In Moab, Utah, it's all about the desert. The small town on the edge of Arches National Park is the stepping-off point for remote canyons, amazing red-rock formations and a desert vibe best summed up in Edward Abbey's "Desert Solitaire."
An outfit called the Moab Adventure Center that specializes in desert doings offers a four-day Southwest Sampler designed as an introduction to the area. Participants spend two nights at the Gonzo Inn and spend one day touring the town and another hiking in the park to see some of the more than 2,000 sandstone arches. At sunset, there's an off-road tour of the back country, too.
On the third day, it's off to the Colorado River for an overnight rafting trip with a barbecue dinner among red-rock cliffs and camping on the banks of the river. Then it's back to Moab by 2 p.m. for departure home.
Dates: Customized dates are offered March 1 through Oct. 31.
Price: $615 for adults 16 and older, $515 for children 5 to 15, based on double occupancy. It includes accommodations, activities, river rafting and camping, and some meals. Transportation to and from Moab is extra.