Fall travel guide

Explore beaches, back roads, vineyards, and more during the West's golden season

The West's best fall travel experiences

It's the absolute best time to be outdoors, when some of our unique landscapes come brilliantly alive

It's desert prime time: Go wild
Photo by Kyle Sparks / Getty Images; written by Sara Dickerman, Peter Fish, Kelly Mickle, Loren Mooney, and Cristina Tudino

It's desert prime time: Go wild

Wildflowers, clear night skies, temperate weather––the California desert has it all this month. If your pleasure is an active vacation, Joshua Tree is the place to be.

Crisp November skies allow spectacular views of the Andromeda Galaxy. The ​29 Palms Inn makes a good base camp; many of its funky bungalows have private patios, and the entrance to Joshua Tree National Park is just 2 miles down the road. From $95; 29palmsinn.com

Fall in Joshua Tree means the weather is welcoming, especially to rock climbers. Uprising Adventure guides newbies as well as veterans to the right rocks. A slew of rainstorms last summer is good news for wildflower enthusiasts. “Monsoon blooms” like chinchweed should dot the desert in yellow and smell of rich cinnamon. $250/half-day for 2; joshuatree​uprising.com

The secret recipe for the tri-tip and carne asada chili at Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace is rumored to contain a blend of coffee and tequila. Built as a western movie set in the 1940s, the roadhouse also dishes out live music. $$; 53688 Pioneertown Rd.; pappyandharriets.com


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