Taos, New Mexico
As the most otherworldly place in America, Taos is a mystical place with a deeply rooted native presence and imperfectly rendered adobe architecture. The rich red Sangre de Cristo Mountains, towering 6,000 feet above town on three sides, stand beneath an intensely blue sky. Unless you need a T-shirt, skip the central plaza – the Taos Inn, a block north, is the real heart of town. Hole up for a Cowboy Buddha margarita (none of that mix crap – we're talking silver tequila, Cointreau, and real lime juice) and the grilled rattlesnake-and-rabbit sausage appetizer. Or, beeline to the newer Taos Mesa Brewing for a few beers washed down with their Frito pie.
Experience true Southwest wilderness by hiking or trail-running on Wheeler Peak, the tallest mountain in New Mexico, at 13,161 feet, or rafting the Rio Grande Gorge, 800-foot basalt cliffs spanned by the dramatic Gorge Bridge. The Taos Box stretch is a full day of intense Class III and IV whitewater in a narrow canyon teeming with eagles, coyotes, and mountain lions. If you're debating on where to stay, the answer is the Greater World Earthships Community, homes that define off-the-grid living in the strangest and best ways possible.
Getting There: Fly to Santa Fe; drive an hour and a half north.
For more information, visit taos.org.