The rolling hills around Stowe light up in oranges and reds come fall. The town is quintessential New England, with covered bridges and a general store on Main Street. It’s also a hotbed of craft beer—which you can sample on a tour that visits four or five local breweries and includes a flight of beer at each. The Green Mountain Inn has been operating since 1833, but multiple renovations have kept the 103 rooms fresh and inviting. After a day enjoying the outdoors, come back to complimentary tea and cookies in the afternoon, and relax by the fire pit or the heated pool and hot tub in the evening.
Every fall, aspen trees turn the hillsides around Telluride a golden hue. There are plenty of hiking trails radiating out from this town full of fit adventurers; Deep Creek Trail is a seasonal favorite for its route through the stands of aspens. The Hotel Columbia is perfectly located, just a few blocks from Telluride’s main drag and across the street from the gondola, which you can ride up to various hiking trails (for free) until October 15th. Some of the rooms have decks with private hot tubs so you never have to stop admiring the views.
Asheville, North Carolina
One of the trickiest parts of planning a foliage-focused trip is getting the timing just right: It’s impossible to predict exactly when the trees in any given region will hit their peak of coloration. The Blue Ridge and Great Smoky Mountains around Asheville take the guesswork out of the equation, since you can easily access various microclimates and elevations. The town is also a foodie mecca, and the Windsor Boutique Hotel is stumbling distance from many of its finest restaurants. According to traveler Nancy B, the Windsor combines the “best of a luxury hotel with all the charm of a bed-and-breakfast.”
Lake Geneva, Wisconsin
Lake Geneva’s fall display isn’t as much a natural phenomenon as an artistic endeavor: Many of the 19th– and 20th-century Milwaukee and Chicago millionaires who built mansions on the lake carefully landscaped so as to maximize the fall colors. You can still admire their work if you walk along the 21-mile path that rings the lake, or board a cruise to see the foliage from the water. Make sure to book a lake-view room at the waterfront Geneva Inn, which has its own private pier and an award-winning restaurant.
June Lake, California
For those on the west coast, the eastern Sierra-Nevada Mountains are the place to go for fall foliage. Tops in the region is the June Lake Loop—which is not, as the name might imply, a circular route around the lake’s shore, but a C-shaped stretch of State Route 158 that runs past June Lake, Grant Lake, and other scenic spots. The Double Eagle Resort and Spa has rooms overlooking a pond (which is stocked for fishing), plus two-bedroom cabins with full kitchens and a three-bedroom house that sleeps 12. “If you’re looking for a spot that has the perfect blend of rustic living and casual luxury, this is it,” says traveler 2017ddc.
Better known for its summer and winter pursuits, the town of Whitefish (a gateway to the Flathead Valley and Glacier National Park) is surprisingly lovely in autumn, when some of the trees take on new hues while the evergreens earn their moniker. The town could easily be a set for a Hollywood Western: Wooden awnings stretch over raised boardwalks, eschewing the usual concrete sidewalks. Outdoor pursuits here range from hiking and mountain biking to fishing and kayaking; you can even arrange for a ride in a hot-air balloon. With their hearty breakfasts and complimentary happy-hour snacks and drinks, the innkeepers at the Good Medicine Lodge will make you feel at home in their A-frame mountain chalet.