America’s Best Hotels for Fall Colors

Chebeague Island is a short ferry ride from the hipster scene in Portland, ME, but it still moves to a 19th-century tempo. So you can take your time walking among the brilliant fall colors and, when the evening turns cool, cozy up to the fireplace of the Chebeague Island Inn.

That crispness in the air is a sure sign it’s time for the annual pageant of vivid reds, oranges, and yellows that inspires leaf-peepers to explore the towns and byways of New England, the Midwest, the mid-Atlantic, and the Northwest. But what makes a fall foliage pilgrimage truly memorable is where you choose to stay. We searched the country for properties that put you in the thick of things—and discovered that the best hotels for fall colors are as varied as the colors themselves.

You could wake up to a view of the Green Mountains and a breakfast with local maple syrup in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom. Or opt for Colorado, where a fall getaway means experiencing the golden splendor of Aspen trees from the minimalist aerie of a Bauhaus-inspired, largely glass-walled hotel.

Whatever their aesthetic, these are places where the breakfasts are homemade and the views are vibrant with fall colors. Of course, some rooms are better than others, so we’ve singled out which rooms savvy travelers will want to book. At North Carolina’s Applewood Manor, for instance, the York Imperial room stands out for its country charm (sleigh bed, gas log fireplace) and private balcony for enjoying the foliage that brightens up the misty Blue Ridge Mountains.

The Blue Ridge lends itself to exploring by car—the parkway was a WPA project built to blend in with the spectacular landscape—but these inns can also be convenient bases for hiking, antiquing, canoeing, even wine tastings at local vineyards, where it also happens to be harvest season.

So when exactly should you head out for a leaf-peeping trip? Anytime from mid-September to early November; generally, the further north you are, the sooner the leaves turn. State tourism boards and this handy interactive foliage map are your best resources for monitoring the local progression of color. But don’t delay. Wherever you’re headed, you can never book too early. Fall colors mark the year’s busiest time for many of these inns—and you’ve got a room to request.

America’s Best Hotels for Fall Colors:

Omni Hotels & Resorts

Omni Mount Washington Hotel, Bretton Woods, NH

This 1902 grande dame hotel in New Hampshire’s White Mountains has wide verandas, baronial public spaces, and views of Mount Washington—the highest peak in the Northeast—in all its blazing fall glory. History is served in the Main Dining Room, with its potted palms and Edwardian splendor, and in The Cave, a vaulted-ceiling Prohibition-era speakeasy. One welcome touch of modernity: the 25,000-square-foot spa complete with a glass-encased day pool. Doubles from $387 with full breakfast.

Room to Book: The Corner Vista rooms have seating areas with huge windows overlooking the White Mountains.

Get Outdoors: New Hampshire’s best hiking trails are minutes away, and there are zipline canopy tours through the maple trees at adjacent Bretton Woods Resort.


Omni Hotels & Resorts

The White Gull Inn, Fish Creek, WI

Door County is a 75-mile-long peninsula that juts out into Lake Michigan amid wooded shoreline, lighthouses, and gently rolling farmland. About three quarters of the way up the peninsula you’ll find The White Gull, a clapboard inn from 1896—not long after Fish Creek started attracting summer vacationers. Doubles from $176.


Omni Hotels & Resorts

Chebeague Island Inn, Chebeague Island, ME

This restored 1920s Greek Revival innoverlooking the ocean lies on one of Maine’s most beautiful islands in Casco Bay, a 25-minute water taxi ride from Portland and its bevy of hip restaurants. After a day of leaf peeping and lobster boat sightings, kick back on the porch or in front of the stone fireplace in the Great Room. Doubles from $360.


Omni Hotels & Resorts

Triple Creek Ranch, Darby, MT

Montana’s Triple Creek Ranch, a Relais & Châteaux mountain sanctuary, presents the American West at its most luxurious. At this ranch, walls are covered in a museum-quality collection of western art while the on-site restaurant showcases the talents of chef Jacob Leatherman, who recently cooked at New York’s James Beard House. The 24 cabins come with wood-burning fireplaces, hot tubs, and locally woven woolens. Doubles from $950, including all meals.

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