The end of summer always ushers in a sense of change, and with it comes a show from Mother Nature to mark the occasion. There are plenty of places across the U.S. to take in the vibrant colors of changing leaves, and some are worth the trip to see the dazzling display in person. Inspirato subscribers aiming to make the most of the monthlong window for optimum autumn leaf-viewing should look no further than these three destinations, all near homes or hotels on the Inspirato Pass trip list.
Blue Ridge Mountains, North Carolina
Home to stunning displays of leaves amid the rolling hills, North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains are a beautiful fall destination. Inspirato’s three homes there—Red Maple, Blue Ridge, and Yellow Birch—are the perfect place for a fall retreat. All three homes are located within an exclusive gated community, and Red Maple and Blue Ridge still have some fall availability during peak leaf-peeping time.
Leaves in the Blue Ridge Mountains typically peak from mid to late October. And Inspirato’s homes are just a 15-minute drive from Blowing Rock, a sweet mountain town with plenty of fall activities. Go apple picking at the Altapass Orchard, boasting beautiful views of the mountains, or opt for the New River Corn Maze if you’ve got the family in tow. You can also take a tram ride around the property, perfect for taking in the fall colors.
Pair beautiful fall foliage with stunning ocean views and you’ve got autumn in Coastal Maine. Another can’t-miss New England destination for optimum leaf-peeping, Ogunquit is nestled along the Atlantic Coast, just an hour south of Portland. Stay at the Cliff House, a resort perched right on the ocean, from late September to mid-October for the best leaf-viewing opportunities. Take in some of the coastal culture with a stop at Ogunquitfest at the end of October, an annual fall celebration featuring a costume parade, ghostly tours, and pumpkin decorating.
To really immerse in nature, a drive to nearby Mount Agamenticus Conservation Region affords plenty of scenic hikes. Though more of a rolling hill than a mountain, the peak of Agamenticus offers a fire tower for optimum views of the surrounding countryside. It’s also known as one of the top destinations to spot hawks in Maine—watch the feathered creatures riding the breeze above hues of red and orange.
Harbor Country, Michigan
There’s nothing quite like fall in the Midwest, and our list wouldn’t be complete without a nod to the Great Lakes region. Harbor Country, right on the shores of Lake Michigan, offers a laidback locale to peep leaves and relax amid small-town charm. Members can sprawl in the spacious Grand Beach Estate, with room for up to 14, and take in sweeping views of the lake from the back patio with their morning coffee (and there are still a few fall availability days).
The best time to spot the leaves in this part of Michigan is from late September to early October. Hop in a rental and take to the backroads for dreamy photo ops and plenty of quaint roadside restaurants to stop for a bite. Cyclists might enjoy taking part in the Apple Cider Century, a bike tour on Sept. 29 that’ll take them through the orchards, forests, and wine country around the nearby town of Three Oaks. Celebrate those efforts by winding down with a cider afterward, surrounded by autumnal hues and the serenity that fall’s arrival brings.