Everyone seems to default to going to the beach (guilty as charged), or lounging at an all-inclusive hotel for a week, but there are plenty of other options for a healthy and fun trip, even if you end up going to an all-inclusive hotel on the beach.
WARNING: Not all of the following ideas will be applicable to a beach vacation, although many will, depending on where the beach is.
Take a walking tour of the area:
This works equally well for a vacation to a city or more rural location. There are a number of city walking tours that have become internationally famous, Berlin and Buenos Aires come to mind. They’re popping up in more and more cities every year. The typical model is they’re free but tips are suggested and appreciated. You can check out Tripadvisor before your trip to see if there are any popular walking tours in the location you’ll be travelling to, or just search “walking tour in place-you’re-travelling-to” in Google. The locals giving the tours often know lots of cool spots, and you see more than on a bus anyway!
Climb a mountain:
There are mountains of all difficulty levels accessible from vacation spots all over the world, even many cities. Climbing a mountain is a way to get in some great exercise, and you get a perspective on the area that you can’t get any other way. There will likely be guided hikes available, and of course you can go on your own if you’re feeling adventurous.
Whitewater rafting if you have local rapids, canoeing, kayaking, or fishing. There are all sorts of options out there. All you need is a body of water near you, and chances are there will be a boating activity available.
Take a bike tour:
Many cities now have public bike rentals available to locals and tourists. Smaller towns and rural areas often offer private bike rentals and sometimes mountain biking excursions. In some great places, like Mendoza, Argentina, they even have vineyard tours via bike!
Play some games:
Bring along some games from home, you know those ones in the garage you never use, or buy them when you arrive. Badminton sets, a Frisbee, hula-hoops, balls of all kinds, and many more options are out there. Anything to get everyone outside, moving and laughing!
Indoor climbing walls have become increasingly popular in recent years. Find out if there are any in the area. They usually have all the equipment you’ll need to climb, just bring your enthusiasm and energy.
Take a skiing or snowboarding trip:
This of course depends on the season and location, but a skiing or snowboarding trip is one of the most athletic vacations you could choose. I personally love these trips because of the combination of fun, exercise, beauty, after-skiing relaxation (hot tubs and happy hours), and tasty restaurants that tend to be around ski mountains.
Rent an RV and go cross-country:
I’ve never done this personally, but renting an RV and taking a road trip is a great way to ensure that you’ll be active. Pick a number of predetermined stops, or just drive and stop when you please. You’ll find all sorts of interesting activities that allow you the chance to get out and move your body.
Looking for a change of pace? Try a wellness retreat:
There are numerous retreats out there that focus on getting healthier. They may focus on breathing, yoga, detox, or any number of others. A vacation focused on one of these will ensure that you return home feeling renewed and ready to take on the world.
Like most things in life, most of us would like a balance. So I’m not saying you should be doing these sorts of things your whole vacation, but you can balance out the “less healthy” activities with something or some things I’ve mentioned above. And if you’re traveling to an exotic place, ask the locals about what native foods are particularly nutrient rich and delicious. Have fun!