Colossal Fall Color

AAA inspectors pick their Top 10 places to enjoy autumn’s foliage show.

From September to October each year, trees across many areas of the U.S. and Canada put on a brilliant show of color, from dazzling reds to brilliant oranges and vibrant yellows. To help travelers plan where to stay, AAA polled its professional inspectors for ideas on notable hotels that enhance the experience. Read the highlights of their 10 top picks across the continent, coast to coast, beginning in the West.

O’Bannon Woods State Park

Above: Morning fog rolls over the colorful hills in O’Bannon Woods State Park in southern Indiana’s Crawford County.

Below: The Leavenworth Inn sits above the Ohio River, allowing great views of fall foliage from its front porch. Crawford County CVB photos

Leavenworth Inn

Sunriver Resort, Sunriver, Ore.
AAA Four Diamond Resort Hotel
Early October is an excellent time to visit as the nights are cold and crisp but you awake most mornings to brilliant sunshine and days that can still get into the 70s. Go for an early morning bike ride on the miles of paved paths. Keep your eyes peeled for the deer that are silently eating and watch as their exhaled breath makes a cold misty cloud that disappears almost instantly. To see Sunriver’s best fall colors up close, go for a canoe ride on the Deschutes River where the groves of golden-leaved aspen wave from the shores.

Penticton Lakeside Resort, Penticon, B.C.
AAA/CAA Three Diamond Casino Hotel
The highlight of the rooms are spacious balconies, each with comfortable chairs and a small table, made for stepping outside to enjoy the view. The property is located on the shoreline of huge Okanagan Lake. To one side, where local wineries dot the hills, see row upon row of neatly manicured grapevines changing color. In the other direction, enjoy the contrasting view of wild, untamed rocky hillsides featuring stubby trees, dry grasses and steep cliffs. Walk along the paved path that follows the lakeshore, or head straight out the front doors to the downtown area for shopping and wine tasting.

Gunflint Lodge, Grand Marais, Minn.
AAA Three Diamond Vacation Rental House
Fall in the North Woods provides a full palate of foliage colors from a blend of maple, birch, aspen and evergreen trees, among others. Immerse yourself in the colors by hiking one of the numerous trails at the lodge or nearby. The property’s fall color tour package includes naturalist escorted hikes. You can also view the foliage by horseback on a trail ride from the lodge’s own stables or by canoe. All of the cabins have fireplaces to take away the chill in the air, and several have private outdoor hot tubs.

The Leavenworth Inn, Leavenworth, Ind.
AAA Three Diamond Historic B&B
This charming converted 1890s farmhouse offers views of the Ohio River and rolling river valley. Take in the picture-perfect view of fall foliage while rocking away your cares on the front porch. The smell of fresh-baked cookies entices guests to venture inside where you’ll find a variety of rooms, all with scenic views. This off-the-beaten-path bed & breakfast offers a peaceful getaway in southern Indiana.

Hôtel Quintessence, Mont-Tremblant, Quebec
AAA/CAA Four Diamond Boutique Hotel
The entire ski area offers stunning scenery during the peak fall foliage weeks (usually from mid- to late-September through the first week in October, depending on the temperature). On some nights the hotel lights a lakeside fire so guests can roast marshmallows or just sit around and enjoy the setting. A variety of trees, including maple and birch, provide a steady flush of color. In the center of the quaint resort village, an exterior cable lift takes visitors on a scenic trip to the top of the village in an open-air gondola.

Kineo View Motor Lodge, Greenville, Maine
AAA Two Diamond Motel
This family-run two-story motel, which offers exterior entrances and continental breakfast, is for the more budget-minded traveler. Located in a secluded area on vast acreage, guests will enjoy the spectacular hillside and distant lake view. Each room has a private deck, with the top floor units offering not only a greater view but a quieter room as well.

Mountain View Resort & Spa, Whitefield, N.H.
AAA Four Diamond Classic Historic Hotel
This historical resort sits on a hill in the center of the White Mountains, providing panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and foliage. The expanded verandah is a very popular spot to relax and take in the amazing view. One of the main attractions is the spa that features a private tower with an infinity soaking tub offering 360-degree views of the mountains. This is a huge WOW factor that would be amazing during the fall.


Above: Mont-Tremblant ski area is resplendant in fall colors. © D.K. Cooper/ photo

Below: Hotel Quintessence offers views of Lake Tremblant. Thirty luxury suites, a restaurant, wine bar and spa are offered to guests. Hotel Quintessence photo

Hotel Quintessence

Antietam Overlook Farm and B&B, Keedysville, Md.
AAA Three Diamond Bed & Breakfast
Views from the property, set on a mountain ridge overlooking 95 acres, seem to go on forever. See the rolling hills of four states: Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania and West Virginia, and the historic Antietam Battlefield in the valley below. Each of the five rooms are individually decorated with a country air. Some rooms have a screened-in balcony or porch or a large soaking tub, and all have gas fireplaces. Feeders scattered around the around the grounds attract a wide variety of birds.

The Homestead, Hot Springs, Va.
AAA Four Diamond Resort Hotel
Nestled in the mountains, The Homestead offers views of fall foliage in all directions. Enjoy the scenery while relaxing in a rocking chair on the veranda or while partaking in one of the resort’s many recreational opportunities. Breathtaking beauty is the only way to describe what you’ll experience. Additional pluses include the incredible history of the property, which dates back to 1766 and has hosted many presidents, and the outstanding fall backdrop along the wonderful country mountain drive from Bath County.

The Red Horse Inn, Landrum, S.C.
AAA Four Diamond Bed & Breakfast
Location and quality of accommodations are the rule here, not to mention the top-notch innkeepers. In the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the 100-plus-acre mountaintop property offers breathtaking views of the natural surroundings, rock formations and foliage of Sumter National Forest. Miles of paths surrounding the property provide ample opportunities for leisurely strolls or vigorous exercise.

Sep/Oct 2011 Issue


Read the complete list of inspector picks on AAA’s travel blog at

Find detailed listings for AAA Approved and Diamond Rated hotels in the AAA TourBook® guides, online at and from smartphones using the free AAA TripTik® Mobile app or AAA Mobile Web.

In addition, AAA members can download free digital eTourBookSM guides at

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