The top resorts with the best fall foliage allow you to experience the outside in the lap of luxury.
Now, I’m all for glamping, but nothing beats unwinding on a rocking chair on a private balcony with a hot toddy after a dip in the heated pool. Or waking in a suite with room service after a day of stepping out on a guided fishing or horseback riding expedition.
So, forget summer, and say goodbye to the beach. Give me a resort with mesmerizing fall foliage. I want the scent of decaying leaves and hot apple cider on the edge of a crisp, humidity free breeze. With a spa treatment.
There are hundreds of great resorts near the leaf show. But if you want to make sure you have an epic autumn, here are a few super swanky resorts in some of the best resorts and spas for fall foliage that can help get you there.
1. Omni Mount Washington—White Mountains, New Hampshire
Peak Fall Foliage: End of September to the end of October
There’s nothing for miles, and then you spot this oasis off in the distance. A 122-year-old, New England tradition and front-row seat to the stunning Presidential Range of the White Mountains. It’s a stunning, well-maintained ode to the hotels of the early 20th century, with modern amenities like Wi-Fi and a fine dining restaurant.
Stay in the hotel’s Presidential Wing, expanded and modernized in 2020, for luxurious plaid-lined rooms with private balconies overlooking the mountains. And even though it’s older than the Internet (and television), it has enough to keep you off the Wi-Fi for hours.
What makes this one of the best resorts for fall foliage? For thrill-seekers, there’s a canopy tour that takes you zipping through nine lines, with one stretching a whopping 1000 ft (304.8 m) and hovering 165 ft (50.29 m) above the ground. Horse lovers? Choose from scenic trail rides, fun pony rides, or romantic carriage tours. And don’t miss the spa and 2 heated pools, one outside.
Counting steps? Lace up and hit one of the incredible trails nearby. I couldn’t recommend the Franconia Trail Loop more – it was the closest I’ve ever felt to Colorado so close to the ocean. But, you could just as easily get in the car and drive. There isn’t a bad seat for miles.
Learn more about the Omni Mount Washington.
Grand Bohemian, Asheville—Blue Ridge Mountains, North Carolina
Peak Fall Foliage: Mid-late October
Asheville is great anytime of year. However, those that do arrive in fall, preferably by car along the Blue Ridge Parkway (itself a Fall foliage destination), are truly the lucky ones. Especially if they plan on getting a little lost in colors and quaint historical villages.
Set in Biltmore Village, a late 19th century collection of English Cottages and Tudor Revival homes built, this place adds a layer of time to your fall foliage experience. The hotel brings the art, great food (the Red Stag Grill is a must), and a spa.
Plus a location that puts you right at the footstep of the Blue Ridge Mountains, with the tallest peak east of the Rockies. Mount Mitchel stretches out 6,600 feet (2.01 km) above a sea of dogwoods, oaks, maples, and hickory with every autumnal color you could imagine.
You’re also near the famed Biltmore Gardens, which offers an 8,000-acre garden-side of view of it. Rooms are spacious (the shower is divine) and it’s easy to walk out the front door and forget you’re still in your slippers. But once you do put your shoes back on, ask them about local zip lining or hiking trails. Some of the best leaf peeping is at Linville Falls, just a mile to hike. For more of a challenge, hike the Roan Mountain trail. It features 360-degree panoramas.
Learn more about the Grand Bohemian, Asheville.
Lake Placid Lodge, Lake Placid—Adirondack Mountains, New York
Peak Fall Foliage: End of September to Mid-October
Lake Placid is not easy to get to from New York City, which is part of its charm. And you realize it about 30 minutes before arriving as the cars thing out on the two-lane highway leading up to the town, at the foot of New York’s Adirondack Mountains.
Lake Placid, the town itself is a cultural gem, offering a blend of art galleries, shops, events and kitschy museums to the 1932 and 1980 Winter Games, held in Lake Placid. And it’s surrounded by rolling mountains blanketed in changing leaves.
And this area has quite a few top-notch resorts, like the Mirror Lake Inn. But if you want to stay on actual Lake Placid, the Adirondack-inspired Lake Placid Lodge is the only hotel. Literally, the 30 rooms here are the only that exist on Lake Placid. In addition to the unbeatable setting, it’s small enough to feel more like a boutique hotel than a huge resort. You can roll out of bed to guided boating, hiking, fishing, rock climbing, and even mountain biking.
Some of the best leafy scenes are on the Heaven Hill Old Orchard Loop, about a mile and a half of trails with gorgeous golden maples and hickories. Add elevation and hit Hurricane Mountains with resplendent views of the Dix Range.
At the end of the day, don’t miss the free 35-minute pontoon ride on the lake to view old Gilded Age mansions amidst the golden scenery. And if you do miss it and don’t mind paying, you can hire it for a private ride.
Learn more about the Lake Placid Lodge.
The Little Nell, Aspen—Rocky Mountains, Colorado
Peak Fall Foliage: Late September and early October
Ski season gets all the love in Colorado, but in my opinion, Fall is what it’s all about here. Aspen becomes a living canvas in autumn, its aspen trees bursting into a vibrant array of golds and reds.
Aspen is full of luxurious resorts, however none of them touch The Little Nell location, right at the base of Aspen’s Ajax Mountain. The Little Nell meets the setting with its own version of alpine luxury. This resort offers ski-in/ski-out access, which means you can walk right into the view of the Rockies from the back door.
Suites come with mountain vistas and all rooms feature cozy fireplaces. There’s a heated, outdoor pool, a spa, and a fitness center. At night, head to the Living Room, a speakeasy where a fireplace and live music set the mood.
For the more adventurous, hiking trails like nearby Maroon Bells and Cathedral Lake offer get you up close, while the Rio Grande Trail right through town, provides a stunning backdrop for cyclists.
Learn more about The Little Nell.
Teton Mountain Lodge and Spa—Teton National Park, Wyoming
I’ve been to Yellowstone and the Tetons in every season, and in my opinion, there’s no better time to visit than fall. Sure, it’s too early for the wolves, but the elusive Elk are most active, the bears are making their last meals before hibernation, and the bison are everywhere.
The backdrop to every photo? Those telltale abrupt peaks poking out from a carpet of flaxen cottonwoods, aspens, and oaks.
At the heart of this autumnal wonderland—Jackson Lake Lodge. An eco-conscious retreat with rooms ranging from cottages to suites with balconies. And if the views don’t relax you, the heated outdoor pool surely will.
Take a guided hike or opt for horseback riding and scenic boat tours. The lodge even offers an interpretive exhibit featuring Native American artifacts, adding meaning to the land.
Dining at the lodge is an experience in itself. The Mural Room offers fine dining with a side of stunning Teton vistas, while the Pioneer Grill serves up casual meals crafted from locally sourced ingredients.
Learn more about the Teton Mountain Lodge and Spa
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