Fall discounts make it easier to head for the Caribbean where specials such as the "September Solos" at the BodyHoliday wellness resort in St. Lucia are designed to help solo travelers get super-fit. During this monthlong event, an inclusive itinerary filled with workouts, water sports, spa treatments and group social events -- even mixology classes -- can be had for $315 per person per night.
Get your groove back at Aguila de Osa Inn, a greentique eco-resort on Costa Rica's rugged Osa Peninsula. Recharge with a visit to Corcovado National Park and reboot your mind with adventures inspired by the country's spirit of "pura vida" such as scuba diving, snorkeling, bird-watching and fishing. Sustainable tourism is the goal, with gourmet dining and tropical views available for less during the discounted "green season" which lasts through mid-December.
There's always a party happening in New Orleans, but you can find a peaceful European-style oasis just a block away from Bourbon Street at the Audubon Cottages. Bliss out poolside at the oldest saltwater pool in the French Quarter or relax on your private patio. A butler caters to guests in seven private cottages tastefully decorated with antiques. Naturalist John Audubon stayed here while penning his famed "Birds of America" series. Fall rates start at $499 per night, double occupancy.
Leave big-city stress behind as you nestle into a Mediterranean-style bungalow just a stone's throw from Los Angeles at Terranea Resort, where a health-focused personal concierge is available 24/7. Tune up your body and mind with sunset yoga, nature hikes, outdoor concerts, access to a 50,000 square-foot spa complex and art walks that highlight the beauty of the Palos Verdes Peninsula. Book early and save with the Countdown to Winter packages.
When schools are full, theme park crowds shrink, so it's a spectacular time to discover your inner child among the rides and characters otherwise swarmed by families. Check out SeaWorld Orlando's newest attraction, Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin, where four species of the black and white birds frolic in a frigid setting built to imitate the South Pole. Go Sept. 14-15, and you can reserve a spot to dine with animal expert Jack Hanna.
If you're ready for a super splurge, or perhaps have a few friends who also are looking for an extreme escape, rent Royal Belize, a private three-villas-only, seven-acre island where there are more pelicans than people. During downtime between gourmet meals prepared by a personal chef, you can savor seaside views from cozy hammocks, kayak or snorkel or take an off-island jaunt to explore Mayan ruins. A three-day stay runs about $5,000 per couple.
Take your perch nearly 2,700 feet above the Dan River in a luxurious Primland tree house, where the natural wonders of the Blue Ridge Mountains meld with high-end creature comforts, such as a soaking tub and 400-thread count Frette sheets. At the main lodge, the resort's observatory dome houses a massive telescope that takes stargazing to a new level. Other activities include golf, fishing, sporting clay shooting, ATV tours and sustainable wild game hunting. Tree house rates start at $550 a night.
You'll feel as if you've stepped into a movie set when you take in the views from luxury tents on the banks of the Blackfoot River in Montana. These safari-style retreats have electricity, fine art and modern amenities. Fall rates at the Paws Up River Camp start at $839 per person, per night, inclusive of all meals and transportation from the airport. The spa menu includes a Moose Drool massage and a Montana Gold Rush massage.
Autumn is a key time to find a "repositioning cruise" as many cruise lines move their ships for the season. These trips don't feature the normal shore excursions, but you'll get quality time at sea with the usual onboard amenities, meals and entertainment -- generally at a discount. Royal Caribbean, for example, has three ships traversing the ocean in November from Europe to various ports in the U.S. Serenade of the Seas sets sail from Barcelona on Nov. 27 for New Orleans with a starting price of $649 per person.
Did you see the bright ball of light in the sky Wednesday night? It's wasn't a meteorite or meteor, and it wasn't an alien from outer space coming to visit us. The bright light in the sky is actually more "earthly."