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5 Places to Chill, Detox, and Get Your Adventure On

New approaches to wellness travel offer detoxifying spa treatments, nutritious meals, and awesome fitness options

The picturesque entrace to the Golden Door, in California. (Jessica Sample)

New approaches to wellness travel offer detoxifying spa treatments, nutritious meals, and awesome fitness options

Sometimes we all need an escape hatch from our overly connected lives. To fill that demand, a multitude of wellness vacation spots have popped up around the world. Here, we’ve picked a few of our favorites, from the Sonoran Desert to the Himalayas to the lush jungles of Costa Rica.

Canyon Ranch

Tucson, Arizona

Visitors to Canyon Ranch in Tucson can rejuvenate under the desert sun while hiking amid saguaro cacti. Take a pottery session to unleash your creative juices, or choose from a variety of seminars and consultations on nutrition, meditation, and self-awareness. More than 40 classes are available, and all are included, along with meals, in your room rate. From $1,200 per person; three-night minimum.


Narendra Nagar, India

Nestled in the foothills of the Himalayas, Anada combines the traditional practices of Ayurveda and yoga so guests can experience the full range of healing arts. Whether you’re visiting for a brief stint or taking in sites of the Ganges River valley and sal forests, allow a few days for detox treatments that address the whole body. From $475 per night.

Golden Door

San Marcos, California

Golden Door sits on a sprawling 600-acre property dotted with orange groves, Zen rock gardens, and roji gardens. With a maximum of 40 guests per week, you’ll feel like you’re in your own private wellness paradise. Stay for up to seven days to experience the spa’s mind and body wellness program, which includes guided hikes along 30 miles of private trails, fitness activities like yoga and archery, personal training sessions, daily massages, and guest lecturers. Guests don’t even need to worry about packing; each day, Golden Door provides freshly laundered shorts, warm-ups, T-shirts, a terry robe, sandals, and a yukata (a casual cotton kimono). Private rooms can be reserved for $8,850 for one week.

Red Mountain Resort

St. George, Utah

Roll adventure and relaxation into one awesome week. Guests at Red Mountain Resort have on-site access to personal training, nutritional assessments, and massages. The resort is minutes from Snow Canyon State Park, home to 7,000 acres of redrock canyons and cliffs. Pay for a guided hike through nearby Zion National Park, or choose from a variety of other excursions, including rock climbing, kayaking, canyoneering, and communing with wild horses. From $300 per night.

El Silencio Lodge and Spa

Bajos del Toro, Costa Rica

El Silencio Lodge and Spa is situated between the Juan Castro Blanco and Poas Volcano National Parks, in Costa Rica’s central volcanic range. Many of the resort’s activities embrace the country’s natural beauty, including hikes to the Las Gemelas waterfall and strolls through 500 acres of private cloud forests, with a stop at the resort’s hummingbird garden. A three-night stay in a suite under the Cloud Forest Adventure package starts at $452 per person.

Filed To: Wellness / Yoga / Zion National Park / Costa Rica / Fitness / Kayaking / National Parks / California
Nicolas Henderson/Creative Commons )

San Marcos, Texas

Billed as the world’s toughest canoe race, the Texas Water Safari, held each June, is a four-day, 260-mile jaunt from the headwaters of the San Marcos River northeast of San Antonio to the small shrimping town of Seadrift on the Gulf Coast. There’s no prize money—just bragging rights for the winner. Any boat without a motor is allowed, and you’ll have to carry your own equipment and overnight gear. Food and water are provided at aid stations along the way. Entry fees start at $175 and increase as race day approaches.

The Ring

(Courtesy Quatro Hubbard)

Strasburg, Virginia

The Ring is a 71-mile trail running race in early September along the entire length of Virginia’s rough and rocky Massanutten Trail loop. To qualify, you need to have run a 50- or 100-mile race before the event and win a spot through the lottery system. Entry is free. Complete the run and you’ll become part of the tight-knit Fellowship of the Ring and be eligible for the Reverse Ring, which entails running the trail backwards in the middle of winter.


(David Silver)

Santa Fe, New Mexico

Each spring, competitors gather in Santa Fe’s historic plaza with a simple goal: be the first to reach 12,308-foot Deception Peak, 17 miles and 5,000 feet of elevation gain away. Competitors run or bike the first 15 miles to the local ski area before transitioning to their waiting ski-touring setups for the final push to the top. Time stops only when they’ve skied back down to the tailgate in the resort’s parking lot, which is funded by the modest entry fee of around $25. To add to the sufferfest, some participants sign up for the Expedition category, in which they strap their skis, skins, boots, and poles to their bikes for the long ride up. Start dates vary depending on snow conditions, but look for the event page to be posted on Facebook in late March or early April.