Welcome to the Chile Capital of the World, 190 miles south of Albuquerque. Take home a spicy souvenir anytime, but on Labor Day weekend, 20,000 heat seekers come for chile-eating contests, mariachi, and the Chile Queen crowning at the Hatch Chile Festival. $10/vehicle; hatchchilefest.com
Best time to go: September, for peak chile-harvest season.
Stay: The Historic Pelham House is a late-1800s adobe built on an old Apache campground. From $150; historicpelhamhouse.com