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 is what makes fall magical, and brings 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. Best For Music Lovers
New Orleans, Louisiana
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. Big Fun For Beach Babes
Jekyll Island, Georgia
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. Set The Mood In Savannah
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. Pamper yourselves at downtown spas like Heavenly Spa by Westin, Spa Bleu, or Magnolia Spa.
4. Nature Means Romance
Yosemite National Park, California
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 for 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 like these two you’ll find in Mariposa, 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. 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-based bar, that will be serving its award-winning cocktails at the property’s acclaimed Chefs Club.
6. Snuggle Around The Fireplace
Stephanie Inn, Cannon Beach, Oregon
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, 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 Jacuzzi tubs with ocean views and gas fireplace 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. 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. Experience The Wonders Of Waterfalls
Salish Lodge & Spa, Snoqualmie, Washington
You know it’s about location, location, location. You can’t go wrong, Salish Lodge & Spa is 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 much talked about lavish brunch service. If you like, go for the resort’s special package, Romance Atop the Falls.
8. Make Catalina Your Playground
Catalina Island, California
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 mainstay, Avalon with its distinctive Mediterranean charm. As for where to stay, choose from beachfront properties and whatever else will make you feel good.
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: