20 Ideas for the Perfect Romantic Fall Getaway

Autumn is for lovers at these cozy and idyllic destinations.

Wooden path through grass leading to lodge at sunset
Photo: The Resort at Paws Up

Whether because of pumpkin picking or wine drinking or having a set of arms to jump into while weathering a haunted attraction, something about autumn sparks a desire to hit the road with someone special. From the Eastern seaboard to the tip-top of the Pacific Northwest, the temperatures cool, the leaves turn fiery, and travel opportunities abound.

So, will it be a pumpkin-infused spa treatment or a fireside wine tasting to celebrate the long-awaited harvest season? You decide with these 20 romantic getaways perfect for fall.

01 of 20

Middleburg, Virginia

Horse walking across a misty field
Justin Kriel

With 18th-century buildings and just one traffic light, the town of Middleburg makes a charming introduction to Loudoun County, northern Virginia’s bucolic horse country. You can spend the morning browsing antique shops and local galleries, then head over a few streets to reach horse farms and wineries offering a spectacular backdrop of fall foliage from mid-October to the beginning of November.

The Salamander Resort & Spa often has packages just for couples, like the Season of Romance special, which includes a bottle of sparkling wine, handmade pastries, and a $100 nightly resort credit "to be used on romantic dining, couple's massages, intimate trail rides, and so much more." The resort’s spa features a two-person suite with a private wraparound stone patio and garden, an outdoor Jacuzzi, and a fireplace.

After a bit of pampering, go for a four-course locavore dinner at the Red Fox Inn's tavern, set in a 1728 stone building with period furnishings.

02 of 20

Willamette Valley, Oregon

Indoor pool at a resort spa
Andrea Johnson Photography/The Allison Inn & Spa

Just 45 minutes from Portland, the Willamette Valley promises exceptional restaurants, hiking trails, hot-air balloon rides, wine tours by helicopter or horse, and scenic countryside primed for picnicking. Among the 700-some area wineries, some of the best are Anne Amie in the rolling hills of the Yamhill-Carlton District and Ardiri Winery, where you can sit fireside and take in views of the Chehalem foothills.

After a day of tastings, retreat to The Allison Inn, where you can unwind with a couple’s treatment in the 15,000-square-foot spa complete with landscaped garden terraces and fire pits. You’ll be refreshed in time for dinner at Jory, whose dishes are sourced from the hotel’s 1.5-acre vegetable garden and best paired with a vintage from its 800-bottle list.

03 of 20

Acadia National Park, Maine

Rocky slopes dotted with autumnal-colored foliage

Pat & Chuck Blackley/Alamy

Hike hand-in-hand through Acadia, Maine’s only national park, keeping an eye out for broad-winged hawks and moose along the pine-fringed trails, to get to 1,530-foot Cadillac Mountain. It’s worth rising early to see the sun come up from that spectacular vantage point.

Spend the rest of the day exploring Acadia attractions like the scenic Schoodic Byway; sea cliffs formed from granite; and carriage roads around Eagle Lake that are perfect for biking. The park teems with crowds during the summer high season, so visiting in autumn means a little more privacy. Soak up more rugged New England scenery from the Bar Harbor Inn, a shingled lodge on Frenchman Bay with eight acres of gardens, a spa, and proximity to Bar Harbor’s shops and restaurants.

04 of 20

Greenough, Montana

Wooden path through grass leading to lodge at dusk
The Resort at Paws Up

Food, romance, and adventure are in the air at The Resort at Paws Up, a 37,000-acre Montana ranch. For foodies and wine lovers, Montana Master Chefs is the event of a lifetime with world-class cuisine and exquisite vino. Get up close and personal with a group of James Beard Award winners, finalists, and nominees every September.

For an adventurous date, hop a private helicopter to Glacier National Park (otherwise a three-hour drive from the resort) and peep the changing colors. For something more relaxing, spend an afternoon at Spa Town, the resort’s cluster of white tents surrounded by nature, for luxurious treatments, yoga classes, and pure bliss.

05 of 20

Bradford, Pennsylvania

Red barn surrounded by fiery Northeast fall foliage
Allegheny National Forest Visitors Bureau

In northwest Pennsylvania, the small town of Bradford erupts in vibrant shades of yellow, orange, and red each fall. A chill rolls in at night, encouraging couples to snuggle up by a bonfire around Skipper Lake. Settle in at the Lodge at Glendorn, where you have the option of staying in the main lodge — with its impressive two-story sandstone fireplace, beamed cathedral ceilings, stained-glass windows, and sunporch — or in a private cabin by running streams.

The lodge’s chef can prepare a picnic spread for you two, or you can take matters into your own hands by enjoying a custom cooking class (think deboning stream-caught trout and preparing vegetables freshly picked from the lodge's own culinary garden).

06 of 20

Big Sur, California

Cove with beach surrounded by rocky cliffs and bluffs

Mark Conlin/Alamy

Big Sur shines brightest in the fall, when the forecast calls for clear, warm days and cool, starry nights. Do your stargazing at the Post Ranch Inn, which has not only an enviable position overlooking the Pacific Coast but also one of the largest hotel telescopes in the U.S. Epicureans will also appreciate the hotel’s romantic restaurant, which hosts a four-course wine-pairing experience 1,200 feet above the breaking waves. Back in your guest room, you can settle in by the fireplace and keep an eye out for migrating whales — with some help from the supplied binoculars.

Head to Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park in time for a romantic coastal sunset, or time your visit to October’s Big Sur River Run, known as the most beautiful 10K in the world.

07 of 20

Charleston, South Carolina

Southern architecture and palm trees in Charleston at night
Peter Frank Edwards

Charleston’s cobblestoned neighborhoods and grand moss-draped avenues set the scene for romance. A dynamic food scene has been brewing here, and you can take a culinary tour that starts with sweet tea and grits and ends with authentic Carolina barbecue. Couples who stay in one of the five historic buildings (all circa 1804) at Zero George can also sign up for a Lowcountry cooking class with a guest chef in the kitchen carriage house.

Finish your tour of Charleston with a romantic dinner at Husk or Circa 1886, then toast your good fortune while gazing at the city from Market Pavilion Hotel's rooftop bar.

08 of 20

Park City, Utah

Golden aspens with snowy mountain in background
Courtesy of the Park City Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau

The slopes don’t open until the end of November, so fall is the time to enjoy Park City’s still-temperate weather and other outdoor adventures like hiking and mountain biking. This is also a mountain town with serious culture, demonstrated by the Kimball Art Center and live-music venue Eccles Center.

Treat yourselves to a stay at one of the Natural Retreats in Deer Valley, The Canyons, and Silver Star. Some of these properties come stocked with private bars, hot tubs, gourmet kitchens, and pool access. But if a boutique hotel is more your style, check in to Washington School House’s 16-foot-ceilinged King Room with a wrought-iron bed dressed in crisp white linens, a white marble bathroom with heated floors, and a century-old European chandelier.

09 of 20

Barnard, Vermont

Cozy indoor space with stone fireplace and large windows
Twin Farms

At the all-inclusive resort Twin Farms, couples are treated to an upscale cabin experience complete with a crackling fire and hot tub. You can picnic among the 300-acre property’s meadows and apple orchards or feast on dinner in the 20,000-bottle wine cellar. Get your hearts racing with a round of tennis, a canoe outing on Copper Pond, or a bike ride along area trails. You can even play croquet or try your hand at fly-fishing at the resort’s fully stocked pond. Rejuvenate any sore muscles at the Bridge House Spa, where amenities include glass-brick steam rooms and furo — a Japanese hot soaking tub — with views of Vermont’s brilliant fall foliage.

10 of 20

Asheville, North Carolina

High-angle view of sun shining on fall foliage in mountains
FallintheMountains.com

Extreme elevations and more than 100 species of deciduous trees give the Blue Ridge Mountains one of the most vibrant leaf seasons worldwide. For a novel perspective, try Asheville’s canopy tour adventure, Navitat, a mountaintop thrill ride 350 feet above the forest. Other area adventures include biking, horseback riding, and river floating trips from the Biltmore Estate. The historic home hosts a Red Wine and Chocolate Tasting. And for more sweetness, the Chocolate Lounge at French Broad Chocolates has an outrageous menu of hand-crafted cakes, brownies, trifles, and drinking chocolate (think ganache-based liquid truffles in exotic flavors such as cayenne and cinnamon or Indian kulfi, or steamy Oaxacan hot chocolate with almonds, cinnamon, and almond milk). You can also fill up on seasonal treats at the Urban Orchard Cider Co., which features a cider bar and numerous apple and pumpkin farms around the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway.

11 of 20

Missouri Wine Country

View down a row of grape vines at a vineyard
Courtesy of Chaumette Vineyards & Winery

The area around Hermann and Augusta — 40 miles apart by car — counts a handful of boutique wineries. It’s part of Missouri’s leisurely wine trail and comes with the bonus of rich fall colors, peaking in mid-October. Plan your itinerary with stops at Chaumette Winery and nearby Cave Vineyard's biscotti bar (flavors range from traditional anise and almond to modern snickerdoodle and bacon chocolate chip); Les Bourgeois Blufftop Bistro for a meal overlooking the Missouri River Valley; and Katy Trail State Park, the nation’s longest rails-to-trails conversion. Missouri’s wine country is more affordable and easygoing than most, and the wineries are situated in small communities big on charm.

12 of 20

Saugatuck, Michigan

Trees with red leaves framing a beach
Felicia Fairchild

Saugatuck has been an artists’ haven since the 19th century, with plenty of galleries as well as beachy pursuits like paddlewheel boat cruises and open-air Jeep dune rides. Go for beer tastings at Saugatuck Brewing, and pick from dozens of apple varieties at Crane Orchards. This is B&B territory, and romantic options include the The Belvedere Inn and Wickwood Inn, which hosts evening candlelight cocktails.

Make your dinner reservations at The Southerner, an Appalachian comfort food restaurant founded by two-time James Beard-nominated chef Matthew Millar. Try the shrimp with grits or split Nana's fried chicken with your date.

13 of 20

Washington, Connecticut

Wooden fence with a country estate in the background
Grace Hotels Group

With gardens, a pond, and woodland, the Mayflower Inn is a place to take things slow. You can admire the changing leaves from a wraparound porch, dine on locavore dishes prepared by the culinary team, or enjoy a facial with organic local ingredients in the 20,000-square-foot spa. The 30-room inn also makes a convenient jumping-off point for exploring Mount Tom State Park or Lake Waramaug, antiquing in Litchfield Hills, or driving to the prerevolutionary village of Kent or the beautiful covered bridge at West Cornwall.

14 of 20

Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Lake surrounded by orange-colored trees and a large peak

Pat & Chuck Blackley / Alamy

At the southern gateway of Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park, couples are greeted with a dose of crisp autumn air, golden aspens, a bundle of activities on their doorsteps, and wildlife galore. The ultra-luxurious Amangani does its own part to pamper visitors; you can lounge in deep soaking tubs or get an après-hike foot massage. The resort also arranges excursions, including private trips to Jenny Lake (a favored spot for elks, which mate in fall).

Alternatively, the Teton Mountain Lodge & Spa offers packages that take advantage of the season's renowned fly fishing. Outings include a leisurely float trip along the Snake River for unbeatable views of the foliage, the grandeur of the Teton Range, and — of course — honey holes teeming with cutthroat trout prime for the catching.

15 of 20

Alys Beach, Florida

Lounge chairs along a white-sand beach
Visit South Walton

Mediterranean-style white buildings with architectural flourishes line the walkable streets of Alys Beach along a beautiful stretch of the Florida Panhandle. It’s easy to while away the day at the white-sand beach or in a private cabana at the 100-foot, zero-entry saltwater Caliza Pool and at its surrounding candlelit alfresco restaurant. You can also go paddleboarding, bike in search of butterflies, or take a walk in the rare coastal Dune Lakes nearby. Autumn ushers in the lowest rental prices of the year, moderate temperatures, and outdoor food and area wine events like Rosemary Beach Uncorked and the Seeing Red Wine Festival.

16 of 20

Kohler, Wisconsin

High-angle view of large resort surrounded by fall foliage
Courtesy of Kohler Co.

One of the Midwest’s most luxurious resorts, The American Club at Destination Kohler, happens to be strategically located two hours from Chicago and one hour from Milwaukee. You can retreat to the Carriage House or splurge on the Eau de Vie Suite with a glass fireplace adjacent to your overflowing chromatherapy bath and a one-of-a-kind shower experience. Kohler is known for golf courses like Blackwolf Run, and fishing is excellent in the fall. (For a more indulgent water experience, the spa offers hydrotherapy services, plunge pools, a whirlpool, and the sound of nearby waterfalls.)

Hiking, kayaking, canoeing, and horseback riding are other popular pastimes. Dine outdoors at Whistling Straits Clubhouse, which overlooks the golf course and Lake Michigan.

17 of 20

Greensboro, Georgia

Adirondack chairs surrounding an outdoor fire pit

Ritz-Carlton Lodge, Reynolds

Get acquainted with this southern town by strolling together down Main Street, past antique shops and elegant mansions. Along the shore of Lake Oconee, you’ll find the Ritz-Carlton Lodge, which lures couples with its 251 rooms (Frette linens, marble baths), 99 championship golf holes, and spa. Biking, kayaking, fishing, tennis, and exploring by Segway are also on the agenda. On a cool evening, cozy up to the lodge campfire for totally sophisticated, grown-up s'mores.

18 of 20

Texas Hill Country

Hillside vineyard and old building in Texas Hill Country

Kim Sayer/Getty Images

In Sonora, where Texas Hill Country and the Chihuahuan Desert meet, JL Bar Ranch sets the scene for romance with horseback riding, wine tastings, live music on-site, and a whole couple's package that includes a massage and lunch. For a touch of true Texas, participate in a "cowboy cookout," whisky tasting, or one of the many shooting activities offered at the ranch.

In October, enjoy complimentary tastings along the nearby Texas Wine Month Trail. The purchase of a passport from Texas Hill Country Wineries will grant you complimentary tastings and discounts at more than 45 wineries from San Saba down to Fredericksburg, a short drive from San Antonio.

19 of 20

Hocking Hills, Ohio

Cozy country bedroom with exposed-beam ceiling
Ravenwood Castle

Caves, sandstone cliff overlooks, waterfalls, and hiking trails like the Rim Trail at Conkles Hollow are yours to explore in this section of southeastern Ohio. You can rent a cabin at Hocking Hills State Park, which features rock formations like Old Man’s Cave, a narrow, deep gorge with waterfalls. Or, stay in a secluded cabin at the Inn & Spa at Cedar Falls, where indulgent meals can be delivered directly to your cabin. Add a dash of fairytale-like romance to your getaway at the Ravenwood Castle, a 12th-century turreted hotel that could also be the setting for a murder-mystery dinner party.

20 of 20

Rancho Santa Fe, California

Santa Fe-style ranch lit up at dusk
The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe

Thirty miles north of San Diego, you’ll find the rarefied small town of Rancho Santa Fe, the former hangout of 1930s stars like Bing Crosby, with mansions, a world-class golf course, and traditional horseback riding to show for it. Still, the vibe here is laidback. You can browse Main Street’s few boutiques and the Rancho Sante Fe Market held each Sunday morning.

At Torrey Pines State Reserve, take the beachside trail, and then walk back along the beach (you don’t have to go uphill on the way back). The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe feels like a romantic country retreat, with cottages set along garden pathways. Kick back with cocktails on the croquet lawn in front, and take advantage of the couple’s spa suite with a private outdoor courtyard including a shower and tub.

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