Looking for a fall getaway in the Midwest? Here are eight resorts where you can find incredible fall foliage, beautiful hikes, and cozy vibes.
As stunning as colorful fall foliage is in the Midwest, equally inspiring are the crackling fireplaces, farm-to-fork dinners, and spa treatments back at these charming resorts. Throughout the Midwest — from Iowa to Ohio and Minnesota to Michigan — there are luxurious resorts that don’t hold back on the pampering amenities. Hike in the forest or a local park during the day, and return to an evening of unwinding. Here are eight of the best Midwestern resorts for your next fall getaway.
The American Club, Kohler, Wisconsin
Hugging Lake Michigan’s shoreline an hour north of Milwaukee, and in the company town that makes luxury plumbing fixtures, this resort’s lodging options span three buildings. Choose the most luxe — The American Club — home to The Immigrant Restaurant (featuring an artisanal Wisconsin cheese list) and Greenhouse (a stained-glass conservatory transported from England). Yoga classes are on a platform deep in the woods, and there’s no better way to unwind after hiking over sand dunes at nearby Kohler-Andrae State Park than with Kohler Water Spa’s signature bath treatments, folding in acoustics and aromas.
Deer Path Inn, Lake Forest, Illinois
Every detail is cozy inside this Tudor-style, 93-year-old, 57-room inn an hour’s drive north of Chicago, right down to afternoon tea service in the English Room and fish and chips at White Hart Pub. After hiking at any of six nearby Lake County Forest Preserves — including Fort Sheridan on the grounds of a former Army base and along Lake Michigan — slip into Frette linens. Loaner bicycles allow you to tool around this tiny, quaint town on your own with a picnic in tow.
Grand Hotel, Mackinac Island, Michigan
This car-free island quiets down in autumn, before closing for the season in late October. Because 80 percent of the island is undeveloped, hikes are in abundance, including at Fort Mackinac State Park, with 70 miles of trails and a tea room serving smoked whitefish dip, a local specialty. Back at this luxury hotel, the design game is strong with pops of pink, green and blue; five dining venues; and a spa. Afternoon tea has been served daily in the parlor since the 1840s. Treat yourself to a cone of Mackinac Island Lilac at the resort’s ice cream parlor.
Big Cedar Lodge, Ridgedale, Missouri
Owned by Bass Pro Shops founder Johnny Morris, there are 317 accommodations — including private log cabins and glamping tents — at this 4,600-acre resort in the Ozark Mountains. Saturdays during October welcome fall with hay rides, pumpkin patches, bonfires, and s’mores. You won’t go hungry after a day of exploring thanks to 15 food and beverage venues, including Canteen at Long Creek (breakfast and lunch fare served from a restored Airstream) and The Worman House Bistro (delicacies like lobster thermidor and 22-ounce, bone-in ribeye are served at this former 1920s retreat for a railroad exec). The 18,000-square-foot Cedar Creek Spa & Salon also invites pampering.
The Inn Hotel, Arnolds Park, Iowa
Despite the original inn’s 2018 demolition, its newest incarnation — opened a year later — honors its history through design inspired by the 1920s when people flocked here for “lake life” on Okoboji Lake. Tavern on the Park’s land-driven inventive cuisine (such as pheasant and waffles and BBQ wild boar sandwiches) is a nice post-hike treat. Complimentary coffee and muffins are served in the lobby daily to fuel you up for a hike along a 1.5-mile interpretative trail at nearby Gull Point State Park along the lake.
Grand View Lodge Spa & Golf Resort, Brainerd, Minnesota
Whether you’re getting a hot-stone massage or herbal foot detox at the spa, or sipping a wine flight at Cru, life at this Northern Minnesota resort is all about pampering. East Side Beach’s townhomes and cabins feature firepits and are right on Gull Lake, while options along Roy Lake include villas, cabins, and cottages with plenty of outdoor living spaces. It’s also easy to hike at the many nearby parks and forests, including Northland Arboretum.
West Baden Springs Hotel, West Baden Springs, Indiana
Open since 1902, this French Lick area resort is also near some spectacular hiking spots. Within the Hoosier National Forest, the 88-acre Pioneer Mothers Memorial Forest (a 20-minute drive south) boasts the last old-growth forest of this size in the state. Splurge on a room with a balcony for the best foliage view. To immerse yourself in nature without leaving the property, enjoy lunch in the glass-walled Ballard’s in the Atrium or walk the one-mile trail to its sister property, French Lick Springs Hotel. Spa treatments range from facials to a Moroccan clay wrap to bathing in the resort’s mineral spring waters.
The Lodge at Geneva-on-the-Lake, Geneva-on-the-Lake, Ohio
Located on the southern shores of Lake Erie an hour's drive northeast of Cleveland, staying here puts you near winery tasting rooms as well as the 698-acre Geneva State Park next door. Book one of the cute cottages for privacy and a home-away-from-home vibe, including a private porch with rocking chairs and windows framing the lake view. All-day dining at the resort’s Horizons Restaurant & Lounge ranges from a breakfast buffet to surf and turf at night.
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