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.
Summit Country, CO
Surrounded by the stunning Rocky Mountains, this lodge offers a smorgasbord of sports year-round from yoga to hiking to skiing. The affordable resort, a 90-minute drive from the Denver airport, has more than 1,200 lodging options from hotel rooms to condos. Thrill-seekers can take on more than 100 miles of single-track mountain bike trails, and if you prefer to get your “om” on, take one of the daily mountaintop yoga classes to literally take your practice to new heights. Or choose one of the guided hiking tours, from a casual sunset stroll to a serious fitness hike. Visiting in the winter? The full-service ski resort features 3,148 skiable acres, 20 lifts, and two gondoldas. Non-skiers won’t feel left out though—tubing, ski biking, and more snow sports are available too.
Rates: Starting at $103*
Cool perk: With any two-night stay booked through Keystone Property Management, guests receive a free yoga class, nine holes of golf for everyone in the group, a free guided hike, or a free night ski on day of arrival.
*All rates quoted are per person, per night
Everything in this fabled national park seems to be on a larger-than-life scale, from the gigantic redwoods to the gorgeous cascading waterfalls to the breathtaking panoramic views. But you’ll feel extremely cozy at this classic lodge, which offers accommodations ranging from deluxe cabins to vintage cabins to pre-arranged campsites for those who want to truly get in tune with nature. Yosemite offers a spectacular natural playground for hiking, biking, fishing, horseback riding, camping, and more. Experienced rock climbers will find the thrill of a lifetime here at El Capitan, the largest single monolith of granite in the world, while non-climbers can watch in awe as the pros scale the side of the sheer wall. Visit any season and the park is sure to take your breath away: Summer is ideal for river rafting, fall lets you take in the stunning changing leaves, and winter activities include skiing, snowshoeing, ice skating, and cross-country skiing.
Rates: Starting at $90 for custom campsites
Cool perk: The lodge offers tours led by experienced naturalist guides, who give guests an insider’s look at Yosemite’s famous wonders as well as hidden treasures around the park.
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.
Grand Teton National Park, WY
Wake up on the shores of the beautiful Jackson Lake with the majestic Grand Tetons as the backdrop when you stay in one of the 166 cozy cabins at this eco-friendly resort. The property also offers super-affordable campsites and a 112-space RV resort, or you can reserve a hybrid “tent cabin,” and the lodge will set you up with bunks housed within two log walls and two more canvas walls under a canvas roof. Just BYOB: Bring your own bedding. The activity options are endless: Grand Teton National Park offers miles of hiking trails, bike trails, and cycling routes, as well as canoe rentals, horseback riding, fishing, and more off-the-beaten-path adventures. Take a rafting trip down the Snake River or enjoy a scenic sunset lake cruise featuring a classic cowboy steak dinner. Plus you’re only a short drive away from Old Faithful and more natural wonders in Yellowstone National Park.
Rates: Starting at $70
Cool perk: Bring your binoculars—you’re guaranteed to spot wildlife that calls the Grand Teton National Park home, including black bears, grizzly bears, elk, moose, bison, and more. But don’t forget your bear spray (it’s a real thing).
Finger Lakes, NY
The Finger Lakes may be known for their fine white wines, but there’s much more to the region than its vineyards. With several state parks and numerous lakes, rivers, and waterfalls, the area is ripe with outdoor recreation, including hiking, biking, fishing, and water sports. At this historical B&B, guests will find charming and comfortable accommodations and delicious homemade breakfasts, and the innkeepers, avid cyclists themselves, will gladly create customized bike tours throughout the Finger Lakes region. BYO bike or rent wheels from a local shop starting a $10 per hour or $30 per day.
Rates: Starting at $150
Cool perk: Your customized cycling route from the B&B’s owners will take you to scenic overlooks as well as wineries and breweries in the area. (Just don’t drink and bike!)
The Forks, ME
Not for the faint of heart, this classic New England lodge is your gateway to Maine’s abundance of outdoor activities, including river rafting, tubing, kayaking, hiking, fishing, golfing, snowmobiling, ATV trails, and more. You’ll meet like-minded adventurers relaxing at the spacious main lodge, which features live entertainment on the weekends. The accommodations vary from campsites to log cabin rentals, including lakefront properties. We recommend white-water rafting if you’re here in the summer (definitely more exhilarating than a water park) or snowmobiling in the winter. When you’re all worn out, chill in the swimming pool and hot tub.
Rates: Starting at $81
Cool perk: Dine outdoors at the Kennebec River Pub and Brewery, where you can sip ales and lagers that are brewed on-site.
Las Vegas, NV
Sin City may not spring to mind when you’re thinking about healthy vacations, but this hotel proves that Las Vegas has more to offer than gambling (and debaucherous bachelor parties)—including hiking. OK, it’s not exactly au naturel, but the resort’s “indoor hiking” experience provides a truly unique way to work off that hangover. Guests will go through an intense circuit of stair climbs, squats, and push-ups, all performed throughout the City Center’s new fine art collection so you can get in a good dose of culture along with your cardio. You’ll also find a fully equipped gym and group fitness classes such as TRX fusion and kettlebell training. When it’s time to unwind, treat yourself to a hot stone massage at the spa—you’ve earned it.
Rates: Starting at $129
Cool perk: Take a rest day to chill out in one of the resort’s three pools and sip on cocktails served from the pool bar.
If you think a trip to Nashville means country music and fried Southern food, think again. Music City has plenty of outdoor activities to offer—with the added bonus of culture, nightlife, and live music to enjoy after an active day. Stay at this friendly B&B just east of downtown Nashville—the innkeeper is happy to help you discover great eats, music venues, and must-see sights around the city. Just a 20- to 30-minute drive from downtown, you’ll find gorgeous public parks, serene lakes, and miles of trails for hiking and biking. (Go in autumn for the chance to experience the changing foliage.) Back in town, check out the famed Ryman Auditorium and The Grand Ole Opry, dance to live music at Broadway bars, or tool around on bikes rented through the city’s B-cycle program. When you’ve worked up an appetite, check out the bounty of local farm-to-table restaurants on offer.
Rates: Starting at $150
Cool perk: Still want to keep your legs moving at night? Check out Pedal Tavern, a 16-person, two-hour party bike bar crawl that tours the streets of downtown Nashville. You can bring your own beverages and get drink specials at bars along the way.
Portlandia may have solidified Portland’s rep as a hipster haven, but the region has plenty to offer besides cold-brewed coffee and artisanal movie theater food. Book a room at this converted former schoolhouse in downtown Portland, and you can finally fall asleep in class without getting in trouble. The hotel is also pet-friendly and just minutes from the airport as well as the historic downtown area of Portland. The city itself offers tons of bike paths, and just an hour away is Mount Hood, where skiers, snowboarders, and snowshoers will be happy to find powder year-round. Nearby rivers and streams offer ample waters for kayaking and fishing, and scenic hikes abound just 20 minutes east in the Columbia River Gorge Scenic Area—a stunning 4,000-foot-deep river canyon cutting through the Cascade Mountain Range.
Rates: Starting at $145
Cool perk: The Kennedy School features several small bars, a movie theater, and, of course, a brewery that produces small batches of pale ales that are ideal thirst-quenchers after a busy day spent outdoors.
They say everything’s bigger in Texas, and Austin’s active outdoors and nightlife scenes definitely attest to that. At Lady Bird Lake, you can paddleboard or kayak, but if you’d rather stay dry, it’s just as fun to run the loop around the water. Or head to Barton Creek Greenbelt, an urban oasis with tons of trails that are popular with runners, hikers, and bikers, with natural springs to cool you off. This downtown hotel offers reasonable rates in a super convenient location close to historical museums, the Second Street shopping district, famous Sixth Street bars and live music venues, and a ton of delicious restaurants and food trucks where you can refuel.
Rates: Starting at $139
Cool perk: When the sun goes down, make your way to the Congress Avenue Bridge for your chance to witness the 1.5 million bats that live there take flight at night—it’s actually way more cool than spooky.
Pocono Mountains, PA
The Pocono Mountains, nestled in northeastern Pennsylvania (less than two hours from New York City), are home to 170 miles of rivers, 261 miles of hiking trails, 81,859 acres of state forest lands, seven ski areas—and, as you’d imagine, pretty much any outdoor activity you can think of. Hit the slopes in the winter months, and enjoy golf, white-water rafting, and hiking in the summer. Rest your (exhausted) head at this B&B, where amenities include an outdoor pool with water slide and diving boards, tennis courts, a nine-hole golf course, and a community center with a gym.
Rates: Starting at $155
Cool perk: Runners should look into Ketanga Fitness Retreats, which offer sports conditioning and running programs at the lodge throughout the summer and fall. A certified running coach will help you become a better, faster, and stronger runner through drills, cross-training, and endurance runs in the gorgeous lakeside environment.
Lake Placid, NY
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.
Bask in the natural beauty of the Smoky Mountains at this lakeside resort, nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. The rustic décor and relaxed atmosphere will make you feel like you’ve stepped back in time. With no TVs or cell phone reception, guests can truly unplug from the busyness of everyday life, unwind in nature, and reconnect with loved ones. (But don't worry if you have to get in touch—the main lounge in the lodge is equipped with WiFi.) Hike up the inn’s own Chimney Top Mountain: The view from the top is worth the intense climb, allowing you to see as far as Tennessee and Georgia. After, hit the tennis courts, play 18 holes, or cool off at the inn's private lake, where they offer a variety of water sports from canoes to paddleboards. You won’t feel the need, but if you venture off the property, explore the options within the surrounding area, including white-water rafting, horseback riding, and more spectacular hikes in the Smokies.
Rates: All-inclusive rates start at $136
Cool perk: Your stay includes bountiful buffets for three meals a day, complete with Southern favorites like fried chicken and shrimp and grits, as well as healthy salads, plus a daily high tea.
Mackinac Island, MI
Located on a tiny patch of land measuring only 3.8 square miles, this escape is for anyone who wants to get off the grid but still stay active. Situated on 18 acres where Lake Huron meets Lake Michigan, this affordable island resort has no shortage of activities, including a waterfront putting course, tennis courts, health club, bicycle rentals, and bocce. With more than 80 percent of the land protected as a state park, the island boasts 70-plus miles of hiking and biking trails providing picturesque views of the Great Lakes. When you’re ready to fuel up, choose from four restaurants with fresh seafood options and local wines and beers. Local musicians provide live music on the weekends as well.
Rates: Starting at $149
Cool perk: Mackinac Island has prohibited motor vehicles since 1898, so the only methods of transportation around town are bikes, horse-drawn carriages, and your own two feet.
Bear Lake, UT
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.
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.
San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua
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.
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.
A note on our metrics: 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.