Summer travels should be elixirs for your overall healthy wellbeing. They provide such a great opportunity to unwind, relax, and explore new places. We’re big believers in keeping up on healthy habits even while on the go, and that especially includes vacation time.
Staying active and eating well is such a big part of feeling good and enjoying yourself, so we love to find holiday destinations that encourage and celebrate healthier, happier living. Because when you get to have that, you’re more likely to come back to your normal routine feeling rebalanced and rejuvenated. Isn’t that what vacation is about?
We think some of the best trips are the ones where movement and activity are built into the experience of the destination… and the science backs it up, because spending your holiday travels out in Mother Nature is straight-up good for you.
Picking a vacation spot that involves everyday movement allows you to easily balance relaxation with physical activity. Sometimes the best workout is one that doesn’t feel like a workout at all — it just happens when you’re using your body to do what it’s meant to do: move.
You can easily build movement into all kinds of trips — you don’t need to plan a hardcore mountain biking expedition or backcountry skiing vacation — simple hikes, walks in parks, or trekking on trails in forested areas will do the trick!
Tip: If you’re currently pregnant, check out this post on some of our favorite babymoon destinations and our top pregnancy travel tips!
Tog give you some inspiration, we’ve rounded up some of of our favorite active travel destinations across the US that we know you’ll love.
4 Amazing Active Vacation Destinations
1. The Outdoorsy Hideaway: Chestertown, New York
Why you should go: Time in nature is a perfect way to de-stress and soak up some sunshine and get your dose of Vitamin D. Pick a spot that excites you and involves outdoor activities you love, whether that be hiking, swimming, biking, or kayaking! Nothing is more grounding than a few days spent relaxing lakeside and getting your body moving in a way that feels fun–and treating physical activity as play makes you feel like a kid again!
Hint: An outdoorsy getaway is also a great time to give a digital detox a shot, so if you find yourself constantly glued to your phone, try to use this time to put down the tech and reconnect with yourself.
Where to stay: If you’re a nature lover, you know that your options for amazing outdoor spots and stellar natural parks are endless. But some people are surprised to know how much upstate New York has to offer, and gorgeous Chestertown, located in the southern Adirondacks, is our spot of choice. Stay at The Fern Lodge, a beautiful shorefront resort on Friends Lake.
What to do: Where do we start? Get moving and go hiking on the surrounding trails, and if you’re really up for a challenge, hike nearby Crane Mountain (there’s an ice cream shop at the top!). You can also rent bikes and head off on a scenic bike ride–there’s no better way to enjoy the views and crisp mountain air. And when you want to cool off, hop in the lake for a swim! For a change of scenery, head into town and window shop along Chestertown’s lively main street. You can also shop for local produce at the weekend farmers’ market and grill a delicious, healthy dinner on the lakefront!
2. The Coastal Beach Trip: South Walton, Florida
Why you should go: A sunny beach vacation is the epitome of relaxation, but it can be easy to spend all your holiday time lying in the sand… and not much of it actually moving your body. But we’ve got plenty ideas on how to stay active by the water and still feel like you’ve had a relaxing seaside stay. A sunny trip to the ocean can work wonders for your mental health, so if you love the beach and don’t mind the heat, this is the spot for you.
Where to stay: There are plenty of coastal destinations, and you really can’t go wrong as long as you’ve got a beach, but we’re smitten with South Walton, Florida. Located in northwest Florida on the Gulf of Mexico, South Walton boasts 26 miles of white sandy beaches and gorgeous turquoise water. And depending on what sort of vacation vibe you’re looking for, you can choose from one of 16 distinct beach neighborhoods, each with its different quirks and offerings. With gorgeous beaches, amazing restaurants, boutique shops, and exciting nightlife… do you need much more convincing?
What to do: We know the beach is incredible, but there’s so much to do besides lie on a towel and bake in the sun (remember your SPF, of course! Check out our favorite safe-for-pregnancy sunscreens here). Get moving with beach walks or jogs, a swim in the ocean, or our favorite 12-minute circuit workout that will get your heart rate up and work your muscles! You can also head off the beach and explore miles of trails in the area for walks or bike rides–we recommend going for a hike over Britton Hill, the highest point in Florida (but don’t worry, it’s the lowest highpoint in the country, so this one is manageable for all!). Once you’ve worked up an appetite, head to one of the many restaurants and tuck into some tasty salads and fresh-caught seafood–a great source of protein and important omega-3s!
3. The Big City Stay: Seattle, Washington
Why you should go: We know, we know… a city trip doesn’t exactly seem like the most obvious choice when you’re thinking about active, outdoorsy vacations. But exploring a city involves a lot of walking, and because time on your feet is naturally part of a city vacation, it won’t feel like exercise. Also, Seattle is a city of hills, so you’ll definitely get your glutes working! We love the views, food, museums, and markets to explore in Seattle, and you’ll never run out of things to do. Plus, its location on the water means that it won’t get quite as swelteringly hot as other cities.
Hint: Comfortable, supportive walking shoes are a must for this destination!
Where to stay: There are loads of options here — and with so many different neighborhoods with unique atmospheres, you can choose what best suits you and your vacation style. We love this adorable bed and breakfast in the Capitol Hill neighborhood. It’s walking distance to the famous Pike Place Market, and only 20 minute walk to downtown, but the nearby train station means that you have an easy way to get home if you’re exhausted after a long day. The B&B is located in a large, airy house built in the early 1900s, and it still has its original wood floors, gorgeous antique furniture, and big windows to let the sun stream in… we’re a little obsessed, and you will be too!
What to do: First, head to Pike Place Market for high-energy fun and a plethora of fresh fish and delicious local food! Get your steps in wandering the city and exploring the Olympic Sculpture Park — it’s on the waterfront and is also the largest green space in downtown. If you’re in need of a little more nature, Seattle has plenty of urban parks with a diverse array of local flora and fauna. Check out the largest park in the area, Discovery Park (over 400 acres!) for plenty of miles of walking trails through beautiful scenery. You’ll need some AC to cool off after all that walking, so take advantage of Seattle’s amazing art scene and check out the Seattle Art Museum and famous Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum. After a long day of activities, you’ll be pretty hungry, and the city has no shortage of amazing restaurants boasting food made with locally-sourced ingredients–we’re drooling over the fish tacos at Hawaiian-Korean joint Marination Ma Kai (which has seating on the waterfront… the best way to enjoy tacos and a cold glass of lemonade!).
4. The Nature Retreat: Big Sky, Montana
Why you should go: If you really need to unwind, a retreat is the perfect way to put your mental health and wellness first. A yoga and hiking retreat in Big Sky is a slice of paradise, and there’s really no better way to reconnect with nature — and yourself — than in a place like Montana. Going on a retreat is also a great way to put the work of trip-planning in someone else’s hands, so all you need to do is show up and leave your stress behind — and you can put all your focus on realigning with yourself and your body.
Where to stay: Montana has loads of retreat and trip options, but we love this women-specific yoga and hiking retreat. You’ll spend a long weekend taking part in daily yoga classes, group hikes, wildlife watching, meditation, and journaling. It’s the perfect spot to exercise your mind and body — and you’ll stay in a beautiful lodge with delicious, healthy meals provided!
What to do: Your day is pretty set out for you on the guided retreat, but you can absolutely make your own retreat if you want to do your own thing! The natural beauty of the mountains and crisp air are inspiring enough as it is, so you definitely don’t need a group organized trip to get your zen on. Head out on long hikes, and roll out your mat and immerse yourself in your yoga practice — it doesn’t matter if you’re not an expert! If you feel like you need to be led through a yoga flow, check out the Fitness Studio for weekly flows (we don’t have prenatal yoga yet, but it’s coming to the app very soon)!
We’re going to start planning our own ocean swims and mountain hikes, but we’d love to see you bringing those dreams to life on your own #activesummervacation! Be sure to share your pictures with the hashtag and tag us @baby2bodyofficial for a chance to be featured on our page.