When you fantasize about quitting your day job so that you could live simpler and maybe do something like sell piña coladas out of coconuts by the ocean, become a ski instructor, or train to be a back-country guide, you know the trip was well worth it. I’ve often said, after visiting an indelible destination, “I could live here!” So, to that end, here are six places to travel that inspire healthy living and adventure.
With a population that swells to well over seven million people, you wouldn’t think that many green spaces would exist in and around Hong Kong, which is why Asia’s world city is so incredibly magical. From outlying islands to nature parks to charming little villages to sandy beaches to mountain tops, Hong Kong is an adventurer’s paradise.
Highlights include: hiking on Dragon’s Back, taking a tram ride to Peak Tower and then hiking down Lugard Road, visiting Repulse Bay on Hong Kong’s south side, strolling through Victoria Park to see the lanterns and flower markets, trekking to The Big Buddha and Po Lin Monastery, located in the mountains on Lantau Island and riding a bike in the wetlands of the New Territories.
The Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong is not only a luxurious place to stay with an excellent spa, outdoor swimming pool and fitness centre, but also the good folks that work there prove to be first-rate resources for trip planning. Be sure to check the website for sample itineraries or contact the concierge for bespoke arrangements.
Bali is full of yoga studios, holistic healing centres and spiritual temples as far as the eye can see. For a truly unique healthy adventure a yoga retreat may just be what your mind and body need. Yoga retreats offer a great mix of yoga classes, healthy eating, and adventurous experiences to satisfy mind and body.
Luxury retreats in Bali include surfing, yoga and spa treatments to whip your body into shape through targeted personal training, spa services, meditation and yoga. Retreats almost always specialize in healthy and delicious food, the freedom to go at your own pace and the opportunity to bond with women from all over the globe.
Search TheYoga.Directory for retreats and places to stay in Bali and elsewhere.
If creating your own retreat is more your style, try Villa Getaways for a huge variety of villa rentals in and around Bali. From small two bedroom villas to huge luxurious homes that accommodate large groups, the Villa Getaways portfolio includes accommodations with swimming pools, beach front living, and luxe amenities.
Ready for surfer style waves and a relaxed Latin vibe? El Salvador is a small Central American country nestled between Guatemala, Honduras, and the Pacific Ocean. This tiny country is famous for its coffee farms, natural living, coastal surf towns, and inland rainforests.
The famous Ruta de las Flores in western El Salvador meanders through small villages, and rustic experiences that take you back in time, while offering local gastronomic specialities along the way.
The Las Flores Resort in El Salvador is located right on the beach, with stunning views of the ocean, a cliff-side yoga deck, a surf shop with excellent instructors, a restaurant that serves round-the-clock healthy meals and winding walking trails.
This luxury resort also promotes social responsibility through volunteer tourism. Not only does the resort follow strict sustainable development practices and environmental strategies for their operations, they also facilitate donations of supplies and much-needed equipment to local schools.
For a healthy dose of family-friendly fun, visit the Wisconsin Dells, an indoor and outdoor waterpark mecca that offers thrilling adventures for the whole family. You’ll burn calories hoofing it up staircases to the tops of slides, sigh the day away in hot tubs or on a massage table, and dine in restaurants that cater to even the pickiest family member in your group.
New this year at the Kalahari Resort is a virtual reality environment called, The Arena. This free-roaming VR experience is only available in two states in the US (the other is located in Orlando). Your body is the controller and your brain is tricked into believing that what it sees through the goggles are real. You’ll move around an indoor space, working with a team, and completely geek out at the Zero Latency technology, making everything feel true to life.
Montana is one of those places where I fantasize, on a regular basis, about dropping everything and moving to the mountains. The wide-open spaces and big skies in this beautiful slice of the country, home to Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks, offers so many outdoor adventures that having a healthy lifestyle is the state’s ethos.
Check out the skiing in northwest Montana at Whitefish Mountain Resort the glamping, ranch life and thrilling outdoor adventures—ATV driving, horseback riding, rappelling, whitewater rafting—at The Resort at Paws Up ,and the alfresco activities in Bozeman, Montana—hiking Palisades Falls, tubing on the Gallatin River and the Sweet Pea Festival.
A really great resource for finding unique nature-based, eco-conscious places to stay throughout the state (and country) is Glamping Hub. Park your boots in a yurt, treehouse, tipi or safari tent or feel good about where you spend your dollars by staying in an eco-pod or nature lodge. Adventure awaits.
Sunny California is a big state with big outdoor travel opportunities. To get a taste, take a road trip from San Luis Obispo to Redding, a trip that would take you about seven hours if you drove straight through. I recommend, however, giving yourself a week to really soak in what the area has to offer.
Begin the trip by exploring the California Highway 1 Discovery Route , with ten unique artisan seaside villages, stretched out over 101 miles, along the Pacific coastline in San Luis Obispo County: San Simeon, Ragged Point, Cambria, Cayucos, Los Osos & Baywood Park, Avila Beach & Valley, Edna Valley, Arroyo Grande Valley, Oceano and Nipomo. Here you’ll discover amazing wine, thrilling water-centric outdoor adventure, boutique shopping and enriching cultural events. For a truly unique experience, look into their stewardship travel opportunities, which takes eco-tourism to new heights. Do your part and volunteer to restore park trails, protect wildlife—like the elephant seals, or plant native trees to make your trip more meaningful.
Next, drive to the seaside fishing town of Morro Bay, along coastal Highway 1, where you’ll find a 581-foot volcanic plug, Morro Rock. Let the wind blow in your hair on a bay cruise to visit the sea lions and otters, hike to Cloisters Park Trail or Black Hill, ride a bike or go kayaking. You’ll find loads of healthy eating options at local bistros and grills, with stellar views, as well as pop ups and farmer’s markets.
Travel north to Sacramento, stopping at Monterey, San Jose or San Francisco or, if you fancy, travel northeast and visit Yosemite National Park. Ultimately, you’ll find that Sacramento is ideally located to many exciting travel-worthy places. Sacramento, not surprisingly, is considered by many to be America’s farm-to-fork capital with 1.5 million acres of accessible farm land and a year-round growing season. Highlights in Sacramento include: a horse carriage ride through Old Sacramento, a visit to one of the nearby 200 wineries, a Gold Rush Tour or Old Sacramento Underground Tour, biking over the Guy A. West Memorial Bridge, white water rafting on the American river, hot air balloon rides, zip lining and helicopter tours.
From Sacramento, drive two and half hours north to Redding, your final destination for this epic California adventure. Redding is an underrated and beautiful town, close to Lassen National Park and Lake Shasta Caverns Natural Landmark. Imagine how fun it would be to bike over or kayak under the Sundial Bridge, cruise on a jet boat or see northern California from the skies on an Air Shasta Rotor and Wing Tour. Hiking and camping adventures, biking and boating excursions, and fishing holes abound and you’ll find many ways to sweat it out and be healthy and happy here.
There are a multitude of places to stay at on your travels in California. You can research the best accommodations that suit your needs by visiting these websites:
California Highway 1 Discovery Route (http://highway1discoveryroute.com/)
Discover Morro Bay (http://www.morrobay.org/)
Visit Sacramento (http://www.visitsacramento.com/)
Visit Redding (http://www.visitredding.com/)
These three countries, Hong Kong, Indonesia, and El Salvador and three U.S. states of Wisconsin, Montana, and California offer great diversity in travel experiences, healthy living, and adventure. So, tell me, which one inspires you the most?