There’s something about using our vacation days that makes us loosen up—way up—on our otherwise healthy habits. Whether we’re downing margaritas and guacamole by the beach or overdoing the “après” in après-ski, some of our past trips have taken a bit of a toll on our mental and physical health—in addition to our bank accounts.
So this summer we vowed to book a healthy getaway that doesn’t require cleaning out the savings account. We looked for vacation spots with a variety fitness activities offered at all levels of intensity, staff properly trained to teach those activities, plenty of healthy food options, and at least a four-star rating on Trip Advisor—all for $150 a night or less. (For more on our metrics, see the end of the article.)
We happily found 18 ideal solutions that offer a fitness-focused trip to remember. Whether you’re an all-around athlete, adrenaline junkie, or more into mindfulness, you’re sure to find your ideal active escape among these unforgettable options.
It’s a runner’s paradise at this resort, where visitors will find incredible trails in the foothills of Arizona’s Santa Catalina Mountains. For an oh-so-reasonable price, guests will have everything they need to be active at their fingertips, including group fitness classes, a fully equipped gym, tennis courts, pools, and a nearby world-class golf course. And runners will appreciate the resort’s complimentary running concierge, who leads runs in the early morning and evening to beat the desert heat. Cool off post-run in one of their five pools, then re-hydrate with fresh juices and smoothies from the juice bar.
Rates: Starting at $89, including a $50 food and beverage credit for two-night minimum stays
Cool perk: Forget your running clothes? No problem! Thanks to Westin’s New Balance Gear Lending program, you can borrow any needed workout attire (shoes included) for a mere $5.
Striking warrior III on the beach while watching the sun rise, accompanied by the sound of ocean waves… It may sound like a far-off (and unaffordable) pipe dream for most land-locked yogis, but thanks to this company, it can be your reality. They offer customizable retreats for yogis of any level in a casual, eco-friendly lodge on the beaches of Tulum (you can also check out options in Greece, Morocco, and other exotic locales). The five-night retreats include two daily yoga practices, daily breakfast and lunch, and optional activities like SUP yoga and spa services. At night, you can unplug and unwind or head into town and dance with the locals. This is a great choice for solo travelers, as you’re practically guaranteed to make friends at the group meals and classes.
Rates: Starting at $945 for five-night retreats
Cool perk: Mexican food fans can take a cooking class with a professional local chef to learn to create their own handmade tortillas, salsa, ceviche, and empanadas.
Learn more about how to practice beach yoga.
Up for adventure? Look no further than this one-of-a-kind “action sports resort.” Started in 2009 by two brothers from Canada, the spot is perfect for adrenaline junkies seeking a South American surfing experience with a little scuba diving, skateboarding, rock climbing, and paintballing on the side. Soon-to-be surfers will enjoy an all-inclusive vacation with free meals, drinks (beers and rum punches included), and transportation to the beach and town. And for just $25, your surf lesson includes a board rental, transportation, and a one-hour tutorial from a local pro surfer—according to the resort’s website, you’ll stand up the first day! If you have enough energy after a day of sun and surfing, check out the area’s celebrated nightlife scene.
Rates: All-inclusive packages start at $80
Cool perk: As if the resort’s activity options weren’t enough, there are tons of local experiences to add on to your trip like zip lining, turtle tours, and yoga classes.
The stunning turquoise waters of Bear Lake are rivaled only by the Caribbean seas. And on its shore sits this brand new ranch with luxury campsites for an outdoors adventure like no other. Rent a covered wagon for a true Old West feel, or opt for a deluxe tent that sleeps two to eight people and comes equipped with beds, linens, and rugs. Want to experience true “glamping”? Choose the version that offers electricity, a mini-fridge, and en-suite bathrooms. (All tents feature a private fire pit.) Work off those s’mores the next day by hiking, mountain biking, or horseback riding. Or head into the inviting waters of Bear Lake, which provide the perfect place to sail, ski, scuba, or jet ski.
Rates: Starting at $68
Cool perk: Enjoy live entertainment every Friday night and a rodeo performance by cowboy athletes from nearby Bear Lake Rodeo on Saturdays.
Located on Mirror Lake in the Adirondack Mountains, this environmentally conscious resort provides the perfect playground for multi-sport athletes (it’s set in the heart of the legendary Lake Placid Ironman course). You can get in a swim, hike the Adirondacks, and bike the trails of Whiteface Mountain Bike Park all in one day. The pristine lake, which has a no-motor rule to keep it quiet and clean, offers stand-up paddle boarding, leisurely swimming, kayaking, rowing, and canoeing. In the winter, the resort’s first-floor rooms provide a ski-in/ski-out experience, and you can even take a dogsled ride when Mirror Lake freezes over.
Rates: Starting at $99
Cool perk: Nearby is the Herb Brooks Arena, the site of the 1980 Winter Olympics—the year that Team USA famously defeated Russia to bring home the ice hockey gold. Also check out Whiteface Mountain’s Olympic Experience Passport, which includes access to different Olympic facilities and discounts on sports like bobsledding, ski jumping, and tubing.
Peaceful and serene, this mountaintop yoga retreat in the hills of Tennessee provides everything guests need to improve their practice, calm their mind, and simply relax. Choose from a variety of accommodations at any price range, from dorm-style rooms to individual studios, and your stay also includes two vegetarian meals and a snack. And newbies shouldn’t feel the need to nail side crow before booking your trip—the yoga classes are offered at every level, from beginner to advanced, and you can also take a course on meditation or a healthy cooking class. Venture outside the classroom to explore the surrounding 1,400 acres of forest, beautiful waterfalls, creeks, and bluff overlooks, as well as five miles of mountain biking trails.
Rates: Starting at $55 for semi-private rooms
Cool perk: If you’re equally into WODs and down dogs, the center is also a short scenic drive (45 minutes) from Cookeville, Tennessee, home of the Fittest Man on Earth and CrossFit champion Rich Froning. You can take a tour of his box (CrossFit lingo for gym) and quaint hometown.
Have you ever seen a pink beach in real life? Consider visiting Eleuthera in The Bahamas.
A note on the metrics: This article was written in June 2015 and some of the rates or information may have changed. To pick these stand-out vacation spots, we looked for diversity of fitness activities offered, range of intensity levels of those activities, and staff professionally trained to teach those activities. We also factored in the availability of healthy food and relaxation services such as spa treatments and massages. Lastly all sites had to have at least a four-star Trip Advisor rating and rates at $150 per night.
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