Fall paints leafy landscapes with rich red, gold and orange shades that are so picture-perfect, you will want to pack your bags and hit the road to see them in person. Of course, many of these destinations are parks and mountains. But numerous hotels have expansive grounds with vibrant fall foliage that remind us why this is not just the season for spice pumpkin lattes.
If you are in search of an autumn getaway, we found places from Boston to Yosemite that showcase autumn colors. Here are some of the best luxury hotels for fall foliage.
Cliff House Maine, Cape Neddick
Perched atop Bald Head Cliff, this 70-acre refuge offers a glimpse of both New England’s brilliant foliage and Southern Maine’s rocky coastline. Soak up the vistas from your glass terrace, preferably after being sated with fresh lobster. When the skies darken, shift your gaze above and join the complimentary Thursday stargazing sessions at Cliff House with astronomer Edward Gleason from the University of Southern Maine.
The Inn on Biltmore Estate, Asheville, North Carolina
The sweeping 8,000-acre Biltmore Estate is a vision in the fall. Wander through the Frederick Law Olmsted-designed gardens to spot unusual trees like the golden rain (which sports shades of yellow and chartreuse) and the katsura (with a sweet scent akin to cotton candy) as well as hundreds of mums in autumnal tones. Then, sink into an Adirondack chair on the hilltop inn’s terrace for more panoramas.
Twin Farms, Barnard, Vermont
Escape to this secluded retreat among the tree-covered Vermont mountains to see the season’s splendor. Spanning 300 acres, the adults-only playground lets you hike or bike through six trails; canoe, kayak or paddleboard in Copper Pond; or try archery and ax throwing. Break for a meal at the newly converted Lift Shack, which accommodates four and provides some of the most impressive views of the grounds.
The Point, Saranac Lake, New York
Meander through the forests of sugar maples, white birches and white pines at this Upstate New York haven to see the glorious fall foliage. Then experience more of the great outdoors by riding an electric bike through the property to Fish Creek State Park for a four-mile lakeside jaunt. Or try geocaching, a popular Point activity that’s essentially a high-tech nature scavenger hunt using Garmin GPS devices.
Blantyre, Lenox, Massachusetts
Teeming with tall peaks and stunning river valleys, the Berkshires is one of the state’s best places to go leaf peeping. This gilded age mansion’s immaculate woodlands-filled 110 acres make for scenic strolls but hop in one of the BMW house cars to take a fall foliage drive. You will receive maps of picturesque and colorful routes, a picnic basket prepared by Blantyre’s Café Boulud and suggestions for picnic locations.
Mayflower Inn & Spa, Auberge Resorts Collection, Washington, Connecticut
This modern English country house unveiled a new look for its centennial in 2020, but you will want to come for the bucolic setting. The 35-room inn is surrounded by 58 acres of manicured gardens, leafy woodlands, rolling hills, streams and ponds. Huddle in the warmth of the flames of the nightly bonfire with comfort food such as grilled three-cheese sandwiches and English-style s’mores.
Whiteface Lodge, Lake Placid, New York
Composed of more than 6 million acres, the Adirondacks have one of the longest and best fall foliage seasons in the country. Get a front-row seat at this rustic mountain getaway with timber architecture and touches like antler chandeliers and nature-inspired artwork. When you aren’t gazing at the leaves, take a dip in the indoor-outdoor heated pool, visit the catch-and-release pond or hike the nearby High Falls Gorge, Whiteface Landing, Catamount Mountain or Whiteface Mountain.
In the autumn, vivid yellow and orange hues blanket the Tetons. Witness the colorful spectacle from this alpine lodge, where most rooms have mountain vistas and balconies. The hotel can arrange a wildlife tour and nature walk for foliage sightseeing in Grand Teton National Park (you’ll hear the echoes of bull elk during a rut) or you can go with a nature photographer who will guide you on a wildlife tour of Jackson Hole and the park.
While tourists flock to Lake Tahoe in the winter and summer, locals head there in the fall when it’s less crowded and is bursting with fall foliage. Use the hotel as your base for exploring — embark on a 2.3-mile hike or bike trek to Sawmill Lake, take in the scenery on a horse ride, watch the kokanee salmon swim upstream at Taylor Creek or hit the lake for kayaking or paddleboarding.
White Barn Inn, Auberge Resorts Collection, Kennebunkport, Maine
The charming hideaway celebrates the season with a Fall Festival October 7 to 11 with autumn-themed cocktail and pie-decorating classes, Oktoberfest meals and a 500-pound pumpkin window display at The White Barn Inn Restaurant. If you prefer to focus on leaf peeping, do it from above — a 55-mile helicopter tour of the Maine coastline affords a bird’s-eye view of the colorful treetops, vast forests and sandy beaches.
Sitting next to the Public Garden, this new hotel offers a prime perch to see America’s first public botanical garden decked out in the season’s colors. Conjure the fall vibe by staying in one of The Newbury’s cozy fireplace suites, many of which overlook the famed green space. Select a wood, such as New England maple or fragrant cherry, and your fireplace butler will get it crackling in no time.
Sundance Mountain Resort, Sundance, Utah
Sprawled across 5,000 acres of wilderness at the foot of hulking Mount Timpanogos — one of Utah’s most popular mountain hiking spots — Sundance begs for exploration. Roam the grounds to see aspens, oaks, maples, cottonwoods, Douglas firs and white firs transforming for the season. Or observe the landscape while partaking in an outdoor adventure, like zip tours, mountain biking, fly fishing or horseback riding.
Wedged at the base of Aspen Mountain, The St. Regis Aspen Resort is surrounded by Rocky Mountain views and Colorado’s changing foliage. Hike through Aspen’s best trails or tackle Maroon Lake and the Maroon Bells’ 14,000-foot summits — one of North America’s most-photographed destinations — covered in golden aspen leaves. Afterward, warm up with cocktails and bites at Dante, the iconic NYC-based bar that’s taking over Chefs Club for a yearlong residency (it reopens in late November).
The Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch, Avon, Colorado
Tucked among the pines, this mid-mountain getaway puts autumn’s striking vibrancy at your doorstep. Immerse yourself in the natural beauty by biking down Vail Mountain, hiking some of Colorado’s top mountains or drifting above the Rockies in a hot air balloon. Or simply head to the hotel’s Daniel’s Grill/Fireside Bar or the WYLD Terrace for alfresco drinks, crisp air and more alluring views.
Castle Hill Inn, Newport, Rhode Island
Occupying its own verdant 40-acre peninsula, the historic mansion boasts panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean and Narragansett Bay. It’s a romantic destination dotted with roaring fireplaces, cozy rooms and trails to the beach and lighthouse. One of its key features is its rolling seaside lawn. Take a lobster roll out to the green space and admire the fall scenery.
Central Park is an autumn oasis with about 18,000 trees, including American elms, black cherries, red maples and ginkgos. Glimpse the park’s bright shades of yellow, orange and red from the Midtown Manhattan hotel’s Atrium Suite. The 1,200-square-foot suite’s living room sits inside a glass-domed atrium, which allows for city views as well. When you want to see the park up close, it’s only a few blocks away.
Château du Sureau, Oakhurst, California
Brimming with Old World charm, the intimate escape has 10 suites and a two-bedroom villa on its nine lush acres. Explore the boutique hotel’s nature park, complete with wooden swings, a gazebo and a pond. It’s only 20 minutes from Yosemite and offers an excursion to the national park that includes two nights at the property, daily breakfast and a picnic lunch to take along on your autumn outing.