Six Spectacular Stays to Enjoy Gorgeous Fall Colors
With the days getting shorter and temperatures getting cooler, Mother Nature’s most magnificent fashion show is just around the corner. Whether a devoted leaf peeper or simply an amateur color chaser, witnessing the annual transformation of leafy green foliage into vibrant shades of gold, crimson and bronze is one of the highlights of the season. Add to that the extra time spent closer to home this year, and a quick escape to enjoy some fresh air and a much needed change of scenery could be exactly what’s needed. In fact, according to our recent research, when asked about their future travel plans, over a quarter (26%) of Americans surveyed said they were planning to take a trip to do some sightseeing in nature*.
So with that in mind and for those that want to get away from it all to revel in the glorious changing of the leaves this year - whenever it’s safe to do so - we have scoured our 29 million listings, including all kinds of cozy cabins in the woods and stunning lakeside vacation homes, to surface some sincerely stunning options in the some of the destinations most endorsed for ‘autumn leaves’ by our travelers from the United States. And with more than 13,000 rental car pick-up locations throughout the country, we make it easy for everyone to find the right rental vehicle for them, even if just looking for a weekend upgrade on their everyday ride. Whether travelers want to zoom through scenic country lanes, feel the leaves crunch beneath their feet on a hillside hike or simply snuggle up on the couch to enjoy the multicolored mountain views, these stays are sure to inspire a serious case of fall color fever.
Pigeon Forge, Tennessee
Less than an hour drive southeast of Knoxville and home to the eponymous themepark of one of country music’s most beloved divas, Pigeon Forge attracts visitors year-round with its mix of entertainment and scenic surroundings. Nestled in the heart of the Appalachian Mountains in eastern Tennessee and only a hop, skip and a jump from Great Smoky Mountains National Park, it makes for an ideal home base to take in the glorious changing of the leaves, whether by foot or by car. Offering stunning mountain views from most of its rooms and a hearty country breakfast each morning, the Blue Mountain Mist Country Inn makes for a picturesque home away from home for any visit to the region. Imagine enjoying your morning coffee on the veranda or taking an afternoon nap in a hammock, savoring the stunning views of the rolling hills in the distance, fringed in fiery hues of red and orange.
North Conway, New Hampshire
They are super serious about fall foliage in New England and New Hampshire is no exception. Located in the heart of the White Mountain National Forest in the north central portion of the state, North Conway is ideally situated for some prime leaf peeping, whether exploring some of the excellent hiking trails around Mt. Washington, which provide incredible vistas of the surrounding landscape, or on one of the iconic vintage train tours that depart from the village’s historic train station. Less than a 30-minute scenic drive to the north and surrounded by forested peaks, The Glen House is an idyllic escape, perfect for taking in the area’s autumnal sights in all their panoramic glory, whether it’s from one of the property’s spacious patios, the comfort of your room or the epic heated indoor pool.
Cherokee and Maggie Valley, North Carolina
Only around an hour drive west of Asheville, the forests around Cherokee and Maggie Valley in the southern foothills of North Carolina’s Smoky Mountains provide a magical backdrop to experience some of the country’s most-stunning displays of fall color. With a multitude of paths and trails to explore all within a short drive, it’s truly an outdoor-lover’s wonderland. Located in the small town of Balsam, in the heart of this rural paradise, a stay at the Grand Old Lady is like stepping back in time, combining the best of traditional southern hospitality with all the modern comforts. Imagine a soothing soak in an antique clawfoot tub after a full day of hiking or snuggling up with a homemade quilt in front of a roaring fire in the parlor. Guests can even begin their day in a rocking chair on the porch, savoring the impressive views of the rolling hills, all decked out in spectacular shades of red and yellow as the sun rises.
Located at the base of Lake Superior where Minnesota and Wisconsin meet and around two and half hours north of the Twin Cities by car, Duluth is a gateway to discovering northern Minnesota’s stunning Cloquet Valley State Forest and the unique glacial landscapes of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. A vast region of tiny lakes, waterfalls and ancient forests, it’s no surprise that this area has been highly endorsed by Booking.com travelers for experiencing autumn leaves at their best. Located along the western banks of Lake Superior, about an hour north of Duluth, the Cove Point Lodge is surrounded by the forest of Split Rock Lighthouse State Park and ideal for those looking for some remote R&R. After a day of paddling on the water or simply snapping pics along the historic Merrill Logging Trail - rumored to be the best hike in the area to catch the trees in all their autumnal splendor - guests can relax in front of the fireplace in their room with a steaming cup of apple cider.
Estes Park, Colorado
A little over an hour’s drive northwest of Denver, Estes Park is located right near the entrance to Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park and an ideal fall getaway to see the aspen trees in shimmering shades of gold. Whether you want to drive through the imposing peaks, hike along one of many trails or opt to take the tramway to the top of Prospect Mountain, the vistas this time of year are simply breathtaking. Nestled along the banks of Fall River in the shadow of Castle Mountain, every room at the Boulder Brook escape offers patios and balconies with both river and mountain views. Combining rustic charm with majestic natural beauty, guests can live their frontier fantasies to the fullest, complete with wild elk wandering the grounds.
Lake Placid, New York
In the heart of the Adirondack Mountains in northeastern upstate New York, Lake Placid is located on the shores of tranquil and picturesque Mirror Lake. Famous for its winter sports legacy, the village and surrounding area, which is consequently part of the largest publicly protected area in the contiguous United States, is perhaps even more bewitching in autumn, with millions of acres of wilderness and lakes to explore. Situated in the foothills just outside of the village, The Whiteface Lodge exemplifies luxurious log cabin chic at every turn, with cozy communal fire pits, an on-site spa and spacious private balconies, perfect for enjoying a glass of wine at sunset, with the sky and mountains competing for the most impressive display of color.
With a mission to make it easier for everyone to experience the world when it's safe to do so again, Booking.com is sharing travel offers for travelers looking to enjoy gorgeous autumn leaves this fall. Whether planning ahead or booking last-minute, local options around the corner or further afield, discounts start at 15 percent.
*Research commissioned by Booking.com and independently conducted among a sample of adults who have taken a trip in the last 12 months. In total 4,045 respondents were polled including 638 from Germany, 642 from France, 733 from Great Britain, 750 from Italy, 750 from the US and 532 from Japan. Respondents completed an online survey between 29 July - 5 August 2020.