Traditional vacations can leave you feeling unhealthier than ever when you get home—whether you’ve overindulged in the local cuisine, sampled too much nightlife, or simply spent too much time sitting while in transit. So this year, why not come back rejuvenated instead of drained with one of these vacation-worthy fitness getaways?
These vacation retreats promise to change your mindset, prolong your life-span, and give you the foundation you need to help you live a healthier life.
If the word “safari” conjures up images of sitting in a jeep all day, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by Volcanoes Safaris, which takes travelers on gorilla trekking tours in Uganda and Rwanda. The gorillas live in thick forests, up steep mountains, and in other places inaccessible by vehicle, so be prepared to walk a lot. Charlotte Pokoik, who represents Volcanoes Safaris, advises, “Depending on where your gorilla family is located, the hike to get to them can take anywhere between 2 and 6 hours! Many parts of the hike are through thick forest at heights of up to 3,000 meters and visitors will be traversing steep-sided mountains and ravines so it’s definitely a work out.” The once-in-a-lifetime experience of seeing these majestic creatures in the wild should be workout motivation enough to get in shape for the trip.
On Foot Holidays
Leave the tourist-packed tour buses behind and get off-the-beaten path with On Foot Holidays fitness getaways. You’ll walk from hotel to hotel (your luggage is transferred for you each day), so you can indulge in the local cuisine guilt-free, knowing that you have an eight-hour workout ahead of you on some days. Choose from classic European destinations like Austria, England, France, Germany, Greece, Spain, the Czech Republic, or Italy; or check out new hot spots like Bulgaria, Croatia, or Slovenia.
Telluride Live Longer Retreats
Many fitness getaways claim to change your life, but how many of them could actually help you live longer? That’s the premise behind Live Longer Retreats, at The Peaks Resort & Spa in Telluride, Colorado. The six-night program promises to “teach you medically based ways to prolong your life”through meetings with personal trainers, physicians, dieticians, and more.
Safari Surf Adventures
If you’re looking for fitness getaways that will change both your body and mind, try a surf camp like Safari Surf Adventures. These lessons take place all over the world in surfing paradises like Australia, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica, and will teach you valuable skills that you can use once you’re back in the real world. The company writes, “Blending breath work – learning how to control your breath in uncomfortable situations, building a core mental approach to situations in the surf that once had you handcuffed will unleash your potential not only in surfing, but also in all stress type situations in life.”
Hilton Head Health
Sure, anyone can lose weight when they’re isolated at a fitness retreat having healthy meals cooked for them and plenty of free time to exercise. But it can be a lot harder if you want to keep that wholesome lifestyle going once you leave. That’s why Hilton Head Health gives attendees the tools to succeed long after their fitness getaway, by giving them seminars on healthy cooking, portion control in restaurants, and stress management.
World Bicycle Relief Ride
Get in shape, help others, and see Italy—it’s a win-win. If you join World Bicycle Relief/Tourissimo’s Appenninica tour, you’ll be responsible for raising $2,000, which will be used to buy 14 bikes for students, healthcare workers, and entrepreneurs in rural Zambia. Your bike ride will traverse the scenic Alta Via dei Parchi in the Apennine Mountains; and along the way, you’ll get to sample local delicacies from the famous Emilia Romagna region, including lasagna, tortellini, prosciutto di Parma, and more (so maybe you won’t get too in shape).
BodyHoliday Saint Lucia
The BodyHoliday, an all-inclusive resort in Saint Lucia, has a bold slogan: Give us your body for a week and we’ll give you back your mind. You can literally give BodyHoliday part of your body with its new Villa Firefly’s Weight Loss Retreat, which asks participants to give a DNA sample before arriving so that a custom plan can be designed based on biology.
Outward Bound isn’t just for teenagers—it also has expeditions for adults (aged 30 and above) that are designed to teach participants a new skills and a sense of self-reliance. The courses feature everything from dogsledding to sea kayaking, and will leave you feeling like you can handle anything that comes your way.
Adventure Life Iceland Trek
If you like the idea of challenging yourself to a multi-day hike, but dread the thought of sleeping in a tent, you should try a hut-to-hut trek, like the ones offered by Adventure Life in Iceland. On this fitness getaway, you’ll hike for four to seven hours every day, but at night, you’ll get to sleep indoors in one of the huts along the trail.
Get a killer arm workout and see parts of Cuba that most tourists don’t with Cuba Unbound’s Kayak Tour. You’ll paddle a sea kayak on the Bay of Pigs, through Zapata National Park, and inside the Guanaroca Nature Reserve. No kayaking experience is required for this trip, as you’ll have lots of time to practice (and plenty of patient guides).
More from SmarterTravel:
- 8 Ways to Use a Fitness Tracker When You Travel
- 10 Best Workout Clothes and Tools for Travel
- 10 Hotel Room Exercises You Can Do Without Any Workout Gear
Caroline Morse Teel’s New Year’s resolution is to go to more fitness getaways. Caroline on Instagram @TravelWithCaroline to see her journeys around the world.
We hand-pick everything we recommend and select items through testing and reviews. Some products are sent to us free of charge with no incentive to offer a favorable review. We offer our unbiased opinions and do not accept compensation to review products. All items are in stock and prices are accurate at the time of publication. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.