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3 best desert vacations

Palm Springs, California

Average summer temperature: 70 to 105 degrees Fahrenheit

While the city is known for its luxe golf courses and tennis courts, it’s worth doing the easy two-mile hiking trail at Tahquitz Canyon. You’ll cross a 60-foot waterfall and find Native American rock art. Afterward, book a Desert Rain Drench at the spa at downtown’s Colony Palms Hotel. The refreshing treatment includes a massage, facial, and moisturizing body wrap.

Scottsdale, Arizona

Average summer temperature: 77 to 103 degrees Fahrenheit

For gorgeous views, hike to the top of Camelback Mountain, a feat that requires strength, discipline, and of course, good heat tolerance. For golfers, take advantage of increased availability at some of the town’s best courses such as Troon North, which passes through Pinnacle Peak’s natural ravines. Then, cool off by kayaking the tranquil Salt River where you might spot wild horses. Regenerate at the Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain, where an Asian-inspired spa menu includes treatments like luk pra kob, a vigorous massage with Thai herbal compresses.

Texas Hill Country

Average summer temperature: 73 to 104 degrees Fahrenheit

This little pocket between Houston, Austin, and San Antonio has winding roads that are quiet and great for cyclists training for long-distance rides. Guests who stay at the secluded Inn at Dos Brisas, a 300-acre resort in Washington, Texas, can also explore the surrounding landscape on horseback (the resort has an expansive equestrian center) or by foot. Afterward, take an organic gardening lesson or borrow one of the resort’s telescopes for some of the best stargazing in the Southwest.

Run these bridges

4 run-worthy bridges, with interval workouts to match

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Habit forming: eat well while traveling

“Remember to savor, talk about, and appreciate flavor.” - Bethany Snodgrass

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