Fall is often a favorite time of the year. The heat of summer fades to comfortable and cozy, perfect for cuddling. Depending on where you are, there can be spectacular color displays as Mother Nature sprays orange, red, and yellow on the leaves before they fall. A cup of tea, coffee, or whisky to warm you; leaf peeping, long walks, and a fireplace. All of this and more makes fall magical and bring out romance at its best.
Then too, it doesn’t hurt that fall in many locales is shoulder season, meaning your money will go further with discounts and lower rates than peak travel periods. What more do you need to inspire you to pack a bag?
If you need further convincing, here are a few fab spots for fall in the U.S.
1. New Orleans
Best For Music Lovers
This is one of my happy places. New Orleans in the fall is fantastic. The stifling summer heat is no more. When a spontaneous party breaks out on a street because the musicians doing their thing make it impossible for you to stand still, you don’t have to worry about the humidity — let go and just dance.
New Orleans is wildly romantic. The beauty of the Greek Revival, Edwardian, Creole, Queen Anne, Italianate, Spanish, French, and numerous other architectural styles stimulate the senses.
Creole cuisine and some of the best food on the planet further feed the good vibes. That New Orleans jazz gets all in your soul and puts you in the mood for love, especially when combined with classic cocktails like Sazerac, Ramos gin fizz, or a hurricane. A stop in Café du Monde for a beignet is a must, as is a romantic stroll through the Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden at NOMA. It’s on 11 acres in City Park adjacent to the museum. The garden is full of pines, magnolias, and live oaks surrounding two lagoons. It’s home to more than 90 sculptures and a world-class collection of over 60 modern and contemporary sculptures.
2. Jekyll Island, Georgia
Big Fun For Beach Babes
Talk about getting away from it all. This is a remote spot, a barrier island off Georgia’s southeastern coast. It’s a twofer — history and romance. The swooning starts with the live oak trees draped with Spanish moss.
You’ll love that there are no traffic signals on the island. The best way to get around is on more than 20 miles of bike paths.
Take your pick of five beaches. By far, the most dramatic is Driftwood Beach. I thought I was in a movie. The water is a gorgeous blue surrounded by live oaks, but it is the tons of ancient driftwood that is eerily beautiful and will remain in your head long after you’ve gone home. It’s so special that lovers wed there.
You’ll feel like royalty at the luxurious Jekyll Island Club Resort and being among the mansions that date back to the 1800s when the island was the summer place of choice for the Rockefellers, Vanderbilts, and other wealthy families. Relax in the spa, and when you’re ready for action, kayak the salt marshes.
3. Savannah, Georgia
A Mood Setter
How does a moonlit stroll in Forsythe Park or an evening carriage ride through the cobblestone alleyways sound? For sure, it’s the stuff of romance novels.
True romantics know that fine dining is a must. Complete with graceful décor, Cha Bella is a farm-to-table restaurant with the freshest ingredients. For contemporary Southern fare, diners will adore a.Lure. Wine and dine inside a 19th-century mansion at 700 Drayton Restaurant. Keep the romantic vibe going with rooftop cocktails at the Perry Lane Hotel’s Peregrin, a swanky rooftop bar overlooking Savannah’s Historic District where you can catch sunset views.
On slow days (or before busy ones), pamper yourselves at downtown spas like Heavenly Spa by Westin, Spa Bleu, or Magnolia Spa.
4. Yosemite National Park, California
Nature Meets Romance
You think of epic outdoor adventures when it comes to Yosemite. But with the vistas and secluded forests, it’s also romantic. Fall is perfect for a backcountry day hike. Many couples choose Cathedral Peak as the perfect spot to pop the question. Then there are waterfalls, which if you’re lucky, might still be vibrant in the fall.
There are several romantic dining options nearby, like these two that you’ll find in Mariposa: Fredrick’s of Savourys and CostaLivos La Cuchina Italia.
Pro tip: Just 16 miles from Yosemite is the AAA Five-Diamond Château du Sureau, a country house resort on nine acres tucked away among the green foothills of the Sierra Nevadas. You might think you’re in the Provencal region of France, instead of Oakhurst. The setting is ideal for couples looking for an intimate, fairytale getaway.
5. St. Regis Aspen Resort, Aspen, Colorado
Love And Leaf Peeping
Autumn in Aspen is inspiring — and a great spot for a couple looking for a quieter romantic getaway.
One of the most spectacular times of the year in Aspen, fall days are filled with sunshine and nights with crisp cool air. Valleys full of aspen trees turn yellow against a crystal-clear blue sky, prime for leaf peeping. Treat yourself and stay at the St. Regis Aspen Resort, a five-star luxury destination at the base of Aspen Mountain. When staying at the hotel, couples can reserve a complimentary BMW x7 series and explore Aspen’s Maroon Bells, the most photographed mountains in North America.
Or through the concierge, arrange for a romantic hot air balloon and be wowed by the beauty of the Rocky Mountains, or a horseback ride through Aspen groves and the Snowmass Wilderness area.
Feel like you want to chill? Book a specialty treatment at the Remède Spa, recognized as one of the world’s preeminent hotel spas. Reward yourself with curated treatments, including therapies like the CBD Healing Customized Massage.
Couples can treat themselves to drinks at Dante, the trendy and beloved New York City-inspired bar, which will be serving its award-winning cocktails at the property’s acclaimed Chefs Club.
6. Stephanie Inn, Cannon Beach, Oregon
Snuggles Around The Fireplace
The north coast of Oregon is downright dreamy. Eighty miles from Portland you’ll find Stephanie Inn, a four-star boutique luxury hotel in Cannon Beach.
It’s hard to say what will impress you most at Stephanie Inn, the expansive views of the Pacific Ocean, the Haystack Rock, or the Tillamook Lighthouse atop Tillamook Rock. Kick back and relish your time at this beachfront retreat, with its oceanview jacuzzi tubs and gas fireplaces in every guestroom. The hotel boasts a full range of luxury spa services and specialty coastal experiences. Enhance a stay with romantic add-on packages including local wines, long stem roses, and a luxurious bubble bath.
Oh, and eat up. Chef Aaron Bedard’s menu is inspired by local ingredients at the peak of their season, creating a culinary exploration featuring the bounty of the Pacific Northwest.
7. Salish Lodge & Spa, Snoqualmie, Washington
The Wonders Of Waterfalls
You know it’s about location, location, location. You can’t go wrong with Salish Lodge & Spa. Perched on top of a waterfall in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains, it is especially cozy and picturesque with its fall foliage. You feel the loving spirit in your room with a fireplace and huge soaking tub or spa-like shower — sweeping views included.
For additional romance, you don’t have to hurry to go beyond the lodge. Salish is home to an award-winning spa. Go for the popular fireside couple’s suite with a personalized Tranquility Massage.
The Dining Room is the spot come mealtime. Highlights of the rave reviews include the raved about brunch service.
If you like, go for the resort’s special package, Romance at the Falls.
8. Catalina Island, California
A California Playground
There’s a reason Catalina is called the Island of Romance. There’s plenty to do, whether it’s riding on a bicycle built for two and exploring ocean-front roadways and lush canyon drives, parasailing or kayaking, golfing, whale or dolphin watching on an ocean rafting adventure, hiking, or enjoying a round of golf, a day spa, or a picnic lunch on a secluded cove.
You’ll love the romantic setting of the island’s only city, Avalon, with its distinctive Mediterranean charm. As for where to stay, choose from beachfront properties and whatever else will make you feel good.
9. Carmel-By-The-Sea, California
The Carmel Magic
There’s a good reason Carmel-by-the-Sea has been called one of the most romantic places in the world. It is! Much has to do with the fairytale-like architecture by Hugh Comstock, who in the 1920s designed the village’s cottages with complete rolled eaves, rounded doors, and asymmetrical chimneys that create the magic that inspires romance.
This small town on California’s central coast is a 1-square-mile European-style village reminiscent of another era. It’s fantasy at its best. You two will enjoy breakfast at charming eateries like La Bicyclette or Village Corner. Stroll through the courtyards and secret passageways in the village, taking in the heart-shaped statues and flowers, art galleries, and boutiques. Sip at some 20 tasting rooms. Catch a sunset on Carmel Beach. Make like you’re starring in a movie and rent a classic car and drive down scenic Highway 1.
L’Augerge Carmel is ideal for couples with a blend of romantic old-world charm with the luxury of modern amenities. Pamper yourselves with in-room spa services or a sunset sail.
10. Castle Hot Springs, Morristown, Arizona
You can’t go wrong with the Bradshaw Mountains and geothermal hot springs. Just 50 miles outside of Phoenix, you’ll find Castle Hot Springs, a 1,100-acre oasis.
Castle Hot Springs offers plenty of adventurous outdoor activities — like the Via Ferrata cable climbing course, horseback riding, and canyon hikes — for active couples, but also time to chill with yoga, meditation, and a soak in the ancient hot springs. It’s intimate, with just 30 private spring bungalows and sky-view cabins. Come nightfall, stargaze (if you can take your eyes off one another for a minute) with telescopes in your room and cuddle in your outdoor Sonora stone tubs filled with natural thermal spring water.
11. The Glen House, Greens Grant, New Hampshire
Mother Nature At Her Best
New Hampshire’s White Mountains are prime leaf-peeping territory. The fall foliage and the majestic mountains can be a love potion.
At the foot of Mount Washington, surrounded by the White Mountain National Forest, you and your honey can nest at The Glen House. The boutique hotel’s Fall in Love package includes two fall cocktails from the bar, treats, a surprise from Zeb’s (the general store in North Conway, a plush blanket for snuggling up around the outdoor fire pit, and a small discount on your room. The indoor saltwater swimming pool is a great place to soak after a day of exploring in the White Mountains.
The Glen House is surrounded by walking, hiking, and biking paths as well.
12. Ocean Edge Resort & Golf Club, Cape Cod, Massachusetts
Cuddling On The Cape
Head straight for the couple’s suite in the spa at the Ocean Edge Resort & Golf Club. The Falling for You spa package includes mansion-wing accommodations and the “Some Like It Hot” couple’s massage in the Beach House Spa Duet Suite. You’ll also get a warm welcome of blackberry-, raspberry-, and blueberry-filled Champagne glasses, a chocolate truffle and French macaron box, and dinner at Bayzo’s Pub for two.
Couples can also choose the Speaking My Language of Love package. If you do, your first of order business will be establishing what your love languages are: words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time, or physical touch. The package includes a 15 percent discount off your room and a $100 credit to be used for Language of Love activities, like a picnic with a specially created lunch, massage, and dinner at Ocean Terrace.
13. THesis Hotel, Miami
Sensual Florida Sunshine
Miami is just sexy, and the THesis Hotel is the locale to get the love vibe going.
Make your way to the THesis’s rooftop pool with tropical views and a bar. There are two restaurants by James Beard–nominated chef Niven Patel. Couples can choose a special wine tasting at Orno followed by a private dinner at Orno’s library, with their choice of a free classic romantic novel for poolside reading. The romance package includes a city guide to some of the area’s most romantic sites, including Vizcaya Museum & Gardens, Deering Estate, and more. If you two feel like profiling, the property partners with The Collection car dealership to provide luxury transportation to explore the city in style.
Fall is a favorite time of year to vacation, and most travelers look forward to seeing the changing leaves as well as the changing weather: