If you look at the walks index you can see there are several places I have gone back to time and again. It really comes down to partly where I was living at the time and/or comfort and connection with the area.
As I now live in North Carolina the easy close playground is the Southern Appalachians within a 4-5 hour drive from the house. Look for those favorite places there.
Big Bend National Park was my first immersion in the desert, it and the desert have remained a fixation for me ever since. I have now done 16 major trips there and have more big walks planned.
Southern Utah is the other desert landscape that holds my imagination. While I have done 3 hikes into the Grand Canyon it is the more human/intimate scale of the canyons and red rock country of Southern Utah that feels comfortable to me.