Best Places to Visit for a Healthier You
Vacation doesn’t have to mean all-you-can-eat buffets and lazy do-nothing afternoons.
Healthiest Tropical Getaway: Big Island, Hawaii
Hawaii’s Big Island is full of potential adventures, from waterfalls to volcanoes, sandy beaches to thick rainforest. For the health-conscious traveler, Hawaii offers a huge variety of activities that are good for mind and body, including surfing, hiking, climbing, paddle boarding, snorkeling and kayaking. For the less adventurous, several resorts offer innovative fitness programs that incorporate surfing, running, yoga and group exercise.
Fittest City: New York, New York
It may come as no surprise that the city that never sleeps is packed with calorie-burning potential. But the best part is you can get exercise without even realizing it. Just walking around Manhattan to take in the sights, you’re bound to log a couple miles. Ready to try something new? New York is the place for it. The newest trends in exercise start here, like “piloxing” (a combination of pilates and boxing), aerial dancing, and ballet fitness.
Best Work Out Weather: San Diego, California
With an average temperature of about 70 degrees, San Diegans have very few excuses for not working out. It’s almost always ideal workout weather – sunny and temperate with a cool breeze. For runners and hikers, the mountains and valleys surrounding the city are always a welcome challenge, but there are also beaches, eco-reserves and state parks perfect for exploration.
Best Place to Breathe in the Cleanest Air: Sante Fe, New Mexico
If the air quality where you live is making you wheeze, it’s time for a breath of fresh air. The American Lung Association gave Santa Fe top marks in its annual “State of the Air” report, citing low smog and pollution levels. The scenic town also happens to be a fascinating place to visit, with a rich history, blossoming dining scene, and more than 300 days of sun every year.
Healthiest Mountain Getaway: Steamboat Springs, Colorado
Any mountain destination is a best bet for healthy activities, but we like Steamboat Springs in the Colorado Rockies for its year-round appeal. In the winter, powdery snow covers one of the biggest ski mountains in North America. Summertime brings 50 miles of hiking and biking trails, surrounded by wildflowers, clean mountain streams and awe-inspiring views.
Best Place for Biking: Madison, Wisconsin
Madison may be a college town, but it’s also the bike capital of the Midwest, proudly boasting more bicycles than cars. Find hundreds of miles of trails, several beaches, and picturesque lakes, perfect for swimming and canoeing. Don’t be afraid to visit during the winter – those miles of trails are great for cross-country skiing, one of the most calorie-burning winter workouts.
Best Place for Running: Austin, Texas
As the hometown of Lance Armstrong, Austin may be pegged as an ideal biking destination, but truth be told, it’s the running that is top notch. An elaborate trail system winds around town with several loops varying in lengths, from 3 to 18 miles. If you like to run at night, the famous bats of Congress Avenue Bridge (up to 1.5 million of them) emerge every evening at sunset during the summer to feed on insects and put on a show.
Best Place to Find Inner Peace: Sedona, Arizona
Feeling tired, weary or just burned out? Head to the red rocks of Sedona for some rejuvenation, whether that means a spiritual journey or just a few massages and a nap. Personal enrichment is considered an attraction here, but there are also several ways to get active outside, including mountain biking, hiking, golfing and tennis. Don’t miss Mil Amo Spa, named the world’s best destination spa by Travel + Leisure magazine.
Best Place for Healthy Food: Seattle, Washington
Fall back in love with vegetables and fruit in a city full of farmers markets. The famous Pike Place Market is a must-see for fresh fish, food and crafts, but head to the smaller markets in neighborhoods across the city for a more intimate experience. Visit in early autumn for the greatest bounty of fresh produce, plus the best pick of Washington’s famous apples.
Best Seaside Retreat: Bar Harbor, Maine
Adjacent to Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor is the ultimate seaside town for the active traveler. Explore 125 miles of hiking trails through mountains, lakes and sea cliffs, then walk through the quaint streets of one of New England’s quintessential summer resorts. An abundance of fresh fish and locally grown blueberries make eating healthy an easy choice.
Other Ways to Have a Healthy Vacation
Choosing a healthy destination might be the best way to ensure that you return from vacation feeling fitter and fresher than you did on the day you left. But no matter where you go, there are ways to stay healthy: