views of the Cascades and all their glory without TVs spoiling the serenity. Rooms also feature balconies and gas fireplaces. Get up close to the breathtaking scenery by taking the four-mile hike to Patterson Mountain, part of an extensive network of trails around the lodge, dazzling in the fall with colonies of aspen simultaneously lit up with yellow leaves. Great fly-fishing on the Methow River for rainbow trout, cutthroat trout, and steelhead is available too.
Located in Green Mountain State Forest, Equinox Resort & Spa embodies the luxury of a multimillion-dollar resort while staying true to the nature-inspired character of Vermont. The Green Mountains are renowned for being a mecca for serious leaf peepers in the Eastern U.S. You can see the spectacular hues of the blazing red and orange maple trees, violet-red pin cherry, and yellow alder while driving the highways or hiking the trails. Once a popular hunting hub for British loyalists built in 1769, this property offers the chance to enjoy many activities, including falconry, shooting, archery, golf, and mountain biking lessons. You’ll find many high-end amenities, like terry cloth robes, down pillows, luxury linen, and the chance to enjoy fine dining at the resort’s multiple restaurants.
This stately, Federal-style resort was built in 1909, making an especially grand first impression with its lengthy walkway and 30-foot pillars. The same studied grace runs throughout the interior of the Otesaga Resort Hotel, from the neoclassical entryway to rooms like No. 245, exceptionally expansive with high ceilings, impeccable views, florals, and chandeliers. Wide verandas face Lake Otsego, known as the Glimmerglass. In the luxurious dining room, huge windows overlook the well-manicured grounds. Of course, in the fall, you’ll also enjoy beautiful colors. By renting a canoe from the resort, you can check out the foliage from a magnificent perspective atop the water.
Door County, one of the Midwest’s best fall foliage destinations, is a 75-mile-long peninsula that juts out into Lake Michigan amid a wooded shoreline, lighthouses, and gently rolling farmland. If you visit The White Gull Inn in the fall, you’ll see bursts of scarlet, gold, russet, and vermilion lining highways and forming canopies over country lanes. About three-quarters of the way up the peninsula, The White Gull, an 1896 clapboard inn, offers a tranquil place to enjoy it all. Choose Henriette’s Cottage, and you’ll enjoy a welcoming fireplace in the living area, a private screened porch, a separate bedroom with antiques, and a four-poster bed.
Another fabulous spot for enjoying the reds and golds of the Green Mountain State is the Rabbit Hill Inn in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom, one of the first places the leaves begin to turn. This 18th-century structure with a 19th-century addition is an ideal base for exploring the region, while views of the hills of Vermont and the White Mountains of New Hampshire can be enjoyed right from the front porch. The ten surrounding acres of wooded trails provide another way to take in the gorgeous foliage. By booking the Music room, you’ll enjoy the ultimate in classic luxuries, with a four-poster bed topped by a hand-woven canopy and a gas fireplace.