Need to get away? But don’t want to come back home and need a health vacation after your vacation? Yeah me too. We’ve all been there.
Well, a few years back I started going on an annual fitness vacation (retreat) to get away from it all, cleanse, recharge, push my fitness level, all while enjoying an outdoor fitness adventure. Every year I go someplace new and challenge myself with the goal of getting more fit and focused, eating better and losing weight. Since I love to travel, love fitness and am always up for a new outdoor adventure. This annual retreat has become my favorite week of the year. I come back happier, healthier, fit and stress-free. On one trek, which involved lots of speed hiking up some steep peaks, (and yes very healthy meals and no alcohol) I lost 15 pounds in 5 days on “vacation,” and I loved it!
So, as we head into the winter months, we ALL would love to get away, get fitter and healthier -maybe shed a couple lbs.- for the New Year and have a fun fitness vacation adventure. Why not? Go ahead treat yourself, go on vacation and let fitness take you away on an adventure! You and your body will be glad you did.
Now, where to you ask? If you are looking for a fitness vacation destination and are up for a new adventure, here are my Fantastic 4 Adventure Fitness Vacation Spots, both far and near. [*And a bonus #5 – my (cross-my-fingers) fitness vacation destination for 2013!]
Red Mountain Resort & Spa: Ivins, Utah (in the Red Mountains) – “Voted #1 Travel Destination Spa”
- Fitness Favorite: Wow. So many to choose from. This place gives you a fitness, outdoor adventure, gym/pool workout DAILY MENU! Amazing. I loved the adventure hikes at a fast pace up in the Red Mountains. Great workout and such amazing views. But I think hiking The Narrows out in Zion National Park might take the cake. Although yoga at sunset in the Red Mountains was pretty incredible too.
- Food Favorite: The food is out of this world here and prepared by top chefs! All meals are prepared for you in a dining hall setting and it’s ALL healthy and you can dine inside or out on the patio looking out at the Red Mountains. (Yes, that’s the view!). They offer tons of great cooking classes and demonstrations too. My favorite would have to be the dinners, or the smoothie bar after workouts. FIVE+ STARS. BONUS: meals are all-inclusive too!
- Fun Favorite: The pool exercise/fitness classes were great fun, challenging and were a good fitness balance for me with the tough hikes and yoga/fitness classes. I was training for a triathlon when I was there, so the pool sessions really helped me and shredded my core. The classes were a good compliment to the hikes, treks and fitness class but fun and challenging too. (Look, the pools are amazing.)
Coastal Trek Resort: Comox Valley, British Columbia – Canada (on Vancouver Island) – “Find Health Inside and Out”
- Fitness Favorite: Again, just too many to choose from. But the scenic and challenging hikes with Shayne were simply incredible and kicked my butt! We ran up and down the mountains on our hikes! Loved it. Also jumped off cliffs into some fresh mountain pools to cool off. That’s optional. We were a bit crazy. Thankfully, the daily post-hike deep tissue massages and morning yoga brought me back to life – both are included. (Added fitness bonus for me was being introduced to Bikram Yoga by Shayne on my last day. We went to Bikram after a morning hike and yoga class mind you. Had THE best smoothie of my life in Comox after the class. Never felt so healthy!)
- Food Favorite: The food is homemade and just amazing! It’s all healthy and made to order for your diet, and includes cooking classes. Andrea is a wonderful cook and puts a lot of love and thought into every healthy meal. You get healthy packed lunches for your hikes! FIVE+ STARS. BONUS: meals are all-inclusive too!
- Fun Favorite: Relaxing in the hot tub at night looking down from the lodge at the Comox River and across to Vancouver. Such a relaxing and peaceful setting just watching cruise ships go by on their way to Alaska. Serenity now. It’s so quiet there, you will sleep like a baby.
NEAR ~ The Breakwater Inn & Spa: Kennebunkport, Maine (on the Kennebunk River) – “Maine, The Way Life Should Be”
- Fitness Favorite: The Sports Massage in the Spa. Really hit the spot after a circuit workout followed by a long scenic run around Kennebunkport. One of the best massages I’ve ever had! I kept going back to the Spa for more. Staff was professional and welcoming.
- Food Favorite: The breakfast buffet by the Kennebunk River. Simple, yet hearty and healthy breakfast fare. It was peaceful and quiet by the river. I sat by the shore in an Adirondack chair every morning with breakfast, coffee and paper. No better way to start the day. Stripers Seafood Restaurant (at the Inn) is a winner too for fresh-off-the boat fish and sunset dining.
- Fun Favorite: Walking around and exploring Kennebunkport and the village shops and restaurants. Beautiful beaches too. Had awesome Fried Clams for lunch one day at the world-famous Clam Shack. (I know, fried food… had to indulge once on vacation).
FAR ~ Australia “Oz”: Melbourne & Cairns (Apollo Bay & Great Barrier Reef) – “Have A Go, Mate!”
- Fitness Favorite: Where to begin? The whole country’s culture is focused on a fitness lifestyle! They LOVE their fitness down under. I love it there (and have been back 5 times). I was lucky enough to learn how to surf in Melbourne down at Apollo Bay with Darrin and crew at Apollo Bay Surf & Kayak. The waves are perfect to learn on but it is a serious full-body workout! I surfed all day until I dropped. You can kayak out to the seals at Apollo Bay too. A VERY close fitness second would be snorkeling and scuba diving at the Great Barrier Reef off Cairns. Just the catamaran ride out to the reef is worth it, and a workout alone. Yes, we swam with sharks there. No big deal.
- Food Favorite: Aussie food takes some getting used to but down at Apollo Bay, you have to hit the Bakery for some “pies” after a day at the beach. I recommend the Curry Beef pies and a chocolate milk to re-hydrate. Up at Cairns, we dined on fresh seafood and local fruits and veggies on the boat while anchored at the Great Barrier Reef. That’s dining in style. A G’day!
- Fun Favorite: Everything is fun there. Still, one of the best days I’ve had there was actually on a rainy day after surfing and kayaking the day before at Apollo Bay. We went to a Vineyard or two and did some wine-tasting and a tour at Domain Chandon outside of Melbourne. Ok, not so healthy, I know. But we followed it up with a full afternoon at a Swedish Day Spa and Hot Spring to refresh and rejuvenate from surfing. We paid $25 and had full use of all spa services for 1/2 day. My favorite was the hot spring bath. It was ahhhhhhhmazing.
*Hawley Mountain Guest Ranch/Wellness Vacation: McLeod, Montana (a real dude ranch, just north of Yellowstone)
- Fitness Favorite: My guess is that I’ll love horseback riding, City Slickers-style. I have never been and it’s a bucket list item for me and hear it’s quite a core workout. Hawley Ranch is a guest dude ranch, but also features a wellness vacation option, which includes yoga, massage, guided hikes, etc. That’s my kind of fitness adventure out on the open range! Can’t wait to go west.
- Food Favorite: That’s easy. They have “cowboy cookouts” every evening by an open fire. Count me in! Cowboys know good eating.
- Fun Favorite: Either the scenic boat float down Yellowstone River will be my favorite, or the fly-fishing. Both sound perfect right now. I wanna get away, but maybe I’ll wait for the snow to melt in big sky country. Then, I’ll Cowboy-up!