POLAR BEAR CAPITAL. The town of Churchill, on the shore of Hudson Bay in northern Manitoba, Canada, offers prime polar-bear watching in October and November, when these northern giants are awaiting passage on Arctic ice floes, which for them are a way to reach their prey. Churchill Wild (www.churchillwild.com; 1-888-326-7325) offers a four-night all-inclusive package called the Great Ice Bear Tour for $3,268 per person. It uses tundra buggies to transport guests to tidal trails to observe bears.
Changing seasons: the company offers a ""Birds, Bears and Belugas"" package from mid-July to mid-August.
FALL COLORS. The Ogden Canyon/Monte Cristo area is among the top 10 spots in the nation for beautiful fall foliage, according to the Web site local.msn.com/special/fallfoliage2004.asp. The others are Mount Greylock (Appalachian) near Lansborough, Mass.; Athens, Ga., to the North Carolina border; Blue Ridge Parkway near Asheville, N.C.; Killington, Vt.; Mount Monadnock near Jeffrey, N.H.; Multnomah Falls on the Oregon side of the Columbia River Gorge; Red Wing, Minn.; Rhinebeck, N.Y.; and Starved Rock State Park near Utica, Ill.
SPEAKING OF FALL FOLIAGE . . . Virginia has plenty to offer. The state's Fall Foliage Leaf Line is 1-800-242-LOVE (5683). Information is also available on the Web at www.fallinvirginia.org. Shenandoah National Park is considered one of the top 10 national parks for viewing fall foliage. Generally, the state's far western regions peak Oct. 10-20; the mountains, Oct. 15-25; the Piedmont area Oct. 20-31.
ALL ABOUT DURANGO. This southwestern Colorado town is considered one of the top sports spots in the country. The Durango Area 2004-05 Vacation Guide can tell you all about it. It's free. 800-436-8726; www.durango.org.