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The days are getting shorter, which means it’s time for a long weekend. Here are some of our picks for great getaways, both near and far.
Who says a weekend getaway can’t be an island escape, too? Cozumel is where Mexico’s charm takes on a distinctly Caribbean vibe. Just 30 miles long and 10 miles wide, the island is perfect size to explore in a weekend; and even in fall, the weather stays a blissful 80 degrees. San Miguel can get quite touristy during the day with the arrival of cruise ships and ferries from the mainland, so spend your days out exploring the jungle, Maya ruins or diving the Great Mesomerican reef. Back in San Miguel, there’s plenty of dining options to fill your evenings, from romantic bistros to late-night taco stands.
BIMINI ISLANDS, BAHAMAS
The Bahamas is made up of over 700 islands. Skip Nassau and Grand Bahama and head to one of the lesser-known islands for a real getaway. The history of the tiny Bimini islands, only 50 miles off the Florida Coast, includes legends both real and imagined, from the lost city of Atlantis and the Fountain of Youth to Ernest Hemingway and Prohibition-era bootleggers. Nowadays, the Bimini are known for world-class big-game fishing and scuba diving, as well as mineral-laden freshwater springs. Or spend a weekend in Governor’s Harbour on Eleuthera Island. This gracious seaside town is full of colorful wooden cottages, colonial architecture and hillsides overflowing with hibiscus and oleander blooms.
SAINT PAUL, MINNESOTA, USA
Unlike its more well-known twin, Minneapolis, the city of Saint Paul is happy to live life at a slower, more refined pace. Visiting Como Park, touring the Victorian mansions of Summit Avenue, or sitting in the audience of A Prairie Home Companion, you may feel like you’ve stepped back in time. But Saint Paul isn’t stuck in the past: the Mississippi River flows right through downtown, making sure things keep moving. With 26 miles of riverfront, there is always activity going on, from fishing and birdwatching to boating, bicycling and hiking. Once you’ve worked up an appetite, eat like a local a craft beer in one hand and a forkful of fresh local ingredients in the other.
PHOENIX, ARIZONA, USA
If you’re not ready to let go of summer yet, head to Phoenix. Or rather, head outside of Phoenix, to any number of luxurious resorts, spas and championship golf courses. If that’s too much pampering for you, hike Camelback Mountain, bike through South Mountain Park, jump on a helicopter tour to the Grand Canyon, or take it easy with a float down the Salt River (and keep an eye out for the wild horses that live on its banks!). Fall is the perfect time to visit, with Arizona’s notoriously hot temperatures starting to cool down, fairs, festivals and cultural events start to heat up. Must-sees include the Heard Museum of American Indian Art & History, Scottsdale’s Old Town galleries and the Desert Botanical Garden.
PORTLAND, MAINE, USA
No list of fall getaways is complete without one New England destination. Portland a unique blend of quaint small-town charm and refreshing originality. Instead of keeping it a secret, Portland’s locals are happy to share the region’s vibrant arts scene and award-winning dining with visitors. Its pubs, shops and restaurants buzz with tourists and locals alike, creating a convivial atmosphere where everyone is welcomed. But the scenery is what really elevates this destination from great to spectacular. Sail Casco Bay or drive up the coast on Route 1 to Acadia National Park for some of the most picturesque autumn landscapes America has to offer.