Top 10 Healthy Vacation Destinations

Article posted in: Lifestyle
Beautiful beach with bag at Seychelles

Summertime means a getaway for most people and a chance to show off all that hard work you’ve put into getting fit and trim. Starting your week in a bikini doesn’t mean you have to end it in a mu-mu. Sure, lounging on the beach can be relaxing, but why spend a week getting a view of the back of your eyelids? Check out these healthy vacations that will kick your summer into the stratosphere and get your temperature rising with amazing activities.

1. A Spa Retreat in Vermont
Are you ready to de-stress, get in touch with your body and learn to love taking care of you? With packages on the website ranging from a two-day mini-vacation to an 11-day weight loss retreat, New Life Hiking Spa’s rates start as low as $229 and include your stay, “gourmet meals and nutritious snacks,” hiking for all levels of skill, fitness classes and a massage or facial for every three nights you stay (and you might need some muscle kneading after those hikes). And hey, any vacation that makes time for afternoon massages and naps is A-OK!

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2. Horseback Riding in Ireland
If you love animals and coastal breezes, horseback riding is a great way to get in some exercise while seeing the beautiful coast of Ireland. Equitours offers an 8-day, 7-night vacation that includes five days of riding, all but two dinners and two lunches and tours of historic castles. This vacation is for riders with some experience and starts at $1,440, according to the website.

If you’re a beginner and aren’t up for international travel, look for tours in the U.S. Spending a week on a dude ranch sounds less romantic than riding the “part of Ireland immortalized by the poet W.B. Yeats,” but it doesn’t sound any less fun!

3. Kayaking in Yellowstone
Enjoy the diverse ecosystem in Yellowstone National Park while getting away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. America’s first national park boasts wildlife, waterfalls, geysers and breathtaking views. With REI Adventures, you get four days of at-your-own-pace kayaking, entry to the park, camping (most gear included) and “daily high energy, healthy snacks” for packages starting at $799, according to the website.

Surrounded by nature, you’ll get to see what early settlers fell in love with when they explored the continental U.S. and you won’t even realize you’re exercising on vacation!

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4. Surfing in Costa Rica
Costa Rica is a country rich with lush rainforests, colorful wildlife and coastlines fit for a tropical paradise. There is tons to do in Costa Rica from taking any number of nature hikes while learning about the native flora and fauna, zip lining through the jungle, fishing for your dinner or surfing the waves off the coast of Santa Teresa!

With Lucero Surf Retreats, you can choose a package that includes accommodations, breakfast and lunch, one dinner, a massage, surf gear and eight surfing lessons for a week or, if you’re looking to give surfing a try while exploring other parts of Costa Rica, a day. Some packages even include yoga if you’re looking for a little zen after hanging 10. Weekly package prices start at $1,825, but if you go during the “Green” (rainy) season, for a discounted package rate “the waves are always better, it’s not as crowded and everything looks so much more beautiful after a little bit of rain,” according to the website.

5. Biking and Hiking in Alaska
Not for the faint-at-heart, Backroad’s Alaskan Kenai Peninsula Multisport Adventure Tour offers walking, hiking and kayaking for those who prefer sleeping in a tent to an in-room massage. Packages start at $2,998 on the website and include meals, campsites and an expert to show you America’s last frontier as you bike, hike and kayak through it.

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6. Skiing or Snowboarding a Volcano in Oregon
Just because its summer doesn’t mean you have to trade powder-covered mountains for sandy beaches. “We’re the only ski area in North America that’s open all 12 months of the year,” Timberline’s website claims. “We’ve got 3,690 vertical feet…more than anybody else in the US Pacific Northwest. We’re located near the top of an 11,245-foot volcano…the tallest mountain in Oregon.”

And for you movie buffs, Timberline Lodge is a National Historic Landmark and the location of Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 film “The Shining.” If you should decide to “come and play,” it won’t be “forever and ever and ever” – you can decide how long you want to stay. After all, “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.”

7. Get Pampered by America’s Neighbor to the North
You’ll be singing “O Canada!” after recharging your batteries like Hollywood royalty. If you’re looking to try Tonic Cuisine or intricate spa services, give Spa Eastman a ring and try out the spa in the Eastern Townships or the urban spa in Montreal. The spa’s website offers options from one treatment to 14 days of luxury. For $158, take an evening off to soak in the Nordic baths, have a healthy dinner and relax with a massage. Try a destination spa package with accommodations (starting at $199) or, if you really want some “me time,” try Cocooning and enjoy two nights away, six spa meals, a massage and use of the baths. That package starts at $483.

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8. Take a Cruise
Yes, the average person eats 6,000 calories a day on a cruise and gains five to 10 pounds, but you aren’t average. You’re extraordinary. Take advantage of the activities offered by cruise lines like Royal Caribbean: indoor skydiving, bumper cars, surf simulators, circus school, rock climbing walls, funky fitness classes, music and dancing.

Forget the booze. Who wants to be hungover on a ship? Have you heard friends brag about ordering two lobsters at dinner and trying three entrees in one night? The wait staff and kitchen are really accommodating… if you ask for a half-portion of your dinner, you can get it!

Food is always available on a cruise – pretty much around the clock – but a Facebook photo of you line dancing is a lot more interesting than a picture of a plate. Say “no thank you” to 2 a.m. pizza and dance yourself silly in one of the ship’s bars or nightclubs.

And when you disembark at your ports of call, you’ll think of nothing else than exploring a wonderful, new vacation spot. You can even try scuba diving! The possibilities are endless.

9. Get Your “Ohm” on at a Yoga Retreat
Not all yoga is sitting in silence or twisting yourself into a pretzel. Yoga can be fun and it’s a very popular activity for people of all ages. If you’ve tried yoga and are looking to destress, recharge and emerge from your vacation ready to take on the world, a yoga-cation might be the way to go. If you only have time for a weekend getaway, look at yoga festivals like Wanderlust. Ready to up your yogi-game? Try Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat in The Bahamas. Connect your mind and body with daily yoga classes, vegetarian meals and other peaceful activities. Summertime rates are only $18 a day for the yoga retreats. Room and board prices vary depending on your choice of accommodations and length of stay.

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10. Plan a Stay-cation
Not everyone can afford to get away, but the majority of stay-cations end up being full of favors for family, feeding frenzies with friends, Netflix and delivery or just plain old housework. Commit yourself to having the best stay-cation ever by planning some fun activities in advance.

Step one: Lock away your electronics. Candy Crush can wait.

Step two: Armed with fun, new recipes, grocery shop for adventures in produce and lean meats. Never had time to cook after work? Always wanted to try that whole foods store that opened last year? Never grilled your own mahi-mahi? Now’s your chance!

Step three: Plan daytrips or other activities. Want to spend a day on the local beach? Pack a bathing suit-friendly picnic lunch and tone your gluts with a walk in the sand. Set up camp for the day at a nearby state park where you can swim, fish, bike, paddleboat, take nature walks or try other activities. (Move over s’mores. Grilled pineapple is the summer campfire treat now). Always wanted to try that wall climbing place that opened up downtown? Go for it! Do all the cool things around your city that you never have time for when you’re in the 9-to-5 rat race time warp. Even just acting like a tourist for the afternoon with a stop at a Yelp-favored sushi space or a highly recommended vegan restaurant can be fun. And yes, they do still make those cameras that are just cameras and don’t play the Cha-Cha Slide every time your mom calls. Don’t think you can stay off your iPhone or avoid picking up that shirt at the dry cleaners? Take your stay-cation with someone who will keep you honest!

*All pricing information and package details taken from company websites in May 2016.