Not everyone on vacation wants to lie on a beach with a fruity cocktail in hand (although we can’t say that sounds like a bad idea!). With the rise of health and wellness in the travel landscape, more travelers are seeking journeys that offer fitness challenges in places that harbor unforgettable landscapes, enhancing the workout experience with the perfect setting. From Hawaii to the Caribbean, we rounded up five destinations that offer exciting outdoor activities where you can work up a sweat and have an incredible vacation at the same time.
Hiking on Big Island, Hawaii
Who doesn’t want to work on their bikini bod while climbing a volcano? On top of Big Island’s gorgeous beaches, sprawling coast and lush rain forests, several volcanoes make the island utterly unique and perfect for hiking while discovering Hawaii’s rich culture to boot. The island is chock-full of sublime trailheads, all of which are free to roam and suitable for both beginners and expert hikers alike. Head to the Puna District on the eastern coast to watch waves crash against lava cliffs, experience Hawaii Volcanoes National Park for black-rock terrain and exciting lava tubes, or master Maua Loa in the High Country for the summit of Mauna Kea. Even short hikes like Papakolea Beach (one of the world’s only green-sand beaches) and Kiholo Bay for tide pools are well worth the adventure. Naturally, the best relief after a long hike is immersing in the island’s temperature-perfect tropical sea.
Where to stay on Big Island
Mountain Biking in Park City, Utah
It wasn’t until 1963 that this former mining town in Utah became a bunny-slope hotspot for the wealthy, but the 2002 Winter Olympics put the destination on everyone’s radar as one of the world’s best skiing destinations. While December to April is busy, summer has become equally popular for Park City’s avid mountain biking community, and the number of travelers who love a good bike trail keeps rising. Park City has the International Mountain Bicycling Association’s Gold Level Ride Center status (the first in the world), and more than 400 miles of breathtaking single tracks extend within the beautiful mountains. There are trails for all levels (from parents with children to speed freaks) with long and fast descents, exhilarating climbs and technical sections for advanced cyclists, but all mountain biking enthusiasts share the same, stunning scenery through towering trees and sprawling fields in unfurled nature.
Where to stay in Park City
Stand-up Paddleboarding in the Caribbean
Taking over the world as one of the most user-friendly water activities, stand-up paddle boarding (SUP) has become one of the hottest recreations on the water. Because paddle boarders maintain an upright stance on a long board while using a paddle to propel themselves through the water, it’s a great exercise for the arms, abs and overall balance. There’s no better place than the Caribbean to set out on a board thanks to calm, shallow waters and pristine island views, not to mention the wealth of marine life (like manta rays and sea turtles) that accompany you as you peacefully drift. The turquoise sea in Turks & Caicos is a haven for paddleboarders, especially since motorized water sports are not allowed. St Barts is also a terrific spot, where you might spot famous faces (from Pippa Middleton to Kendall Jenner) paddleboarding in the soft Caribbean breeze.
Where to stay in Turks and Caicos
Rock climbing in Colorado
With the immensity of the Rocky Mountains, Colorado is supreme when it comes to priceless mountain views, towering peaks and breathtaking rock formations. The mountain range has become iconic in the world for its natural glory, and it takes rock climbing to world-class heights across the state. The mother lode for climbers is Colorado Springs, close to Breckenridge and Steamboat Springs, where Garden of the Gods is perfect for beginners and advanced climbers alike. Even Aspen offers terrific granite crags and impressive views for travelers who like to get on all vertical fours. For those who want a unique, heart-pumping challenge, Ouray Ice Park is perfect for ice climbing over the winter.
Where to stay in Breckenridge
Surfing in San Diego
Surf’s up in San Diego! The sunny, Southern California city is home to some of the best swells on the west coast (and warmer waters that much of Cali) with more than 100 spots to ride waves. In fact, surfing in the San Diego area is such a big part of life that almost everyone and their dogs (yes, there is surfing for dogs!) participates. While locals may be territorial with some of the best surf spots like Trestles and Oceanside, beginner surfers can head to Del Mar, one of the most reliable spots with sandy bottom beach breaks. Some of the longest breaks are at Blacks Beach, one of the most popular places to hang ten, and La Jolla Shores is a safe and gentle spot to learn surfing, and you’ll find plenty of surf schools ready to teach you.
Where to stay in San Diego
Photographs: Shutterstock; iStockphoto; Dmitry Yashkin/Shutterstock.com