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Top Fall Escapes in the Southwest

Embrace reduced rates and temperatures in top desert destinations.

U.S. News & World Report

Top Fall Escapes in the Southwest

USA, Arizona, Sedona, Landscape with valley and rocks at sunset

Sedona entices visitors with its striking red-rock formations and scenic hiking trails.(Getty Images)

With cooler temperatures, colorful fall foliage and affordable shoulder season rates, autumn is an ideal time to travel. Whether you want to admire art in Albuquerque or immerse yourself in dramatic red-rock formations in Sedona, a trip to the American Southwest offers an enticing alternative to a traditional, cookie-cutter fall getaway in New England. So, if you're yearning to mix it up this year, consider retreating to one of these stunning desert locales this fall.

Palm Springs, California

With a star-studded history, Palm Springs has maintained a sense of retro, Americana style. Today the town draws a more diverse clientele, from retirees to young families looking for a desert escape. Average highs hover in the upper 80s and low 90s in October and hotel prices tend to decrease at this time of year, allowing you to soak up the sun without bursting your budget. Consider a stay at the luxurious Omni Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa, where you'll find a kid-friendly pool with amenities like a 2-acre water park, a lazy river and waterslides.

Sedona, Arizona

If you'd rather go for a hike than lounge by the pool, consider a trip to Sedona. Located about 115 miles north of Phoenix, Sedona makes an ideal getaway for those seeking small-town charm. And in fall, the hot Arizona temperatures begin to subside. Enjoy the crisp weather with a hike at one of the area's state parks. Afterward, head to the Tlaquepaque Arts and Crafts Village for a peaceful evening stroll among art galleries and specialty shops. If you're an art lover, arrive in October, when the town hosts its annual Sedona Plein Air Festival. Watch artists in their element along Main Street or register for one of the event's artist workshops. This year's festival is set for Oct. 17-24, 2015.

Las Vegas

Fall is the perfect time to visit Las Vegas for a break from wild pool parties and soaring temperatures. While autumn weather in Las Vegas can be unpredictable at times, average highs in the 70s and 80s are much more manageable than summer highs that often break 100 degrees. Celebrate the fall season with an al fresco meal at one of the city's restaurant patios. Enjoy dinner and watch the Bellagio fountains from the patio of Lago, a relatively new addition to the Las Vegas dining scene. Or, venture away from the Las Vegas Strip to Downtown Summerlin for dining at a number of restaurants, including Crave American Kitchen and Sushi Bar, Grape Street Café & Wine Bar or Public School 702, all of which feature outdoor seating. After you eat, stroll and shop along the streets of Downtown Summerlin.

Albuquerque, New Mexico

Autumn in Albuquerque is all about colorful balloons. This year's Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, held from Oct. 3-11, 2015, will include hundreds of hot-air balloons and endless opportunities for photo ops. Enjoy live music on Saturday, Oct. 10 (this year's lineup includes The Band Perry, Gloriana, and Two Way Crossing) or reserve your spot for a peaceful balloon ride. If you can't make it to this year's event, mark your calendar for October 2016.

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About En Route

Practical advice on the art of traveling smarter with tips, tricks and intel from En Route's panel of experts.

Contributors have experience in areas ranging from family travel, adventure travel, experiential travel and budget travel to hotels, cruises and travel rewards and include Amy Whitley, Claire Volkman, Holly Johnson, Marsha Dubrow, Lyn Mettler, Sery Kim, Kyle McCarthy, Erica Lamberg, Jess Moss, Sheryl Nance-Nash, Sherry Laskin, Katie Jackson, Erin Gifford, Roger Sands, Steve Larese, Gwen Pratesi, Erin Block, Dave Parfitt, Kacey Mya, Kimberly Wilson, Susan Portnoy, Donna Tabbert Long and Kitty Bean Yancey.

Edited by Liz Weiss.

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