Full of magnificent colors, comforting scents and cozy sweaters, autumn can be refreshing after a long, hot summer. It can also be a great time to travel, with fewer crowds and shorter lines than the summer months, but still providing stunning vistas and so much to do.
Using the Passion Search platform, which helps travelers search and discover the most amazing destinations based on their passions, Booking.com has compiled travelers’ favorite U.S. destinations for enjoying breathtaking fall foliage this season.
Great Smoky Mountains – Tennessee: Leaf-peeping in the Great Smoky Mountains is a unique and awe-inspiring spectacle every autumn. The Smokies boast more than 100 species of native trees, presenting a wide range of colors and leaf-change timelines, which ensures the region’s kaleidoscope of colors is especially striking for even longer than in many other areas of the nation. Where to stay: Blue Mountain Mist Country Inn & Spa in Pigeon Forge, TN
Aspen, Colorado: Each fall, as crisp air arrives in Aspen, its namesake trees transform from a lush green to vibrant reds, oranges, and golds. Visitors descend on the area every autumn to bask in the golden glow of what are seemingly endless groves of exquisite aspen trees, making this one of the most uniquely stunning leaf-peeping destinations in the country. Where to stay: Limelight Hotel in Aspen, CO
Lake Superior – Minnesota: Come autumn, Lake Superior’s North Woods region ignites into a must-see fiery backdrop of orange, yellow and red hues set alongside the majesty of the world’s largest lake. A visit to the area would not be complete without peeping the leaves in and around Split Rock Lighthouse State Park, which is renowned for its namesake lighthouse that sits atop a rocky cliff more than 125-feet above the shore. Where to stay: Grand Superior Lodge in Two Harbors, MN
Geneva Lake – Wisconsin: With a storied history as a choice retreat destination for many of Chicago’s elite in the 19th century, Geneva Lake’s shores remain home to some of the most stunning homes and estates in the country. Many of these properties were designed by renowned landscape architects of the day who were tasked with ensuring the region’s beautiful autumn foliage palette sprung to life as vividly as possible. Where to stay: Grand Geneva Resort & Spa in Lake Geneva, WI
The Berkshires – Massachusetts: Western Massachusetts’ Berkshires region is a quintessential autumn escape for those in search of a superb foliage display set amongst charming New England towns bursting with antique shops and art galleries—and all within a few hours drive from many of the Northeast’s metro hubs. Where to stay: Orchards Hotel in Williamstown, MA
June Lake, California: That’s right, autumn occurs in California, too! And June Lake, nestled in the state’s eastern Sierra Nevada region, is a hidden treasure for lovers of impressive fall foliage landscapes and myriad outdoor activities—or for those simply looking to relax and take in the autumn beauty. Where to stay: Double Eagle Resort & Spa in June Lake, CA
The Green Mountains – Vermont: Vermont’s Green Mountains run from the Quebec border south to Massachusetts—nearly 250 miles—and throughout this magnificent and lush range visitors may enjoy the painted landscape from the Long Trail, America’s oldest long-distance hiking trail, which offers more gorgeous vistas than you can shake a stick at. Where to stay: Edson Hill in Stowe, VT
The Poconos – Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains have long been a favorite autumn destination for good reason—stunning crimson and gold forested backdrops coupled with countless outdoor activities and seasonal events. The region’s proximity to Philadelphia and New York City is certainly a plus as well. Where to stay: Skytop Lodge in Skytop, PA
The Ozarks – Missouri: Autumn in the Ozarks is simply breathtaking. From Oklahoma and Kansas through Arkansas and Missouri, every fall the mountains are painted like a masterpiece canvas bursting with vibrant red maple, orange sassafras and purple sweetgum trees. Where to stay: The Lodge at Old Kinderhook in Camdenton, MO
Hudson River Valley – New York: New York’s Hudson River stretches over 300 miles from the Adirondack Mountains south to New York City. Some of the Northeast’s most beautiful vistas can be found along its shorelines, but perhaps none more spectacular than those in the Hudson River Valley during autumn, when the highlands are flush with incredibly rich colored foliage. Where to stay: Blue Pearl Woodstock in Woodstock, NY
Whitefish, Montana: It’s no secret why Montana’s northwest region is heralded for its grand beauty. However, leaf-peepers may be surprised by the area’s glorious autumn foliage display, which is highlighted by brilliant golden needles of the tamarack trees throughout the forests. Where to stay: Lodge at Whitefish Lake in Whitefish, MT
The White Mountains – New Hampshire: Stretched throughout northern New Hampshire and into western Maine, autumn in the White Mountains offers an incredible color show spread atop a rugged terrain that is truly a sight to behold for leaf-peepers far and wide. Where to stay: Bethel Inn Resort in Bethel, ME