Kristin Tieg Photography / Courtesy of Chebeague Island

Plan your leaf-peeping trip around one of these inns with spectacular views of fall colors.

Chebeague Island Inn, Chebeague Island, ME

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This restored 1920s Greek Revival inn overlooking the ocean lies on one of Maine’s most beautiful islands in Casco Bay, a 25-minute water taxi ride from Portland and its bevy of hip restaurants. After a day of leaf peeping and lobster boat sightings, kick back on the porch or in front of the stone fireplace in the Great Room. Doubles from $360.

Room to Book: An ocean-view room with a private bath. It comes tailored in crisp ginghams and plaids with a queen-size bed and works by local Maine artists.

Get Outdoors: Walk to the rocks at Deer Point for fantastic views of the bay and island.

Chebeague Island

America's Best Hotels for Fall Colors

Chebeague Island Inn, Chebeague Island, ME

This restored 1920s Greek Revival inn overlooking the ocean lies on one of Maine’s most beautiful islands in Casco Bay, a 25-minute water taxi ride from Portland and its bevy of hip restaurants. After a day of leaf peeping and lobster boat sightings, kick back on the porch or in front of the stone fireplace in the Great Room. Doubles from $360.

Room to Book: An ocean-view room with a private bath. It comes tailored in crisp ginghams and plaids with a queen-size bed and works by local Maine artists.

Get Outdoors: Walk to the rocks at Deer Point for fantastic views of the bay and island.

Kristin Tieg Photography / Courtesy of Chebeague Island

America's Best Hotels for Fall Colors

Chebeague Island is a short ferry ride from the hipster scene in Portland, ME, but it still moves to a 19th-century tempo. So you can take your time walking among the brilliant fall colors and, when the evening turns cool, cozy up to the fireplace of the Chebeague Island Inn.

That crispness in the air is a sure sign it’s time for the annual pageant of vivid reds, oranges, and yellows that inspires leaf-peepers to explore the towns and byways of New England, the Midwest, the mid-Atlantic, and the Northwest. But what makes a fall foliage pilgrimage truly memorable is where you choose to stay. We searched the country for properties that put you in the thick of things—and discovered that the best hotels for fall colors are as varied as the colors themselves.

You could wake up to a view of the Green Mountains and a breakfast with local maple syrup in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom. Or opt for Colorado, where a fall getaway means experiencing the golden splendor of Aspen trees from the minimalist aerie of a Bauhaus-inspired, largely glass-walled hotel.

Related: America's Best Fall Foliage Drives

Whatever their aesthetic, these are places where the breakfasts are homemade and the views are vibrant with fall colors. Of course, some rooms are better than others, so we’ve singled out which rooms savvy travelers will want to book. At North Carolina’s Applewood Manor, for instance, the York Imperial room stands out for its country charm (sleigh bed, gas log fireplace) and private balcony for enjoying the foliage that brightens up the misty Blue Ridge Mountains.

The Blue Ridge lends itself to exploring by car—the parkway was a WPA project built to blend in with the spectacular landscape—but these inns can also be convenient bases for hiking, antiquing, canoeing, even wine tastings at local vineyards, where it also happens to be harvest season.

So when exactly should you head out for a leaf-peeping trip? Anytime from mid-September to early November; generally, the further north you are, the sooner the leaves turn. State tourism boards and this handy interactive foliage map are your best resources for monitoring the local progression of color. But don’t delay. Wherever you’re headed, you can never book too early. Fall colors mark the year’s busiest time for many of these inns—and you’ve got a room to request.

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