The 17 Most Amazing Fitness Vacations of 2014
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Lounging around under the sun’s tropical rays with a sugary cocktail in one hand and a gossip mag in the other isn’t everyone’s idea of an amazing vacation. Don’t get us wrong; we all need rest and relaxation, but sometimes, there’s no better way to recharge than getting a move on—especially when we spend most of our days feeling chained to a desk chair.
Sometimes, there’s no better way to recharge than getting a move on.
Whether you’re looking for a weekend getaway, an all-inclusive retreat, or a fit family vacation spot, and regardless of whether you’re an outdoor adventurer, a gym rat, or someone seeking the mind-body connection, we’ve got a trip for you. Even if you can’t afford to go just yet (We know; some of these boast a hefty price tag), you can still draw inspiration from (and drool over) these whole-body vacays—and maybe open up a dedicated savings account so you can go in person in the future.
To select these 17 stand-out vacation spots, we considered several factors:
- Availability and diversity of fitness programming
- Availability of individual fitness classes and active excursions
- Accessibility for a range of activity levels, from leisurely to intense
- Availability of healthy, customizable meals meeting various dietary restrictions
- Availability of relaxation services such as spa treatments and massages
- Diversity of locations
- Availability of specialized staff trained in featured fitness activities
- Stellar fitness and overall reviews on Trip Advisor
Did we miss any good ones? Let us know in the comment section below!
FOR THE OUTDOOR ADVENTURER
10. Living La Vida La Jolla
Marine Life and Water Activity Adventure
Location: La Jolla, CA
Truth be told, you haven’t seen La Jolla until you’ve caught a glimpse of the ocean life. We’re not talking about the epic surfers (although yeah, they are pretty epic); we’re talking migrating whales, leopard sharks, and sea lions. Hotel La Jolla’s Living La Vida La Jolla package gives you more than a glimpse of the local marine life. It actually gets you out there on the water with a two-hour paddleboarding or kayaking session for two. When you’re not breaking a sweat on the water during this weekend getaway, you’re more than welcome to hit up the hotel’s 24-hour fitness center or grab a bike and peddle down to the beach.
Activity level: Moderate.
Eats: A Fresh Mediterranean-style picnic is included with the package.
Accommodations: Crisp, cool California charm with views of the crashing Pacific Ocean.
Relaxation: Hotel La Jolla brings the "ahhh" to you with in-room spa services for an additional cost.
Rates: Package starts at $324 per night, two-night minimum.
11. Norwegian Cruise Line
Athletics on the High Seas
Location: Norwegian Epic, Caribbean, and European cruises
All aboard, fitness fanatics! No matter your sport of choice, Norwegian Cruise Line has you covered. Into running? Check out their running track 10 stories above the ocean. Basketball more your thing? They’ve got a full-sized court in their Sports Complex, along with a soccer field, batting cage, and the first-ever rappelling wall at sea, as well as a 24-foot enclosed climbing cage. But the sweat doesn’t stop there. Head over to the fitness center (which is equipped with various cardio machines and free weights) or drop into as many classes—including spinning, yoga, and Pilates—as you’d like. Family friendly.
Activity level: Leisurely to moderate.
Eats: All tastes are met, from quick snacks to gourmet meals.
Accommodations: Simple, elegant elements are found throughout studio, balcony, and spa rooms.
Relaxation: When not sunbathing poolside, check out the onboard spa.
Rates: All-inclusive package starting at $339 per person, airfare not included. Additional add-ons and upgrades available.
12. Saddlebrooke Resort
Serious Tennis and Golf
Location: Tampa, FL
Sometimes you just need a nice, quiet getaway to help you get your head back in the game. At Saddlebrooke in sunny Tampa, you’ll be able to do just that with one of their tennis or golf packages. When we say “tennis,” we’re talking tennis all the time: Packages include daily clinics featuring skill drills with players matched to your ability at a max student/instructor ratio of 4:1, daily court time with a ball machine, and access to fitness classes and activities. Oh, and did we mention the possibility for sightings of celebrity players like John Isner, James Blake, and Mardy Fish training on one of the resort's 45 tennis courts—yes, 45 courts—in pretty much every surface imaginable? The resort’s walking village layout allows guests to stroll from their rooms to the courts with ease. And there's no better way to clear your mind and unwind after a day on the courts than with a European spa treatment or lounging poolside with a fresh juice in hand.
Activity level: Leisurely to moderate.
Eats: Upscale steakhouse to poolside smoothies and salads. Packages include a hearty breakfast or delicious lunch (per paid night). There’s also a Wine and Cheese Reception.
Accommodations: All of the resort’s rooms and suites are clustered around courtyards with park-like settings, complete with gardens, stone benches, and lush Florida landscaping.
Relaxation: Spa specialty services featuring body wraps, scented scrubs, recovery treatments, aromatherapies, and hydrotherapies.
Rates: Starting at $98 per night. Additional add-ons and upgrades available.
13. South of the Border (SOB) Volleyball Vacations
Beach Volleyball and Playtime
Location: Ixtapa, Cabo San Lucas, and Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
You can play hard, but can you party hard? After an intense day under the sun tearing through v-ball tournaments, things get even hotter as you and 200 of your new best friends hit up the Mexican nightlife. But back to the beach: When it comes to beach volleyball, they’re not all created equal—which is why the guys at South of the Border (SOB) Volleyball Vacations pinned down three insane locations in Mexico to set up their nets. Wide and flat, temps of 88 in January, no rain, and no wind… game on! This all-inclusive trip includes three tournaments (4's, 2's, coed) on more than 25 nets, daily clinics with up to six pros (we’re talking Olympians, All Americans, and AVP Pros), and tons of pick-up play. Clinics are scheduled during breaks in the tournament action. As for the partying, it’s up to you to find out more about the dance floor at the Treehouse Bar.
Activity level: Moderate to intense depending on how hard you play… and party.
Eats: Vacationers opting for Puerto Vallarta are often put up at Hard Rock Hotel Vallarta—home to Zen (upscale fresh Asian cuisine) and Frida (gourmet Mexican) where all meals are included.
Accommodations: Five-star hotels just steps from the beach.
Relaxation: Chill out on the beach or inquire with your hotel about their spa treatments.
Rates: All-inclusive packages start at $1,075.
14. Tiger Muay Thai
Muay Thai Training
Location: Phuket, Thailand
“Yeah, I went to Thailand and studied The Art of Eight Limbs—you know, Muay Thai—under a traditional master. No big deal.” Seriously, could anything cooler ever come out of your mouth? Well, maybe if you mentioned that you did it on a budget, which is exactly what Tiger Muay Thai offers. Beginner, intermediate, and advanced seven-day deluxe packages land you on the lush and tropical island of Phuket. They also have you powering through two two-and-a-half hour classes a day, honing in on
stance, footwork, basic punches, kicks, knees, and elbows, along with the defenses to these techniques. If the sessions packed with 100 alternating front kicks, 200 jump knees, 100 alternating elbows on the heavy bags, 300 sit-ups, and 100 push-ups don’t have you wiped out, the deluxe package also gives you access to Western Boxing, Krabi Krabong, Muay Boran, Wrestling, MMA, Bodyfit, Cross-Training, Yoga, Beach, and Big Buddha training sessions. Family friendly, features a kids training package.
Activity level: Intense.
Eats: The kitchen is headed up by James-Beard-nominated Cheffy Baby, who has designed a menu for maximum performance using local ingredients and highlighting Thai flavors.
Accommodations: A bare necessities on-site bungalow (guests can upgrade their package for a more upscale hotel).
Relaxation: Depending on the accommodations you choose, you’ll have access to yoga, a pool and Jacuzzi, or spa services.
Rates: All-inclusive seven-day Deluxe Training package runs $512, airfare not included. Additional add-ons and upgrades available.
FOR THOSE SEEKING THE MIND-BODY CONNECTION
15. Four Seasons Westlake
"Renew You" Fitness and Relaxation
Location: Westlake Village, CA
Looking to spend your week off making real and lasting changes? California Health and Longevity Institute’s science-based lifestyle rejuvenation Journey program may be just what you’re looking for. Physicians, registered dietitians, exercise physiologists, and lifestyle consultants work together to create your personalized plan. The full-day program features Body Composition (BOD POD) Analysis with a mini-consult, fitness sessions and workshops, healthy-cooking demonstrations, nutrition workshops, interactive workshops on stress management, and a spa treatment at Four Seasons Hotel Westlake Village. Once you’ve completed your program, you can put it to work at Four Seasons Fitness Center, which is manned by trainers who are well-versed in the latest science-backed training techniques.
Activity level: Moderate.
Eats: Local organic dishes to upscale signature gourmet.
Accommodations: Southern California elegance with views of the Santa Monica Mountains.
Relaxation: 28 spa rooms, 30 face and body treatments, 12 different massages—take your pick.
Rates: Full-day programs start at $695.
16. Mii Amo
Yoga for Lovers of Chocolate and Wine
Location: Sedona, AZ
You’d be amazed by what a little indulgence can do for the mind, body, and soul, especially when it comes to chocolate and wine. Mii Amo’s all-inclusive, three-day Yoga for Foodies retreat (led by Dave Romanelli) fuses yoga with guided tastings of chocolate and wine to soothe the soul, stimulate the body, and create an unforgettable state of sensory ecstasy. Ninety-minute flow yoga sessions—“The Secret to Live Forever,” which helps align and strengthen the body, and “Uncontrollable Joy,” which reduces stress—are followed by morsels of antioxidant-rich Vosges Chocolates and wine. An additional Deep Stretch yoga class aims to loosen participants’ grip on "stuff" and direct that energy toward the tastes, sounds, and sights that make life most memorable instead—such as the post-yoga tasting of fresh, local Sedona flavors. When they sign up for the Health Body in Balance package, guests are advised on individual nutrition and exercise routines with a focus on long-term wellness and are also given free range of all fitness facilities and classes.
Activity level: Moderate.
Eats: Fresh, local, organic cuisine with a gourmet twist.
Accommodations: 16 luxury spa guest rooms and suites are arranged in a cluster of casitas shaded by cottonwood trees.
Relaxation: The package includes two spa services each day.
Rates: All-inclusive packages starting at $2,265 per person, airfare not included.
17. The Yoga Getaway
Explorating Mind, Body, and Peru
Location: Machu Picchu, Peru
The Yoga Getaway offers a variety of Manchu Picchu exploration and yoga retreats that serve as catalysts for growth, both physically and spiritually. Located in the Sacred Valley, just an hour outside of the Inca capital of Cusco, the seven-day, all-inclusive retreats feature a guided tour of Machu Picchu and a Peruvian dinner in the city of Urubamba. Guests not only immerse themselves in the culture of this sacred territory, they're also encouraged to pull the power of the mountains into their two daily yoga sessions, which are held in a scenic outdoor yoga space and indoor area.
Activity level: Moderate.
Eats: Three healthy meals each day tapping into the robust flavors of Peru.
Accommodations: Modern and sleek while honoring the area’s history.
Relaxation: Full-service wellness spa with traditional Peruvian treatments.
Rates: All-inclusive packages starting at $2,195 per person, airfare not included.
Research and writing by Ellen Thompson.
What are your favorite fitness destinations? Did we miss any? Share in the comments below, or get in touch with us on Facebook!