The Best Vacation Spots to Get Fit
From yoga retreats, to all-inclusive resorts, to family-friendly vacation destinations, we’ve rounded up the top healthy vacation destinations.
Best Place to Chill: Spa at ARIA, Las Vegas
Find sanctuary from the cha-ching of the slots at this 80,000-square-foot spa, where you can take your pick from six styles of facials and nine types of massages. There are 62 treatment rooms to host solace seekers, but much of this spa’s aah-inducing appeal lies in its outdoor and communal spaces. Read a book, take a dip, or soak in the Jacuzzi on the coed relaxation balcony that overlooks the resort’s three pools. Get a treatment in one of the poolside cabanas, or lounge in a heated Japanese stone bed in the Ganbanyoku room while your cares quickly melt away. (Rooms from $149; arialasvegas.com.)
Best Kid-Friendly Resort: Terranea Resort, Rancho Palos Verdes, California
From the Sesame Street set to Mom and Dad, every family member will be entertained at this oceanfront Los Angeles-area hotel. There’s 140 feet of twisting water slides, a poolside splash zone, and even a beach scavenger hunt for the younger kids. Visit the resort on a holiday or summer break and your 6- to 16-year-old can take part in one of Terranea’s creative camps, where young Spielbergs make movies and budding fashionistas design clothing. And while the kids are entertained, you can practice your stroke on the nine-hole golf course, hike on the property’s two miles of trails, indulge in a treatment at the spa, or relax at the adults-only pool. (Rooms from $300, five-day camps from $400; terranea.com.)
Best State for an Adventure: Maine
Thanks to its diverse landscape—more than 5,000 miles of coastline and 5,000-foot mountain peaks—Maine (conveniently called the “vacationland” state) offers getaway options for water rovers and landlubbers alike. The Appalachian Mountain Club recently opened a lodge close to Maine’s stretch of the Appalachian Trail, providing a refuge for hikers and snowshoers (from $134 per person, including meals; outdoors.org). You can also cross-country ski on the newly expanded Maine Huts & Trails route in the remote western mountains (from $75 per person, including breakfast and dinner; mainehuts.org). When the snow melts, sign up for a three-day retreat with Northern Outdoors. The trip pairs afternoon white-water rafting and hiking with morning and evening outdoor yoga sessions ($150, not including lodging; northernoutdoors .com).
Best Hotel for Staying Fit: Four Seasons Resort Hualalai
At this Big Island resort, you can take a yoga class on the lawn with a view of the ocean or lift weights on a patio that overlooks a tropical garden—and then cool off in the locker room’s outdoor lava-rock shower. Indoors, a 15,000-square-foot space houses three gyms and two fitness studios. From ab sculpting to dance, the club offers seven group sessions per day ($15 each), plus has an outdoor rock-climbing wall and basketball, volleyball, and tennis courts. You can also blast calories in the lap pool, walk or run on the ocean-side path, or chill out in the garden’s soaking tub. (Rooms from $625; fourseasons.com.)
Best Fitness Getaway: Big Sky Yoga Retreats
Take your yoga skills from the mat to the saddle on a three- or five-day Cowgirl Yoga retreat. Each trip hosts a maximum of 12 women and combines one or two daily yoga sessions with up to five hours of caring for horses and riding on the range. The yoga-equine connection is twofold: Yoga improves flexibility in your hips, helping you feel more comfortable and relaxed in the saddle, and it increases your awareness, so you can more easily connect with a horse. In addition to the equine experience, Big Sky hosts other trips that combine yoga with activities like hiking and skiing. (From $895 per person, including meals, activities, and lodging; bigskyyogaretreats.com.)
Best Reason to Pack a Bikini: Amangiri, Lake Powell, Utah
Chilling out in Utah’s canyon country used to mean sipping a beer at a campsite, but this new resort has changed that. The 34-room hotel is arranged around an L-shaped pool that borders an 80-foot-high rock formation dated at 165 million years old. You can swim 102 feet in one direction, relax in a poolside daybed, or unwind in the adjacent hot tub without ever taking an eye off the sandstone bluffs around you. It’s not the only pool on property, either: The spa sports an indoor saline pool, which allows you to float in a meditative state ($75 for 30 minutes). Pack more than one swimsuit! (Rooms from $850; amanresorts.com.)
Best Place to Truly Escape: Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska
Nowadays it’s tough to find a vacation spot where the boss can’t reach you, but eluding the office is easy at the Kenai Fjords Glacier Lodge. Located in the 700,000-acre Kenai Fjords National Park (130 miles south of Anchorage), Glacier has 16 log cabins with all the comforts of home—such as cozy bedding and a private deck—but no TVs, cell phone reception, or Internet access. Paddle one of the lodge’s kayaks with a guide across the lagoon while looking out for sea otters, harbor seals, and eagles. Or stroll along a nature trail, taking in the view of the Pedersen Glacier as you catch glimpses of black bears and an array of birds along the water. (From $650 per person per night, including lodging, meals, most activities, and boat transfers between the mainland; kenaifjordsglacierlodge.com.)
Best New Vacation Trend: Locavore Lodgings
Restaurants have long touted links to local food producers, and hotels are now following suit, with Fairmont Hotels & Resorts leading the charge. The Fairmont Turnberry Isle near Miami grows its veggies and fruit in an on-site garden; the Fairmont Acapulco Princess in Mexico buys its cheeses from a local orphanage’s farm; and the Fairmont Vancouver Airport can trace all of its organic produce within 19 miles of the hotel. And that chain isn’t alone: The new LEED-certified Ritz- Carlton, Charlotte, serves honey and produce from its beehives and rooftop garden; and the Hermitage Hotel in Nashville planted an off-site farm to supply its restaurant with heirloom veggies (fairmont.com; ritzcarlton.com; thehermitagehotel.com).
Best All-Inclusive Resort: Sandals Emerald Bay, Bahamas
This new 500-acre resort raises the bar on the “all-inclusive” concept with more amenities. There are no extra fees for activities like the introductory golf clinic, unlimited scuba dives, group- fitness classes, and use of the resort’s kayaks and tennis courts. Plus, you’ll be assigned a butler who’s on call 24/7 to set up your tee times, plate your in-room meals, and even (talk about luxury!) draw you a bath. (From $680 per person per night; sandals.com.)
Best Way to Cruise: Royal Caribbean Allure of the Seas
Touring the Caribbean from its base in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, the 16-deck vessel has seven themed areas, including a 25,000-square-foot spa and fitness center. Work up a sweat in the health club—which features more than 150 cardio and strength machines and a group fitness studio—or work out on-deck instead. The Allure has an outdoor 0.43-mile running track, two climbing walls, a lap pool, and regularly scheduled volleyball, basketball, and soccer games. What’s more, two neighboring restaurants exclusively serve low- calorie, healthful cuisine (the other 22 dining spots each offer several options under 500 calories on their menus)— so your lunch won’t negate all the burning you did in the gym! (Seven- night cruises from $729 per person, double occupancy; royalcaribbean.com.)