Festival Fun

8 summer festivals worth the jaunt out of town

8 summer festivals worth the jaunt out of town

When it comes to vacation, some people seek rest and relaxation. Others need a little more action while they're away. If you fall in the latter group, check out these summer festivals around the Southwest.

Telluride, Colorado
This town is laid-back and a little bit hippie, with a love of good food and outdoor fun. Although it may be famous as a ski resort, there's something happening just about every week in the summer.

Check out the Telluride Yoga Festival going on July 10-13; this yoga retreat held in the spectacular mountain setting features world-renowned instructors, intimate class sizes, meditation sessions and guest lecturers. The festival has been going on since 2007 and attracts more than 700 participants each year. If you're a music lover, the Ride Festival (July 11-13) has a thoughtfully curated program of Americana and rock music, as well as soon-to-break new talent.

Where to Stay: Hotel Madeline is a luxurious yet comfortable hotel befitting its location in Mountain Village. Nestled up above the town of Telluride, the hotel is easily accessible via the free public gondola system — and you get amazing views to boot.

Las Cruces, New Mexico
If wine is your thing, you might be interested in checking out Las Cruces, nestled in the Mesilla Valley between the Organ Mountains and the Rio Grande River. Over Labor Day weekend (August 30-September 1), the New Mexico Wine Harvest Festival takes place, and Las Cruces celebrates with wine tastings, grape stompings, live entertainment, wine seminars and children's activities.

The Mesilla Valley is also the chile capital of the world, so consider popping into the Hatch Chile Festival, which is held the same weekend. White Sands National Monument is less than an hour away (with a hot-air balloon and film festival in September), and the area is known for its top-notch golf.

Where to Stay: Hotel Encanto is situated around a cozy courtyard overlooking the striking valley. The hotel exudes Spanish Colonial grandeur; its special wine weekend getaways make it even more attractive for oenophiles.

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
With a brand-new tourism publicity campaign, a lot of people are taking a second look at Oklahoma City. For those who love literature, the Oklahoma Storytelling Festival from August 21-23 is the place to be. For more than 30 years, this must-attend festival has celebrated the art of storytelling with special performances, nationally acclaimed storytellers, workshops and more.

The city's arts reputation is also gaining notoriety with more than 250 museums, including the Contemporary Arts Center, Oklahoma City Museum of Art and the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum.

Where to Stay: The Bricktown neighborhood downtown is the spot to be these days. The Aloft hotel, with all the typical hip Aloft decor and features, is located within walking distance of top museums, restaurants and other city attractions.

Marfa, Texas
If you want to stay in the Lone Star State, head west to Marfa. The now-famous film festival is going on through July 6, when the remote landscape made famous in the film Giant will host 48 films from 17 different countries, including shorts, features and music videos. This film fest attracts international press, industry professionals and talented filmmakers from around the world. In September is the equally famous Trans-Pecos Music Festival (September 25-28).

Where to Stay: El Cosmico is a groovy combination of vintage trailers, teepees and camping grounds from Austin's Liz Lambert, whose Bunkhouse Group manages the Hotel San Jose Hotel and Hotel Saint Cecilia. The 18 acres of nomadic grounds includes lots of communal space and an outdoor stage, and it hosts the Trans-Pecos Music Festival.

Tucson, Arizona
Just 40 minutes outside of Tucson, in another gorgeous mountain setting, is the Canyon Ranch resort. Though it's known for offering hundreds of classes, workshops and culinary experiences every month of the year, in July there is a special Canyon Ranch Cooks event.

Guests can enhance their cooking skills under the mentorship of both Canyon Ranch chefs and celebrity chef Carla Hall, co-host of The Chew. July 6-12, participants take part in diverse professional demonstrations and hands-on lessons on practical skills and techniques. At the same time, they can take advantage of all the other fitness, spa and spiritual offerings the resort has on the schedule.

Where to Stay: The beauty of this event is that it's all on-location at Canyon Ranch. Celebrating its 35th anniversary this year, this is one of Arizona's original health and wellness resorts featuring upscale guest rooms set on 150 magical acres in the Sonoran Desert.

El Cosmico in Marfa
Funky El Cosmico hosts the Trans-Pecos Music Festival in Marfa. Photo by Andrew Collins
Austin Photo Set: News_Jessica_Telluride_sep 2012_1
Visit Telluride in July for the Yoga Festival or Ride Festival. Photo by Jessica Dupuy
Canyon Ranch in Tucson Arizona
Canyon Ranch is hosting the Canyon Ranch Cooks event in July. Canyon Ranch/Facebook