Vacations to Inspire Your Inner Athlete
We often look forward to vacations as an opportunity to rest and relax. Yet, a vacation that inspires us to get up and moving – especially taking part in a favorite sport – can be a wonderful way to renew ourselves and to feel re-invigorated. Without our usual daily responsibilities on the calendar, we have more time each day to go out and play, and to do what we love. Not only do we feel more alive while we’re on our vacation – we also return home feeling better than when we left, which is the best possible souvenir.
Whether you have a passion for tennis, swimming, yoga, or whatever else gets you excited to exercise, there is a vacation destination that will inspire your inner athlete. Read on to discover six destinations for exercise enthusiasts who are ready to re-ignite their passion for their sport.
Vacation Destination for Hikers
Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Situated between Grand Teton National Park and expansive national forest land, Jackson Hole is a hiking enthusiasts dream. With more trails than you could possibly traverse in a single trip, you are sure to find some solitary moments and spectacular views along the way.
Where to Stay
With over 97% of the Jackson Hole region being preserved land, you can stay almost anywhere and be close to the trails. However, at Hotel Terra you’ll have an in-house naturalist to help you understand the finer points of the local flora and fauna, an onsite adventure center where you can shop for the latest gear, and an activities concierge who can set you up with everything you need, from maps to guides to wildlife expeditions.
What to Do
Alaska Basin Trail
Hit this 10-12 mile approach during the late spring to avoid the crowds that throng here during the summer and you will be treated to some of the most amazing fields of wildflowers and wildlife sightings still available in the world.
Paintbrush to Cascade
Descending Cascade is one of the most popular trails in Grand Teton National Park for good reason. This 19-mile loop is a solid day hike, and offers some of the most breathtaking scenery you will encounter in your lifetime.
Vacation Destination for Cyclists
According to Fodor’s Travel Guide, Palisade is one of the top ten bike destinations in the country, and it is easy to see why. With easily accessible bike routes both in town and on the trail, incredible views of the Rockies’ back range, and plenty of orchards and wineries to visit along the way, cycling enthusiasts of all skill levels will find something to love along the ride.
Where to Stay
Wine Country Inn
Wine Country Inn offers the perfect place to relax after a long day spent on two wheels. Nestled at the foot of the Book Cliffs, this Victorian style retreat boasts an inviting reception area with a large fireplace and plenty of space to unwind. Hotel staff will offer guests a range of bike maps that detail local winery stops or area trails; they will also coordinate bike storage or rental.
What to Do
The Fruit and Wine Byway
This well laid out and clearly marked 25-mile loop takes riders along rural roads through small farm produce stands, vineyards, lavender gardens and orchards, with most stops allowing for hotel delivery of purchases made along the way.
Mesa Top Bike Trail
Colorado’s Grand Mesa is the world’s largest flattop mountain. Sitting at around 10,000 feet, it offers a great escape from hot summer temperatures. For those willing to bike in the thin mountain air, the payout involves breathtaking views of gorgeous national forest scenery and streams teeming with trout.
Vacation Destination for Swimmers
Cane Bay, St. Croix, Virgin Islands
It’s obviously not too difficult to find a fabulous swimming spot in the Caribbean, but what sets Cane Bay apart from the rest is its relative seclusion, easy beach access, and open water. On a clear day, you can easily see 40 feet down to spot hundreds of unique sea creatures including sponges, octopi and live corral. But the real adventure comes at about 200 yards out, where the sea floor drops from around 40 ft to a dramatic 3,200 ft trench, known as “the wall”. Great little open-air restaurants await after a few laps around the bay, making this swimmers haven a place you’ll never need to leave.
Where to Stay
The Waves at Cane Bay
You can’t get any closer to the water than this lovely little seaside hotel. With rooms that open up to the crystal blue waters of the bay, you will drift off to sleep each night realizing why they call this place “the Waves.”
This beautiful vacation rental is a great place to stay when you want to soak up as much of the salty sea air and tropical atmosphere as possible. Sweeping verandas and picture windows let you experience every passing rainbow and shade of blue that the surrounding scenery has to offer.
What to Do
Cane Bay Scuba
After you’ve spent the morning exploring the bay, take it a step further and go below the surface. Cane Bay Dive Shop offers everything you need to explore the wall or other St. Croix dive spots (like the five shipwrecks of Butler Bay).
If you prefer your adventures a bit closer to the surface, check out the Sea Thru Kayak nighttime bioluminescent tours where you will encounter tiny Dinoflagellates that illuminate the dark water like far flung stars in a liquid galaxy. Or, if you are feeling brave, try to catch a comb jellyfish that lights up like a neon green glow stick when you touch it.
Vacation Destination for Yoga Enthusiasts
Paradise Island, Bahamas
Located just across the bay from Nassau, Paradise Island is well named. Best known for its sugar fine sand and classic Bahamanian blue waters, peace-seekers from around the world have been travelling here for decades to let their stress melt away in the 300+ sunny days each year.
Where to Stay
Sivananda Yoga Retreat
You might be surprised to learn how many intimate little alcoves are tucked in among the miles and miles of pristine beaches on Paradise Island. In one of the most secluded and peaceful alcoves lies the Sivananda Ashram, where yogis from all walks of life flock to reset and reconnect with their truth. Offering workshops and retreats, the ashram provides their guests with ample opportunity for meditation, guided asana and breathing techniques, and talks with well-known yoga masters from around the world.
What to Do
Yoga Workshops and Symposiums
Check the calendar of the Sivananda Ashram to discover countless classes, workshops, and symposiums to help you advance your yoga practice, whether you’re a beginner or advanced yogi. Some of the upcoming workshops include:
- Yoga for Eating: Learn how to recognize your personal habits and triggers and how your mood affects food choices.
- Essentials of Yoga – Deepen Your Practice: In this course, you will deepen your experience with the 12 basic postures of Sivananda Yoga. Each day focuses on a new theme while practicing asana.
- Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Retreat: Learn through your own direct experience the meditation tools and techniques that lay the foundation and principles of mindfulness.
- Adapting Sivananda Yoga to Your Body: This workshop is designed for those who find practicing yoga postures difficult due to injury, obesity, sickness, or other physical constraint.
- Yoga for a Strong and Balanced Mind: Learn to use the power of the mind to unlock patterns and transform negative tendencies into positive tools of strength and interconnectedness.
Vacation Destination for Tennis Players
Tennis enthusiasts have made their way to this little jewel of Florida’s gulf coast for decades. In addition to an impressive number of well kept courts, both public and private, throughout the city, Sarasota offers travelers a low-key coastal setting with a sophisticated Mediterranean feel.
Where to Stay
The Resort at Longboat Key Club
Located on the tip of an island, just off the coast of Sarasota, the Resort at Longboat Key Club boasts AAA four diamond status, with world class amenities and exclusive luxury. However, it’s the $4.5 million Tennis Gardens that make this a racquet swinging dream come true. With 20 handsomely designed HarTru courts, you can always find a game to play or watch. After your match, plan to hang around at the terraced lounge, where you can chat with other tennis enthusiasts as you take in the action on the nearby courts.
What to Do
Tennis director, John Woods has been crafting the tennis programs at Longboat Key for three decades now, and has learned a thing or two about how to put together activities that enhance your game and keep you engaged.
Whether a beginner or a 5.0 player, guests can drop in or sign up for skill building at its best. From footwork drills to doubles strategy, the pros at Longboat Key know how to elevate your game.
On Sundays, the Tennis Garden plays host to a round-robin style mixed doubles tournament for guests and locals alike. Get in an extra game, meet fellow tennis fans, and reignite your love of the sport with this celebration of all-day tennis in paradise.
No matter which activity or destination you choose, there are few things that will re-ignite the athlete inside of you like a sports-inspired vacation. Have you ever made travel plans based on a favorite sport? If you have an athletic vacation to recommend, feel free to share the details by leaving a comment below.