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Fall travel offers much more than just fall colors and leaf-peeping.  Travelers in search of great getaways will also find falling prices! The off-peak autumn season is often a great time to find bargains in the Caribbean, Mexico, Colorado, Las Vegas, and California. Fall is also the time for interesting special events at popular destinations. It’s just a matter of deciding where you want to go, when you want to go there, and what you want to see and do once there (including how you’ll spend the money you saved on airfare and accommodations!).

They definitely know how to celebrate in the Caribbean, with a wide variety of celebrations and events every fall. Whether you choose The Bahamas, St. Thomas (USVI), Jamaica, St. Maarten/St. Martin, Aruba, or some other tropical treasure, you’re sure to find an event (and a bargain) to suit your fall travel dreams.

One great resource for events and more is the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO). Their two websites (www.doitcaribbean.com and www.onecaribbean.org) have great listings for fall possibilities. Visitors will find a host of festivals, musical performances, and sports events around which its fun to plan a trip. An excellent search feature allows visitors to find events to match their special interests.

The Bahamas feature a host of events on the two major islands (New Providence/Paradise Island and Grand Bahama Island), as well as on the quieter, but increasingly popular Out Islands.  Grand Bahama’s Birding & Nature Festival, October 14-18, provides a perfect example of the possibilities, but virtually every island has one or more events this fall that make The Bahamas truly better than ever.

St. Thomas, in the United States Virgin Islands, it’s a boating haven. Many visitors choose to fly into St. Thomas, stay for a few days, and then go boating in the USVI and British Virgin Islands. The huge Charter Yacht Show, November 9-11, provides an excellent way to explore the possibilities. Many other musical and cultural events on St. Thomas (and also on St. John and St. Croix) make the USVI a great fall getaway.

With the Dutch/French combination of St. Maarten/St. Martin, visitors get twice the bang for their buck (or guilder and franc). Both sides of the island offer events throughout the fall, ranging from food to fun runs in the Caribbean sun.

Aruba has become a hotbed of varied events and the third annual Aruba Music Festival, October 8-9, provides a great example. The all-star line-up for this year includes Jackson Browne and John Mayer!

Over in Mexico, the festivals and special events never seem to stop, as locals and visitors alike say Si to great getaways south of the border! Food, music, culture, and more abound at a wide variety of possibilities nationwide, with dozens of options too numerous to mention. The country’s great website (www.visitmexico.com) provides a perfect portal to start planning for a Mexican getaway.

Of course, Las Vegas is an event (and a ongoing festival) all on its own--24 hours a day, 365 days a year. However, fall brings cooler temperatures and particularly hot deals to smart travelers--and good deals on getaways are never a gamble! As the Entertainment Capital of the World, Las Vegas hosts the world’s top entertainers in a wide variety of venues. In addition, arts and cultural events and attractions are giving casinos and resorts a run for their money when it comes to attracting visitors.

Up in Colorado, Denver is the place to be when it comes to celebrating this fall. The Great American Beer Festival, September 30 to October 2, is the largest celebration of suds in America, typically drawing more the 20,000 people from around the world! Not looking for a beer lover's dream getaway?  Denver offers many more attractions in the fall, including colorful aspens, mountains and rivers.

Last, but certainly not least--in California, it’s easy to fall for San Francisco, Los Angeles, and everything else in the Golden State. Both cities offer a wide array of ethnic festivals in the fall, making a visit to either area an international affair. Music lovers can jam to the 20th Anniversary San Francisco Jazz Festival, October 15 to November 7.

For those longing to see even more of California, rent a car and use a new booklet called The Best of California Drives. Available by calling (877) TOP DRIVE or visiting www.bestofcaliforniadrives.com, this California Travel and Tourism Commission publication features detailed maps, driving directions, and points of interest for a wide variety of California drives and events.

From the Caribbean to California, fall getaways can mean big fun for small prices. Just pick you place, your time, and start packing!